Friday, January 12, 2018

Frugal Friday 227

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I got out of the house one evening and hit the Christmas clearance at Meijer. I was able to score some fun winter crafts, gift sets, and outfits all at least 70% off. I also used a $6 off my order coupon. I swung by Starbucks on the way home and used a Christmas giftcard for some hot chocolate.

- Annabeth lost her first tooth! The Tooth Fairy brought her a quarter. She had been expecting a dime like in the Bernstein Bears books so she was quite happy!

- Mark worked a couple of shifts at his part time job as well as some middle of the night call-outs.

- We had the stomach flu from the 1st through the 7th. As a result, we saved money by not going anywhere to spend money on activities or gas to get there. We also ended up with four extra meals from last week's meal plan as we lived on toast and ice chips for about four days. At least Owen and I tend to get this every Christmas or New Year's. It's become our, unfortunate, little tradition.

Despite asking them not to cuddle, to keep from spreading germs, 
they just couldn't help it! They love each other so much.

- We paid Owen's spring gymnastics fees in full for the semester and saved 5%.

- Annabeth was sick again early in the week so we missed her private dance lesson. Saved: $10

- I sold a book from my personal Usborne book stash. Since I own these books outright, I always love to sell them! Made: $18

- On our weekly grocery trip, I scored two boxes of organic, probiotic gummies for $1/each and huge family sized cereal boxes for $1.51 each! I saved nearly $20 just on those four items! We also found some fun craft projects for under $.40 each for the long snowy days we were home.

- Yesterday it was warm and everyone finally felt better! The kids spent most of the day playing outside and were happy for it! I was glad to get all of the windows open for a long period of time and to air the house out. We had done it some earlier in the week but it was just too cold to do for any length of time before yesterday.

I hope all of you are well and are safe in this weekend's ice and snow storm.
Happy Savings to All!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Frugal Friday 226

Happy First Frugal Friday of 2018!

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

- We had our first real SNOW of the year! The kids went out and played in it every day. Saturday morning we had hot chocolate and homemade brownies after playing out in the snow.

Friday night we went out after dinner for a while.
Owen didn't remember snow and LOVES it this year!
There was a firetruck down the street which, of course,
was very thrilling for Owen. Mark took the kids closer to see it.
They loved that the driver honked at them as he drove past. 

- Mark spent hours on both Saturday and Sunday shoveling not only our driveway and sidewalk but also our elderly neighbors. On of our sweet neighbors, sent her children over with some homemade chocolate chip cookies as a thank you. They were delicious!

- My nieces Kati and Elli brought Annabeth two huge totes of hand-me-downs. We returned one box of clothes to my SIL for her to sell. I am so thankful that we staggered our children well and that they have always been kind enough to share clothes with us!

- My SIL Cassidy is an AWESOME couponer and made each household in our family totes of hygeine items from her stash! I was so excited! I am slowly learning her amazing coupon skills.

- I took Cass my unused coupons from this weeks paper as well as some gift bags that she requested. I took Jenn a bottle of hand sanitizer.

- We went to Christmas (on the 30th) at Mark's parents and then NYE at his brothers. I made simple, yummy brownies for each event.

- Mark worked NYE/NYD at his part time job. He was happy to pick up this shift as holiday, weekend pay is quite nice.

- Mark and I are both big coffee drinkers. Our parents all gave us coffee to make at home and Starbucks giftcards! Thank you all for saving us on our coffee budget for the next few months!

And now we are sick...Owen had the stomach flu New Year's Day into the 2nd. We thought we had avoided the rest of us but late on the 3rd into the 4th Annabeth and I got it. Prayers for healing would be much appreciated.

Happy Savings to All!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

My 12 Favorite Pictures of 2017

As I look through pictures and I loved reflecting on the year. It never feels "that long" but when I see the changes in the kids from January to December it's amazing just how much can happen in one year!

Here is our 2017 in My 12 Favorite Pictures:

I love this picture of Owen and me dancing in the living room.
O has always loved music and dancing. He is such a joy! 

After a year and a half of saving, we made it to Tybee Island, GA for my 
30th birthday. We spent a beautiful week on the beach. The Crab Shack was our favorite
place to eat - so much so we ate there twice! 

This was Annabeth's very first dance competition.
She was happy to dance, to be with her friends, and most of all
that Mark was able to come for the whole day!

Annabeth and I had a special date and went to Under the Big Top
at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. It was so fun to have dinner at the museum
after closing and to enjoy a real circus show. Annabeth loved having the whole circus exhibit
closed off to us! 

This was our 8th Wedding Anniversary. We had a great weekend away in Brown
County this weekend before. Mark took the day off work and we ended up home
with two kids with the stomach flu. Dinner out turned into dinner at home with both
kids sick on the couch and a dining room full of ants. I wouldn't want to do life
with anyone else!

Father's Day 2017
Mark and my Dad chose Sunday Sundaes for Father's Day Lunch.
Annabeth approved!

Annabeth and I were headed out to her Company Celebration Dinner for dance. 
She has the most beautiful eyes!

This was the month that Owen began calling Annabeth "Gaga" 
and began needing to be with her all the time. 

Annabeth did a cheer clinic at our local high school and was able
to cheer at a football game. She looked so cute in her bow and Owen was ready too
in his football helmet print shirt and bear hat 
(The high school in our town is the Grizzly Cubs)

Fireman O and Miss Peacock Annabeth had a great Halloween!

We were in Cincinnati for a cousin's wedding. It was Owen's first trip to
Ohio and we had such a fun time celebrating. 

Annabeth and I had another special date day and went to a Princess Ball.
She cried "happy tears" when she met her favorite princess, Princess Tiana. 

I am so thankful for this year. I am thankful that we had it to live and that we had it together.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top 5 Most Read Posts of 2017

First of all, thank YOU all for reading each week! I am so grateful for all of the readership and support we receive through this blog. This year I have posted more than ever and much of that is thanks to your interest!

Here were our Top 5 Most Read Posts of 2017:

#5 Striving to Create Blank Space in Our Home. This post featured the inspiration for our big overhaul of the way we live as we strive to have less and to enjoy it all more!

#4 6 Years. This was Annabeth's Birthday post this year. I am so thankful for God's provision and for the incredible blessing of our Miracle Girl.

#3 Our Big, Scary Financial Goal for 2018. In an effort to continue being transparent about our Debt Free Journey I shared our big goal for next year. Thank you to everyone who responded with their own goals!

#2 Carseat Poncho Review. Our dear friend Kelly at Heavenbound HCA gave us a carseat poncho to reveiw and enjoy. It's been keeping the kids warm, and stylish, and we are so thankful for such a beautiful gift!

#1 Food Allergy Mama. This post was really more of me journaling, trying to say what I was feeling and you all took it and responded so beautifully! Thank you for everyone who sent prayers, who shared this post, and who supported me as I processed this new stage of life. Our number six most read post was the follow up to this one - How Seeing My Daughter's Allergist Changed My Life.

Again, THANK YOU to all of you who come every week to share Frugal Fridays with us, 
who send messages of encouragement, and who are all part of our little family's life. 
We are so grateful for each of you!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Frugal Friday 225

Happy Last Frugal Friday of 2017!

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

- Mark worked a shift at his part-time job.

- Last week, Annabeth enjoyed her dance company's Christmas party. The studio supplies all of the food and fun we just took a $5 gift to trade. Annabeth chose to give a JoJo Bow as they are very popular right now. We had so much fun watching the talent show and she had fun dancing with her friends. She received her company picture and shirt as Christmas gifts.

- Annabeth had a very bad ear infection and her eardrum ruptured. They asked us not to spend time out in the cold and wind until it had some time to heal. Mark bought her a simple black outdoor headband to cover her ears. I added two flower appliques to make it more fancy for her. I used some from my collection from Grandma Chico. I love to add things from her to my kids' things. It's like having a little piece of her with us always.

- We spent Saturday-Tuesday in Evansville with my family. We were able to see many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was wonderful to celebrate in the house I grew up in. The kids received tons of fun gifts and we loved gifting everyone as well!

My sister and I grew up taking "Santa Pictures" with this Santa poster
and now the kids do the same. I love how much they love each other! 

- My parents sent us home with lots of snacks and breakfast food for the week. That helped our grocery bill! Thank you!

- We did our weekly shopping trip when we got back. We spent $75.49 on groceries for the week (which also included two rolls of wrapping paper for next year, laundry detergent, and 2 Christmas gifts) When we got home, I realized a sale item had not rung up on sale. I had purchased two of them so I went back and was refunded $3.80. The two Christmas gifts we will gift this weekend and with a store sale + coupon I was able to get two for the price of one! :)

- It got really, really cold this week! I was extra thankful that the kids got so many activities for Christmas. Annabeth spent hours building with Legos, Owen played with his police and fire garage and house, and we all played the LOL Doll game about 50 times.

- On the way home from Evansville, I broke my sunglasses. I have been wearing them since 2009! I am super picky about the size, shape, color, jewels, etc on sunglasses and have only ever owned three pairs as a result. So, needless to say I was really upset that they broke. Thank goodness for a clean break and some awesome super glue because I got them back to "new" again. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Seriously, I have had them forever - here Mark and I are 
in Brown County (with the shades on) in November 2009. 

After we got home from Evansville, we spent the week taking down Christmas decorations, putting up our snow decorations, writing Thank Yous, and of course playing with all of the kids' new toys. After all of the new stuff comes in, even though I have done quite a bit of cleaning out already, I always get a bit antsy. I expect next week we will do some big clean outs again.

I am looking forward to 2018 and to achieving our Big, Scary Financial Goal.
What are your $$ plans for 2018?
Happy New Year and Happy Savings to All!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on usgenerously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:3-7

Friday, December 22, 2017

Frugal Friday 224

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked at his part-time job and worked overtime. His part-time job gave their annual Christmas gift - a $10 grocery card.

- Saturday morning we had "Christmas Morning" at our house. The kids each were happy to get lots of books, pajamas, and their #1 wish toys. We spent the rest of the day reading and playing. Mark did get called out Saturday afternoon but we were happy to have about six hours to celebrate Christmas together.

- On Sunday, Mark's parents brought over pizza for lunch. The kids had a great time showing them their Christmas presents and putting on a dance show.

- Both of the kids, especially poor Owen, were sick from Friday on. Annabeth took a turn for the worse Wednesday evening. We are thankful to live in a place where we have access to healthcare and for the part of prescriptions that our insurance covers.

- A few weeks ago, my friend Ann tagged me in a contest on Lula Roe's website and...WE WON!! Ann, our friend Katelyn, and myself all won 2 pieces for our girls from the new "Elegant" collection. The company even mailed them to us for free!! The two pieces are a $94 value! Thank you Ann and Lula Roe! (If you are in the market for new Lula Roe please visit my friend Jenni Bear :) It will be such a blessing for her little family)

The silver and black piece is a dress and the gold/multi colored piece
is a long jacket. Annabeth loves both of them especially the "Wizard Robe"
They are too big now but she looks forward to wearing them next winter.

- I hosted a Pampered Chef party this month. Thanks to family and friends' orders I was able to get $60 worth of products for $20 shipped! I got two glassware storage containers, an icing spreader, and a spatula for a friend. I was very glad to have hosted this party!

Our week ended up with lots of canceled plans and low-key time at home. We are praying that the kids feel better by Christmas Eve!

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas! Happy Savings to All!