Friday, March 27, 2020

Frugal Friday 337

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We hosted my parents last weekend for my Mama's birthday. We hadn't gotten together in a month and a half so it was wonderful to have three days with them! We handmade cards and got my Mama a giftcard to enjoy an experience together in the future.

- We enjoyed LOTS of walks in the neighborhood and my parents even took the kids on a bit of a walk through a park. They did not encounter other people so were still socially distant.

- While we usually eat out with company - we ate our meals at home. Pork chops/baked veggies, pizza at home, homemade pretzels, and more. I know many are encouraging people to get delivery or take-out but I feel like perhaps that goes against the goal of social distancing as I worry what would happen if the person preparing the food is sick. That could infect a great deal of people.

- I have purposefully not added video or game subscriptions to our school day as I prefer book work, handwriting, and face-to-face interactions for our school BUT this week we did enjoy a few online classes with friends. We enjoyed Disney Sing-Alongs with a friend from college and Pilates for kids with Miss Laurel who was Annabeth's dance teacher from ages 1-2.

- I saw a fun post on Facebook with the address of James Dean (Pete the Cat author not the dead actor) and Owen took the time to write Pete a letter. He was so excited to put it in the mailbox!

Friends Forever
Owen + Pete

- We stayed home all week, obviously, and just really settled into a new routine. I realize we are so much more fortunate than most in that Mark is still working his usual hours and that I am already used to being home with the kids without breaks. Our daily life is not different but the evenings have been GLORIOUS! It has been years since we have been home in the evenings as dance runs year round. It's been really nice to take our time with school, to take more breaks than usual, and then to have long, slow evenings outside in the sunshine.

- Wednesday night Owen and I went for a walk, Mark worked on a garage project, and Annabeth LOVED having the house all to herself. While on our walk, Owen and I heard some saxophone music. We walked until we found it and were delighted to find a neighbor playing praise music from his garage. It was SO beautiful to hear someone sharing music filled with grace and hope.

- We did not spend any money this week. We did use resources (electric, water, food from home) but worked VERY diligently to use them only as needed. I am excited to track how much money we are able to save during this time without any temptations to shop, eat out, or pick up food/coffee.

We are looking forward to a weekend of being together. Mark is on call but hopefully will not make many runs. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Frugal Friday 336

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday we had our last eat out meal for a while. We opted to carry out of one of our favorite local places. While restaurants were still open here in Indiana, I knew changes were coming. We wanted to show some support of one of our favorite local places - Main and Madison Market Cafe.

- We signed up for the Kids Bowl Free program. We got the family pass so we will paid just $25 for our family to bowl from April - October. We did this last summer and enjoyed it so much! That covers 2 games/day/person in our family.

- Annabeth and I did go to church on Sunday morning. We washed hands upon entry to the building, practiced distancing, and enjoyed a beautiful morning of worship at our church home. We were treated to a message from the Wertz couple who have lived and served in Africa for 40 years! We enjoyed two of our favorite hymns (and beautiful reminders) "God Will Take Care of You" and "Here I am Lord." We also enjoyed the Sunday School hour with a special video and message from the Wertz Missionaries. We did not share in the communal meal and sat away from people. The boys stayed home as Mark had been under the weather late in the week.

- We saved about half a tank of gas as all of our usual activities were cancelled and local libraries closed. We generally use one tank of gas every 2-3 weeks and look forward to saving all of that in the weeks to come!

- I ran an Inventory Sale in my Usborne Books &More VIP Group and had two parties. Mark worked his regular hours plus some overtime.

- Annabeth's dance studio was closed this week. We saved the cost of her private lesson. She did still practice using a dance bingo card, practicing her routines at home, and also took an online ballet class.

- I babysat the sweetest little girls on the planet this week! They are 2 and 4 and literally dolls! We had so much fun with them, a fun change up to our usual school routine, and the kids just loved having extra people to play with. I was so thankful for the chance to help a friend out during a gap in childcare while bringing in a bit of income in our week as well.

Owen dressed in his cowboy boots, fancy belt, 
Spiderman shirt, and Cub Scout hat so he would 
"Look nice for my friends" 

- Wednesday night I traded a friend some yogurt and cheese sticks that our kids had been eating but stopped when we bought the large packages. They are set to expire in the next 10 days so I was able to take them to a family who will eat them. They gave us a huge bag of hand-me-downs for Owen. Thank you Alysha and family!

- I also stopped in to visit some friends to drop off some books to share with their four-year-old in this season of learning at home. I mentioned I was headed to the story to try to find some veggie pizza (or at least supplies to make veggie pizza) for a birthday this week and these AMAZING friends gave me their pizza sauce!! Thank you Love Family - you saved our pizza night!

- I try to shop local or with friends who work from home. Last week, I ordered new lipstick from my friend Cynthia Gomez and her LimeLife by Alcone business. We were sick last month and I always throw away my make-up  after being sick. The lipstick colors are gorgeous AND Cynthia was sweet enough to send me an awesome package of samples! I look forward to trying lots of new products! Thank you Cynthia!

We continued to enjoy learning and loving at home together this week. We also enjoyed finding ways to encourage others from a distance.

Happy Savings to All!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Notes From My Home

I have been a Stay-At-Home-Mama full time since 2011 and a Homeschool Mama full time since 2013. That is nearly nine years of total preparation for being home for days/weeks on end with my kids. If they gave out badges for homeschooling (they don't) I would have earned one by now.

My Mama always says, "The days are long but the years are short." I hang on to that on the long days and realize it's true as we're readying to finish PreK and 3rd Grade here.

The last few weeks have changed our lives less than others - my kids are used to Mama being teacher, being home for school, and Mark still will work his regular job through all of this. What's not normal for us is the inability to meet up with friends, visit the library, wander a museum, and to be home every single evening. We're also missing important events, missing our friends, and hoping for social connections to happen again soon.

I decided to share that over the years I've made and kept notes around the house to hold me steady. These notes remind me of important things to live by. Maybe they can encourage you as well.

This note hangs on my fridge. 
It's my daily prayer that I say when I wake up. 
"Dear Love, Please send me where you need me. Today and everyday. Amen."
The picture is of the Barnard-Jones Building at Kentucky Wesleyan College. My grandfather
was E.K. Barnard who the building is named for. He worked incredibly hard and over the 
years he and my Momaw gave, gave, gave of time, money, and energy to their community.
God called and they answered. I want to live like that!

"Are you carving the tiny bird today?"
This note has been hanging in my kitchen for about a year. My friend Andrea sent me a story
in an e-mail about a man carving the ceiling of a huge cathedral in Europe. In the story, he works
tirelessly to carve a tiny bird just perfectly. Someone asks him, "Why are you working so hard on that
little bird? No one else will ever see him up close or know that you did it."
He replied, "God will."
I hold this as a reminder that no matter how trivial or mundane the day's activities seem,
my actions, words, and responses are forming who my children are. Am I living for God?
Am I seeking to glorify him in small and large ways? 
Am I doing the next right thing even if no one else is watching?  

 "Everyone not with Christ is a mission field,
Everyone with Christ is a missionary"
I had a season in life, when Owen was very young and we were in the early days of homeschooling
that I felt like nothing I did mattered. I was lost in ABC's, finger paint, and housework. I wondered
how God was using me, if I would ever be valuable again. I had always dreamt of a few specific
mission fields to serve on and being in my home was never on that list. Over time, I realized
that God was working on my children through me. They didn't yet know Him and my service to Mark and the kids IS my purpose and work. This quote helps to remind me that everyone I encounter is an opportunity to share Jesus' love. 

This hangs on the door to my garage. I NEED it there. It reminds me to slow down, to
patiently tie shoes or put on coats, and that I am in example at ALL times. I cannot control
my kids or the weather or the clock BUT I can control myself. 
This reminds me to be loving at all times. 

Each of these are such an encouragement to me, even on the long days when I don't see another adult or really interact with anyone but the kids. I pray they are in some small way an encouragement to you as well. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Frugal Friday 335

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Saturday I went to Brown County and spent 7.5 hours with my best friend - kid free! We live about 100 miles apart and have five kids between us so even though we get together every six weeks or so with the kids it's not quite the same as when we were younger! It was so wonderful to have the day together to shop and talk over coffee. I planned ahead and budgeted cash for the day so even though I bought some birthday gifts and few items for myself I stayed under budget.

- Sunday after church, we came home for lunch and to do some chores. We got out of church around 10:30 and had a birthday party back in Indianapolis around three. Instead of eating lunch and shopping out we came home to save money. We enjoyed the afternoon celebrating our nephew's first birthday and they kindly sent the kids home with great goodie bags and a pound of blueberries!

- Monday evening I picked up my second consigner's items. I got all of her items entered into the system and ready to be tagged. I also entered all of our clothing items into the system. Items become more difficult to store after they are tagged so I plan to do one mega tagging session the week of the sale.

- Tuesday we found a new (to us) used book store in Greenwood. We found some deals but I didn't pay close enough attention to some of the pricing and paid $3.98 and $5.98 on two of the books! Ouch! I wouldn't have paid that much if I had been looking more closely. That being said we got five new books for around $14. They do buy books so we plan to take some totes of books to sell there in a few weeks. I'll update then if this is a good way for local people to sell books. (I do generally sell them at the Kids' Sale BUT they are time consuming to tag/set out and very heavy to carry into the sale. If I can sell to this store for a similar profit I will do that)

- We booked our big vacation for the year and saved $100 by using gift cards from our birthdays. Thank you Brian, Kristi, Matt, Jenn, and kids!

- Owen got his haircut by our dear friend Christy Stearns. I used to cut Owen's hair at home but as he has gotten older he has wanted fancy cuts and his hair grows in funky so it's nice to have a friend who can give him great cuts at a good price. Thank you Christy!

He loves to pose!

- I ordered our 2019 photos while they were 50% off and I had 101 free on Shutterfly. I used to be SO good about printing photos, putting them into books, and getting notes written about each picture but last year it got away from me. Thankfully I do make photo-books for each school year, vacation, and birthday so this was only about 200 pictures to fill in the rest of the past 15 months. I was able to save $20 on the price of them by combining those deals. I also earned 1% cashback through Rakuten.

- I currently have an Usborne Books & More Fundraiser Open. I am donating ALL of the free party books AND my commission to a local family. The Steve and Megan Love family are members of local law enforcement, have three children, and due to some very severe medical issues are facing mounting medical bills while trying to care for their family. We pray that this fundraiser would be a blessing to them. The link is still open if you would like to shop in support of the Love Family:

- Mark did our bi-weekly grocery trip last night. We generally shop on Friday or Saturday but were hearing many reports of our stores being out of items that we genuinely needed for the next two weeks. Mark went, shopped with an insane amount of people acting in a crazy fashion, and responsibly purchased only what our family needed.

I was looking forward to a fun vendor event this weekend but due to health concerns it has been cancelled so we now look forward to a fun weekend as a family.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Frugal Friday 334

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday I grocery shopped alone! It was our first trip in two weeks and I shopped for the next two weeks. Check out total was just under $150 (a bit more than I wanted but we needed some shampoo and things as well as allergy medicine)

- Saturday evening we celebrated the early March birthdays in Mark's family. We had a nice dinner and dessert at Mark's parents' house. They sent us home with chili which we had for Monday night's dinner and for two lunches this week. Thank you all for wonderful gifts and time together.

- On Sunday, Annabeth had her second dance competition of the season. It was at our local high school so we barely used any gas. We packed our own lunch and snacks and did not buy any dance wear or concessions.

- We FINALLY had some warmer weather and sunshine! While we try to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside (even in rain, really cold, really hot) it's SO much nicer when the weather is great. We were out at least two hours most days this week.

Annabeth took Sasha out on one of our many walks this week.
Thank you Jesus for sunshine!

- Monday night, per Mark's birthday request, we camped out in the living room. The kids had so much fun getting all of their camping gear out and staying up late for movie night.

- Tuesday was Mark's birthday. We woke up and had donuts for breakfast, played games all morning, had a sushi lunch after surprising him with his dream of getting the BIG sushi boat, enjoyed an afternoon walk, and had homemade shrimp po boys and chocolate Oreo cake for dinner. Mark rounded out his birthday with a meeting with his cub scouts and boy scouts. We had a lot of fun giving him handmade cards, making special food, and surprising him with his boat. Happy #32 Mark! :)

Sushi Dream Come True for #32

- I used an Old Navy giftcard and Old Navy cash from my birthday to get six items for just the cost of tax. Thank you to my sister for the perfect giftcard! I love Old Navy!

- Wednesday morning the kids and I enjoyed some members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra performing their piece "The Big Note." I think is the third time we have seen that group but the kids love it every time. This time instead of a cello they had a bassoon which Annabeth was especially intrigued by. Both kids enjoyed playing a violin after the program as well. 

I think Annabeth would have preferred to try the bassoon.
She talked about it the whole rest of the day.

Owen LOVES the violin!
He has been waiting for his 5th birthday when the teachers in town
will finally begin lessons. 

- We tried Hello Fresh! meals for the first time this week. A friend sent over three free meals with free shipping. We made our first one last night and it was FANTASTIC! It was so nice not to have to meal plan or shop and we still had a great meal that 100% tasted like we'd been to a restaurant. We can't wait to try the rest of our meals over the weekend. If you click my link you can save $20 on your next Hello Fresh order.

- Yesterday we had friends over and they shopped my consignment sale closet. Made: $10

- Mark went to help a friend with his clothes dryer. Mark was able to fix their problem. The friend, kindly, paid him for his time.

We are looking forward to a birthday party both tomorrow and on Sunday as well as a Girl's Day Out tomorrow for me! My best friend and I are meeting up, no kids, and I couldn't be more excited!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Frugal Friday 333

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last weekend we splurged and rented a hotel room for Annabeth's dance competition. The dance venue was about an hour from home and with a 7:15 dressed and ready report time we just felt it was better and easier to be close to the location vs driving the hour. My fail was the hotel's pool was closed and my second reason for wanting to book a hotel was for the kids to have the fun of swimming. Despite booking directly through the hotel website and calling ahead, I had no idea the pool was closed. The kids were very disappointed upon check-in and the hotel staff kindly gave each of them a snack from the overpriced snack bar.

- We packed lunches and snacks for our 8 hour day Saturday. We did not purchase any concessions or dancewear from the event. My general rule is that I buy Annabeth one dance shirt from Nationals each year but not from any of the other events. Last year we did splurge and get two shirts at Nationals since she made Best of the Best and she wanted an "Award Winning Dancer" shirt.

- Sunday afternoon we celebrated my birthday at Mark's parents house. They made a nacho bar and chocolate cookies to celebrate. They also gave me a giftcard to use towards our big vacation for the year. Thank you all!

- Tuesday evening Mark and Annabeth attended his troop's Blue and Gold Ceremony. We are very proud of Mark for completing his Woodbadge. I was very sad to stay home with sick Owen but we enjoyed seeing Mark's pictures and awards when he got home.

- The kids are STILL sick - especially Owen. As a result we stayed home most of the week and skipped a field trip. While the admission was free and I had planned to pack lunch we did save the cost of gas as it would have been an hour each way.

- Wednesday evening Mark taught a class out of town so I took Owen along to drop Annabeth by dance. Even though he was not feeling well, we did stop by the store for a few necessities. He and I had an at home date night and made/ate rice krispie treats.

 Making rice krispies.
No worries, our house is plenty warm (66 degrees) but Owen
loves to wear hats. 

This was our fifth or sixth week of illness for the winter. We've made due by playing and reading at home and borrowing many documentaries from the library. Lots of free fun and thankfully my sister-in-law had even given us a bottle of kids Tylenol so I didn't have to buy any over the past few weeks.

Looking forward to a busy dance weekend and a birthday party for one of my favorite people.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Frugal Friday 332

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday was Valentine's Day/My Birthday. We exchanged Valentine's in the morning and gifted each of the kids some small, fun items. We always just exchange cards between us.

- The kids and I spent a few hours at the Eiteljorg Museum. We used a library pass for FREE admission (Saved $31), got our parking validated (Saved: $10) , and saved 10% ($2.20) on a delicious lunch in their cafe. We are SO thankful that our local libraries offer these passes.

- I stopped on the way home from the museum for my FREE Starbucks Birthday treat. Saved: $5.44

- We, as always, ate my birthday dinner at home. It's far too busy to try to eat out on Valentine's Day so I just made a meal that I really like. Mark got me a cheesecake as a birthday dessert.

- We wrapped up a Cards for a Cause Fundraiser for our dance studio. A few families had missed out on the fall fundraiser and wanted to do one this month. I happily said yes and in less than two weeks they had their orders in, money in their dance account, and cards delivered!

- Monday Mark was off work for the President's Day holiday. We took the kids to Garfield Park and enjoyed the conservatory, a reptile class, and a good run in the Sunken Gardens. Mark also helped the kids find a geocache that we hadn't been able to find on previous trips. It helped to have someone who finds clues for a living!

Riley Family School Field Trip

- My friend Ann and I won a Facebook contest a few years ago and so now we always add eachother's names on those contests. This week Ann won AGAIN and I got a beautiful handmade hat and a Starbucks giftcard as my prize. Thank you Ann for tagging me!

- Tuesday evening, Annabeth had 4H. I picked up two of her friends and left Owen with their mom and younger siblings to play. Both kids enjoyed some time apart and some time with just their friends. This was a nice way to mix up our week.

- We took two huge boxes of items to donate. I did our first round sort of all of our spring sale items. I have all the kids' clothes hung and organized. I also received my first round of items for Express Tagging. I entered her 100 items into the system on Sunday afternoon. I learned a great deal last fall and have a new storage and organization system for Express Tagging this spring. I look forward to working with more conisgners this sale to earn money towards summer fun!

- Yesterday, the kids and I enjoyed the morning out at the Church of God Homeschool Storytime. We meet once a month with dear friends for Bible lesson, songs, and fun. If you are local please let me know if you would like to join us next month.

- Today is the LAST DAY for my Spring Bookraiser for the Riley Cheer Guild at Riley Children's Hospital. This spring we have been asked to donate chapter books and we look forward to helping fill their library cart with wonderful Usborne and Kane Miller chapter books. If you feel inclined you may donate here: Spring Bookraiser

We are looking forward to a fun weekend and our first competition weekend of 2020! #SDAalltheway

Happy Savings to All!