Friday, December 14, 2018

Frugal Friday 274

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I did my first vendor fair with my Usborne Books & More business. I had a good sales day and resisted many great purchases from other vendors. I did buy one piece from a fellow LEO family. I also had a great 30 minute chat with an 8 year old who knew just about everything about dinosaurs and African animals.

- Mark and his parents took the kids to our church's annual Breakfast with Jesus and Santa. They had a good morning and enjoyed supporting that fundraiser for our church.

- My sister came to town and took Annabeth down to the Trafalgar Library for an American Girl event. She enjoyed borrowing Aunt Lu's American Girl doll and making crafts. I love that this event was fun and free!
Annabeth making a gingerbread house
at the event with Aunt Lu. 

- Saturday evening my sister and I took Annabeth downtown to the Circle. I paid for dinner. It was Annabeth's first time at Hard Rock Cafe so we had dinner and got her a shirt. Then, Lu surprised Annabeth with her Christmas gift which was a carriage ride around downtown Indianapolis. My parents took Lu and I when we were little and it's one of our favorite Christmas memories. We were both so excited to share this with Annabeth as well. She loved all of the lights and I enjoyed showing her Old National and IPL's trees as well. Thank you Lu for a magical night out!

Downtown under the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument

- Sunday, Mark kept the kids, and Lu and I took the afternoon out together. We ate and shopped around downtown Franklin. I was able to finish up a bit of shopping and I was just happy to be with my sister all day. We came home and all decorated Christmas cookies together and then had dinner out.

- Sunday night into Monday I got the stomach flu (I usually have this over New Year's so I am hoping it was early and I am done for the holidays) Lu kindly took the kids to play at the Greenwood Library and out to lunch so I could rest and then clean bathrooms/do laundry without helpers. Thank you Lu!

- I earned a $5 gift card last month through Usborne. Thank you to my team leader Lana for the free Starbucks this week! :)

- Mark and Owen did the grocery shopping. While there, a manager asked them to participate in a loss prevention training. They did it and earned a $5 gift card!

- I received a FREE FULL SIZE product from Garnier Fructise to review. I used the product and wrote my review. While I was not compensated for my review I loved that I got a full sized product vs a tiny sample one and it was one that I liked!

We had a busy week and I am very much looking forward to my final open house of the season tomorrow in Shelbyville.
Also, we would like to invite anyone in the Indianapolis area to our church's annual Christmas Cantata this Sunday. Services are at 8:30 and 11 at Christ United Methodist Church. We hope to see you there!

Happy Savings to All!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Exact Spot.

Mark and I don't exchange gifts. Valentine's Day has always been a card, our anniversary has always been a card, our birthdays have been cards only since having Annabeth. We do help the kids buy the other gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day but those are very much kid selected (the kids gave Mark a cartoon movie last Father's Day) All that to say... imagine my surprise when Annabeth and I got home from dance last night and I had a package on the dining room table.

I opened it and found this...

I was so excited! How neat! How thoughtful!

Mark said, "Guess where the coordinates are."

I guessed Camp Lakeview. Nope.
I guessed the bridge where I heard that Still Small Voice whisper "this is the man you will marry" and where we were engaged the next summer. No.
I guessed Lutheran Lake. Nope.

He said, "It's where your car was parked the first time we met. The exact place we met."

Oh friends, I cried! (and I am not even a crier!)
Not only had he found this incredibly sweet gift he went so far beyond just getting it done to make it so perfect.

I share this as a reminder to make use of ALL the moments. Other than a three hour break yesterday evening, Mark has been at work since 7:45 yesterday morning and will work all day today. He will come home, change clothes, and go serve up north with his Scout Troop. I have been busy with school, the kids, dance, work, and more. Our lives get busy really fast and we quickly could become, and have in the past, roommates instead of best friends and partners. After an especially difficult spring five years ago, we really purposed to be intentional. Intentional with checking in with each other, helping with the big and little tasks, being present even if our time together is measured in minutes.

I love that he hung this frame right away and I've smiled each time I've looked at it in the past twelve hours. I loved watching him hang the frame with Owen and thinking just how far we've come since we met at that exact spot. I cannot wait to see where else the Lord takes us!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Frugal Friday 273

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 worked my Usborne book business.

- Saturday we had what I would call a perfect day. We packed Meal Bags, stopped by the live Nativity downtown, had coffee and candy canes at Don and Donna's with the Franklin Police Department, and then put up our Christmas tree. In the afternoon, we surprised the kids with Owen's first trip to the movie theater. We went to the Artcraft (just $21 for our movie tickets, water, and popcorn) and enjoyed "The Christmas Story" Owen and Annabeth only enjoyed the popcorn and cartoon preview but Mark and I loved the movie as always. We came home and read the first chapter of Luke and a Christmas chapter in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter." Seriously perfect day.

Owen's first movie theater trip!
He loved eating the popcorn and drank our whole bottle of water

 All year Annabeth has been waiting for this moment.
"Then, Daddy will lift me up and I will put the star 
on the very top of the tree."

Reading "The Long Winter" by tree-light
It may be a new Christmas memory but it's now one of
my very sweetest.

- We shopped for our first family Christmas event and bought snacks for some of our favorite little boys. I used coupons and saved $7.50!

- Tuesday was our 90th day of school. Annabeth finished all three of her main coursebooks and passed her exams. We are excited to be 1/2 way through 2nd grade! We started the next books on Thursday and I plan to have at least 100 days of school in before Christmas.

- Wednesday we celebrated our half-way point by visiting the local museum. Our county museum is free and we enjoyed a bit of play there. Each Christmas local groups decorate trees and the public can vote on their favorite. We each chose a tree for that as well. We had less than an inch of snow but the kids wanted to play so play they did! We also stopped our day to watch the State Funeral of President George H.W. Bush. I didn't ask them to sit through all of it but we did listen as #43 remembered #41.

- I closed out a Cards for a Cause for a friend's group. I was happy to help them earn money towards their fundraising goals.

- Mark decided to relearn German this week. A few nights in I joined him. We are using the free site

- We donated a bag of books and toys to a local charity as part of our pre-Christmas cleanout. I was thankful that the kids, especially Owen, were so generous in giving to others. I was proud to see him give up two big trucks as well as many smaller toys.

- Yesterday my friend Katelyn stopped by to buy books (thank you for supporting my Usborne Books & More business!) AND was kind enough to share her Starbucks BOGO with me! Hot chocolate on a cold day was such a treat. Thank you sweet friend!

And finally, a note about Christmas cards. I have ALWAYS done them (since I was 11!) by the hundreds! I used to write long letters in them to each person, handmade hundreds one year, and after Annabeth was born we switched to the picture cards so we could get a good family picture to everyone in our lives at least once a year. But this year I just don't feel like it. I am not sad about Christmas or unfestive but the thing that was overwhelming me most was looking ahead at the Christmas card list, so I'm not doing it. The kids painted 10 cards earlier this fall and we sent those to their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and to our elderly neighbors and then I was done. And despite the guilt I feel about people being left out it was such a weight off my shoulders. So, there is my Christmas Cards 2018 PSA.
If we sent a card it would say this: We love you, Merry Christmas!

We are looking forward to and fun and busy weekend with family!
If you are local and looking to do some last minute shopping please come see me at Style Dance Academy's Ladies Day Out tomorrow from 9-3! 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Frugal Friday 272

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday, we enjoyed a fun, free program at our local library. The kids enjoyed a storytime, crafts, and meeting "Pinkalicious"

- Saturday I held my Annual Holiday Open House with my Usborne Books & More business. This year I asked my friends Kelly and Ann to bring their businesses and products as well. We had a great turnout and a lot of fun! Thank you very much to everyone who came out.

- Last week I held a Pampered Chef Party. I did not redeem any of my 1/2 price items or purchase any discounted items. I just redeemed my free items ($35 worth) and paid only shipping.

- I splurged and did two mystery bag type deals on Facebook groups I am. I did a Thirty-One one and received a $28 bag + won a $12 unicorn bag + shipped free all for just $20. I also did a LulaRoe one and recieved nearly $100 retail (one top + one skirt + leggings for Annabeth) for just $31! Wow! Thankful for fun surprises that were really affordable!

- We did not do a big grocery trip for over two weeks. This allowed us to truly use up everything in our fridge and pantry.  We did make a quick $20 run for fresh produce in the middle but it really is a good habit to get into every few months.

- I doubled my taco soup recipe and made a batch for a family with a new baby. I was so so thankful when a few friends brought us meals after Owen's arrival. It was such a blessing and I love "paying it forward" now.

- I had not planned on Black Friday Shopping but I ran out of hair spray. I have used the same bottle for 23 months so I decided to see if it was a deal online anywhere. I was able to buy it 50% off + Free Shipping + I had a giftcard for $4.18 to Macy's. I was able to get it for just $7 plus $1.10 cashback through Ebates!

- I got forced into a new phone on Black Friday. My parents surprised me with my first smart phone for Christmas and Mark bought me a protective case. I have had the same phone forever and was not ready to let it go. That being said - I do like having a much better camera and my google calendar on my phone now. Thank you all!

We were at the phone store for hours but Owen
was really quite patient. This was towards the end and he was melting into his waiting chair. 

- I won a holiday shirt from a group of crafty ladies that I love to follow on Facebook and Etsy. They even let me choose my own design. I chose one I had loved on Pinterest and it came this week. I am very excited for Annabeth to wear it for the new few years and then for Owen to wear it later. Thank you to the ladies at Crafting for Morgan!

- It was very cold and we had some snow this week. The kids and I stayed home as much as we could. We are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter and it was perfect for this cold, snowy week. We also made paper snowflakes and decorated our windows with them.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend in Evansville and Owensboro with my family.
My favorite moment of the weekend was at my Momaw's House. Owen came running from the kitchen and said, "Mama! I saw God! Come see!" Of course I ran to see who or what Owen thought was God. He pointed to this...

"See?! This is God!
He has sandals just like Jesus!"
Proof my kids really have no idea about Santa Claus 
and that all things point back to Jesus!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The ONE Word I am Most Thankful For this Thanksgiving

This picture is the one I am most thankful for this year...

We took this at Lutheran Lake, on "our" bridge, the week of our 12th Engagement Anniversary. Mark and the kids humored me while at a cook-out on the lake and we all took a walk to go sit on our bridge and to capture this moment. 13 years before I had heard that Still Small Voice whisper "This is the man you will marry" and then the next summer Mark asked me to be his wife.

Just two weeks after we took this picture, I sneezed in our kitchen while cooking dinner. I sunk to my knees, deep in pain. Mark was gone for the week at scout camp and I sat there terrified of what had happened. Shortly after that, the pain left me. I called my doctor's office, made an appointment, and waited nearly a month. I was in pain and off for that month but was 99% sure I just had a hernia.

At my August doctor's appointment, my doctor agreed that a hernia seemed to be the issue. I waited 2.5 weeks to see a surgeon and then another 10 days for a CT Scan (a $3500 test that our insurance literally paid $4 of) It was another week for that to come back completely clear. No hernia. No anything. In the mean time, I was in horrible pain. I would do very simple chores around the house or take a small walk with the kids and would be doubled over in pain. I walked maybe a quarter mile with Owen and worried that I wouldn't be able to make it back home again. I became more and more worried as I have always had a high pain tolerance

I started over with my doctor and went with what had been our second choice - complications from my endometriosis. It didn't seem to fit that but we felt it best to see a specialist for an ultrasound. Waited weeks for that appointment. Nearly right away they found polyps in my endometrium as well as endometriosis and suggested surgery for the very next week. I have known many who have had cysts and/or fibroids and the difference between those and polyps is that polyps can be cancerous or pre-cancerous. I had surgery on a Tuesday, felt pretty good on Wednesday, and then it all went downhill from there. I spent days in bed, crying, waiting for the pain to end. They had told me that I would "easily" be able to return to work in three days and at the three day mark I could barely move. It took nearly two weeks for me to feel "okay" again and then another week to really feel good again.

Over two weeks out from surgery, I got the results of the polypectomy and from the tumor they found during surgery - ALL were benign.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for that word. That beautiful little word - benign. I read the results and just sobbed. I again, in my kitchen, fell to my knees thanking God for the incredible blessing of good health. This year one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with cancer and is fighting the ultimate health fight against it. She is strong and she is brave and I know the Lord will see her through it however He sees fit. I have felt guilty that He saw fit to spare me but that He asked her to fight. As I turned 31 earlier this year, I began to think about getting older and how 32 would mean nearing my mid-thirties...I am now SO thankful to have the chance to get to 32 and Lord willing 52 and maybe even 92. However many days the Lord gives me I pray that I will use them to serve Him and His people. To God be ALL the glory. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Frugal Friday 271

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

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

- I shopped online for a baby shower. I earned 1% cashback through eBates and stuck to the registry by not getting distracted in the store by all the cute items! I also saved $1 as I chose the shipping option where everything ships in fewer boxes.

- I finally broke down and checked out the ever popular Grove Collaborative for household goods. I got a free five piece set, free shipping, and $2 back through Ebates with my order (which I felt was a very good deal) I switched to Method household products over the summer and just by cleaning with different products I eliminated the wheezing I usually have while cleaning the bathroom and kitchen AND the excema on my hands that I have treated with lots of expensive soaps/lotions is completely gone with NO flair ups! I was sold on these products! I am excited to try new ones shipped free to my door! (I really stocked up and plan to cancel before the next month's shipment comes) Get your FREE five piece set here.

- Saturday we went bowling as family. It was SO much fun and the first time all four of have bowled together! We all got at least two spares and two strikes! Mark won both games.

- We did a huge clean out of Owen's room and our living room toys. We filled half a large trash bag with broken toys, toys with missing parts, and items like that. We also filled a kitchen trash bag of toys to donate. We saved one nice toy to sell at the Spring Consignment Sale. We always do cleanouts like this before each sale (April and September), their birthdays (June and October), and Christmas but this was our biggest overhaul ever! We have lots of empty totes and shelf space and I feel so free!

- Monday evening I splurged and got my first haircut since Owen was a baby! I have been trimming my ends for years but it had become just a big mess. I was at a baby shower on Sunday and mentioned to my friend, "I need someone who does hair to help me!" The lady across the table said, "I do!" She fit my in the next day and for a great price I got a great haircut. Thank you to Christy Stearns for becoming my new hair lady and making me feel great again!

- This week Annabeth enjoyed two free P.E. classes at Franklin College and Owen enjoyed Preschool Storytime at the Church of God in Franklin.

- I listed and sold 4 winter items on facebook. Made: $25

- We had our first ice of the year. The kids were up around 5:30 yesterday but I managed to keep them in until it was really light around 8. They LOVED it! We are in the middle of By the Shores of Silver Lake and just read about Laura and Carrie's adventure with the wolf on the ice. Annabeth and Owen skated across our patio like they were looking for wolves! I love that they always want to be outdoors, no matter the weather!

"Never be within doors when you can rightly be without"
- Charlotte Mason
"The true way to live is to enjoy everyone moment as it passes, and surely
it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies"
- Laura Ingalls Wilder  
Owen did not remember icicles or snow and loved mowing with his frozen lawn mower!

We are looking forward to a really fun evening tonight with two local events and then tomorrow is my Usborne Books & More Holiday Open House! I hope to see many of you there!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Frugal Friday 270

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- The kids and I went to Evansville for a three-day weekend last weekend. I hosted my Evansville Open House with my Usborne Books & More business. It was wonderful to share the books I love with some of my very oldest friends and family. We also enjoyed a great visit with my family and were completely spoiled with meals out at our favorite restaurants and the kids had a museum day/geocaching adventure with my dad while I worked. Thank you all for hosting and helping me have a great first Open House of the holiday season!

- My sister and I swapped clothes. We also traded with a friend. It's nice to have a closet that is always revolving this way!

- Monday morning, the kids and I enjoyed a free musical story from the Indianpolis Symphony Orchestra. This was a great event at our local library.

- I won a FREE leotard from our favorite leotard shop - Mac and Millie! I entered her giveaway in October, forgot about it, but was excited to learn we won a leo! I will add it to Annabeth's Christmas gifts! Thank you to Casey at Mac and Millie!

- I sold a household item on Facebook. We met at the JCSO Safe Meeting Place and encourage others to do the same! Made $10

- A friend posted looking for an item that we have on hand but don't use. I was glad to be able to get it to someone who will use it!

- Mark was off Tuesday for Election Day so after the kids' gymnastics classes we went down to Columbus to play for the day. We had lunch at Zaharakos and then visited the Kids Commons Musuem. My parents gave us the 10 visit punchcard pass last Christmas but we hadn't used it yet! We had a great day playing together! We also ran over to the Kids Commons Playground to play for a bit as well. It was a great day of free play!

 Owen is REALLY into statues right now so Columbus was
super fun for him!
 He laughed so hard! "This place has a giant potty?!"
The Kids Commons Museum gets what makes three-year-olds laugh! :) 
I think Annabeth's favorite part will always be the playground!
She loves to be busy 

- We popped in Meijer for 90% off Halloween! We scored their costumes for next year and a pair of Halloween socks for FREE thanks to that sale and a $6 off our order coupon!

- I received my Ebates cashback. I used it to help pay shipping on our Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes. We filled two boxes this year (Annabeth made a box for a girl her age and Owen made a box for a boy his age) We buy and save items throughout the year when we find good deals and then also did a little shopping trip. We spent $33 on items plus shipping. I think this is such a wonderful way to begin our Christmas season - with our children buying for and, more importantly, praying for children around the world.

- Thursday we took advantage of a free P.E. class for homeschoolers offered at Franklin College. Annabeth will be able to enjoy this class four times this month. Thank you to FC for this great program!

We are looking forward to a fun weekend with MARK HOME AND OFF WORK!!

Happy Savings to All!