Sunday, December 4, 2016

Customizable Wreaths: Reviews and Reccomendations

A few weeks ago, I was checking my "to buy for Christmas" list and as always one of the last people I had to shop for was my Momaw. She has everything and I find her so difficult to buy for. Then, my friend Hillary shared a beautiful wreath on her Facebook page. I clicked on the wreath makers page Customizable Wreaths and found the perfect wreath for Momaw's new beach themed porch!

I contacted the wreath maker, tweaked the above design, and in less than 2 weeks I had a perfect wreath in my hands! Monica worked so quickly and contacted me several times during the process to let me know that my order was started and when it would be completed. She also was very accommodating as for as time and place of location to meet so I could pick up the wreath. I was so pleased that she was early to meet me. I was so excited to meet her - she is so sweet!

I am love with so many of her designs and look forward to ordering from Monica again! Please visit her Facebook page to place your order and to support her small business!

Monica has a great selection of team spirit wreaths!
I loved this Notre Dame one since 
we are HUGE Notre Dame fans (thanks to Great Uncle John @ ND)

Look how beautiful this wreath is for the Christmas Season! 

And of course, I have to share, her Thin Blue Line Wreaths! 
Our LEO Family loves these too! 

**Disclaimer: I purchased my wreath with my own money. I was not asked to write nor was I compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own**

Friday, December 2, 2016

Frugal Friday 171

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I did a tiny bit of Black Friday shopping online. I was able to get Annabeth's new black jazz shoes 20% off  + FREE shipping and I did our usual Black Friday deal of 100 photo cards from Sam's Club for $15.

- I completed a Shutterfly photo book that we will give as a Christmas gift. I combined a free book (thank you Pampers Rewards!) and 50% off photo books offer to save more than $50 on this book! Woohoo!

- While in Evansville for Thanksgiving Weekend, we received a bag of hand-me-downs for Annabeth from her friend India. My sister also passed along some items to me. Thank you all!

- I found out Monday that we have a family baby shower this month. I purchased our gift from Babies R Us on Cyber Monday. The gift was 50% off + FREE shipping + 6% cashback through Ebates!

- Tuesday evening we enjoyed an open house for our friend Kirby Cochran hosted by Emmanuel Church in Greenwood and Indiana Donor Network. Kirby is an organ donor recipient and will be in the Rose Parade this New Year's Day. We look forward to watching the parade to celebrate Kirby and his donor Tracey. The kids loved dancing to the music and the cookies.

- After the open house, we drove around looking at Christmas lights. I don't think that Annabeth remembered doing that in past years and Owen was saying "Oooo!!"

- Mark came home for lunch or took his lunch four days this week. The kids and I had all of our meals at home this week. We are working hard to put money back in savings after, unexpectedly, having to buy the new washer last week.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and were able to celebrate with both sides of my family. We were blessed enough to spend the whole weekend with my family and I am so thankful for all of the precious moments that we have to share.

We celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner at my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jeff's house.
The kids enjoyed playing on a toy tractor from my Great Grandpa Louie's house! 

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Friday 170

Happy Frugal Friday! Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

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

- We had company for lunch on Friday and breakfast on Saturday. I made enough for each meal that we were able to eat the leftovers as our next meal on each day.

- Last Friday afternoon, we had a washer repairman out. He said that the washer had three major problems and that he would have to take it back to the shop to fix it. Total cost for that - around $1000! Whew! No thank you! We had already looked at new washers and knew that they were about half that much. We did not want to invest $1000 into a 7 year old washer. So, Saturday afternoon we went to get a new washer. We shopped at the same store that sent the repairman so we were able to credit his visit ($80) towards a new washer. The washer came Wednesday afternoon and after a week without being able to do laundry at home I was so happy!

- Saturday afternoon, after washer shopping, we stopped by Matt and Jenn's and they kindly let us do 2 loads of laundry to hold us over until the new one was delivered. Thank you!

- A few weeks ago, Mark was in the church nursery with Owen and he noticed that the TV that shows the church service was not working. This means that nursery workers/children were not able to view the service. We have a TV in our bedroom that we have never used so we donated it to the church nursery this past Sunday.

- Sunday afternoon Annabeth attended her friend Madi's bowling birthday party. She enjoyed bowling with her friends. Thank you to the Sherry Family for the fun afternoon!

- I ordered some items for school from Amazon. I redeemed a gift card from eRewards and saved $25.

- I made a quick trip to Target and saved $19 on diapers. I combined a manufacturer's coupon + store coupon + gift card. We got 224 diapers for less than $30!

- We redeemed a FREE pizza from Papa John's!

- I have been cleaning out the schoolroom as I have time. Over the years, I have been given LOTS of school books and papers. Originally I kept them all, not sure exactly where our homeschool journey would lead. Now that we are in the middle of our fourth year, I am quite sure of my teaching style and Annabeth's learning style. As a result, I have been able to part with quite a few books (some traded with friends, others donated) and lots of paper resources. I took a huge tote to recycling this week.

- The kids and I took our Christmas card photos at home this week. The best deal I found on a local photographer was $50 for just 15 minutes. I don't think so! We like our free pictures just fine!

In BIG family news - Owen learned to walk this week! We are SO thankful! We have been really praying for this. The doctor's estimate was 20 months, based on his physical milestones so far, so he was 9 weeks early on this one!

Owen, walking at 17 months, 3 weeks.
Here he was modeling Daddy's shoe and Annabeth's umbrella. 

We had a great week and are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving Weekend with (some of) the people that we love.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Three Wishes (at age 16)

While cleaning out some old pictures, I found a fun journal that I was given in high school. Each page posed a question. I apparently was not very interested in it as I had only filled out a few pages but one of them really caught my eye!

The page read:
If you had THREE WISHES, what would they be?

At age 16 I wrote:

1. I wish to always be a person that I can be proud of.

2. I wish to be the kind of person that others love and respect.

3. I wish to keep an open mind and to be a person that loves and respects others. 

Wow! I was quite impressed that at 16 these were the wishes I chose to write down! They are just as true at 29 - I hope I am living in a way that would make high school Amy proud of me! :)

Me, at 16, a page from my scrapbook.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Frugal Friday 169

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday, we headed to the Indianapolis Zoo. Our fall has been so busy that we needed a day for just the four of us. By waiting until November, we were able to save nearly $40 off the cost of admission thanks to the zoo's low online prices when you buy early. It was almost 60 degrees so still plenty warm for all of us to enjoy the day. We all especially loved seeing the baby orangutan.

Owen Bear with the bears.

 Annabeth loved that we were able to see some of the Christmas
zoo decorations. We were happy to get a picture with a real smile - not the cheesy one!

- Saturday the kids and I hosted a "We're Not Hunting Party." We had two friends and their combined seven kids over for lunch and play! It was a great way to enjoy some fun time with people that we love while all of the daddies were out hunting.

- Sunday we took dinner to Mark's family. It was the first time we have all been together in almost two months due to busy travel and work schedules. Mark made homemade chili and I made yellow cake cornbread and brownies. We had a great time catching up with everyone.

- We had leftovers from the weekend for Monday's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This meant that we did not have any food waste this week.

- I cleaned out our playdough station. We spent $3 to get some new colors and got rid of all of the old. I asked a family member to get Annabeth some for Christmas but we needed some to hold us over. We play alot of playdough!

- Mark worked one night at his part time job.

- We cleaned out the living room toys as well as the schoolroom bookshelf. We found many items that needed to be thrown away or recycled. We also weeded out 20 toys that will be either donated now or sold at the next consignment sale.

- I purchased a Christmas gift using a Shutterfly code. Saved: $24.99

- Our washer started acting up on Monday, the kids and I spent 3 hours getting it fixed. I found a paper, zipper pull, three pennies, and lots of lint in the drain. It worked Monday and Tuesday fine. Thursday it started acting up again. I finally, after 4+ hours working on it Thursday, decided to admit defeat and we have a repairman coming today.

We good week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Frugal Friday 168

Happy Frugal Friday! Happy Veteran's Day!

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

- Last Saturday, my best friend and I had a girls' day out. She treated me to lunch (my belated birthday gift from February) and I was supposed to get dessert (her belated birthday gift from April) but we were too full so I treated us to bottled water while we talked for 3 hours at a bookstore! We enjoyed the Downtown Franklin Holiday Open House and each did a bit of shopping. We also headed north to Greenwood and I used up a Toys R Us gift card to finish Annabeth's Christmas gifts from Mark, Owen, and me. We had a great day together!

- Mark worked two nights at his part time job.

- My friend Anna sent me a book about raising boys. I am in the middle of The Power of a Praying Parent and then I look forward to starting in on that one. Thank you Anna!

- The kids and I spent most of the week visiting my family in Evansville. We finished quite a bit of food from the pantry and fridge/freezer before we left. Mark was able to do a very small grocery trip for things just for him.

- While visiting my Momaw, she sent us home with some GREAT Kroger coupons and a box of fun holiday kitchen items. She has been cleaning out and it was our gain.

Playing "Bird Watch Tour" while touring Momaw's Gardens

- While completing a order, I needed a few more dollars to get to my coupon code/free shipping amount. I added two books for our homeschool (The Ten Comandments and The Apostles' Creed). When they came I realized they were sets of 10 books each. They were also Catholic. I put a post on Facebook and shared them with our Catholic friends. Our loss, their gain.

- A family at Mark's work sent home a laundry basket full of hand-me-down clothes and shoes for Owen. Thank you to the Talley Family!

We had a wonderful week visiting my family! Even though it's November, it was so beautiful out! We spent a ton of time outside - Annabeth and my dad even camped out in the backyard.

I hope you all had wonderful weeks as well! Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What I Told Our Children About The Election Results

This morning we woke up to a country with a new President Elect, Donald Trump.

We were at my parents' house so my dad gave the newspaper to Annabeth and pointed her to me to explain. The cover of Evansville's Courier and Press had a giant picture of Donald Trump next to a giant picture of Hilary Clinton. We had this conversation:

Me: "Who did we vote for?"
She pointed.
Me: "Who won?"
She pointed again.
Me: "Who do we serve?"
Her: "Jesus."
Me: "That's right. More than any of this, all that matters is that we serve God."

In my mind, that is all that needs to be said.

Later in the morning, I took the kids' picture in front of the TV. History was made today and I wanted them to know that they were part of it.

Annabeth and Owen, waking up to a country with a new President Elect
November 9, 2016 

I did the same thing almost four years ago while Annabeth and I watched President Obama on his second Inauguration Day.

Annabeth, enjoying the 2nd Inauguration Celebration of President Obama
January 20, 2013

This morning's Facebook feed was filled with people writing "What will I tell my children?" and "How will I explain this to my children?"

I will tell my children the same thing I tell them every day. Our family will continue to love God. We will continue to love His people, all people. We will work to share His light and love with the world. I will show my children that love and respect for all people matters above all else. I can do those things no matter who is president. I have been alive for many presidents and not one of them has made me stop loving God or people. Not one president has made me change my beliefs. I will encourage my children to respect all people, despite their past mistakes or their current shortcomings. I will help my children to see past color, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Most importantly, our family will pray. We will pray for our leaders and we will pray for our country. Amen.