Monday, September 30, 2013

The Week "Daddy" Became "MARK!"

In our house we have an echo - aka we have a nearly 2 year old and she is repeating everything we say.

Somethings are cute to repeat: "Wuv You" or "Hi Guys" or "See ya!"
Somethings were cute but now we are tired of them: "Oh No!" (silly face included)
Somethings have convicted us and addressed our improper words: *I won't put it here but I have a four letter word I must use a lot because she says it a lot. She does use it correctly but I have been working really hard on not using it - thus the "Oh No!" mentioned above

This week our echo learned "MARK!"

As I say our lunch prayer, I always say a safety prayer for Mark if he is out on a call. Last week when I said that prayer, Annabeth said: "Oh, Mark, Dada!!"
Later that day I excitedly shared with Mark that she knows that's his name! It seemed so fun!

Then, after talking with Jenn on the phone, I shared with Mark what the SD Rileys were up to. I told him the kids miss Uncle Mark to which Annabeth shouted "UN MARK" over and over!
It still seemed exciting and fun that she knew that was him.

Then yesterday, I was doing Annabeth's bath and needed a diaper and this happened:
Me: Mark!
Me: MARK!!
Me: Exasperated Sigh


Annabeth and Mark, playing a favorite game - Dentist 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Steinmetz Love

7.5 years ago I walked into the Staff Lounge at Lakeview for my first day of living a dream, being on summer staff at Lakeview. I saw my old friend Jordan there and he introduced me to some guy named Mark Riley. On that hot, humid May morning they left the AC of the lounge and helped me move into my cabin. Jordan and I caught up, while I rudely ignored that new guy Mark, and when it was all said and done I thought Mark was rough because of the tattoos and for not talking to me and he thought I was super stuck-up for not including him in our conversation.

Jordan worked hard that summer to keep throwing Mark and I together, on lake walks, in conversations after lights out, and during weekend events. And eventually...I fell in love. Then Mark did. Jordan gloated; he was right! He was one of the ones who stalked us around the lake the night we started dating, he was one of the first people we told the next summer after Mark proposed, and he was in our wedding.

Yesterday, we had the honor of being part of the celebration of his marriage. We watched him vow the vows we had made and we watched him smile in awe and love at his bride. We can't say we introduced them or that we helped them along in their dating lives but we can say that we enjoyed being part of the beginning of their marriage and look forward to celebrating lots of years with them.

Congrats Jordan and Aly, may the Lord bless you and keep you!

All dressed up and ready to go to the Steinmetz Wedding. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Frugal Fridays 6

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/worked to make extra money this week:

*We took a three day weekend trip to Cincinnati so many of our savings were vacation ones!

- We bought snacks at Walmart before leaving so we would not be tempted to overpay at the gas station or at the hotel vending machines. I think it also helped us to eat a bit healthier.

- We enjoyed our hotel knowing that we had saved 20% off with a coupon!

- We made sure to make reservations at a hotel with a continental breakfast so we would not have to purchase breakfast meals.

- I found a coupon for the Newport Aquarium for $2 off each adult ticket so we were able to save $4 off the price of admission (Annabeth was free as she is not two yet)

The Riley Three underwater at the Newport Aquarium's shark tunnel 

- We enjoyed Sunday morning at Jungle Jim's - a giant fun grocery store with fun foods from all around the world - and with in store sales and coupons we saved $15.85!

Jungle Jim's 

- We came home $97 UNDER budget for our trip! We were very excited as we will use that to pay for the pizza dinner we plan on serving for Annabeth's birthday party next weekend.

- We had made it a goal to eat most of what we have in the house before we left on our trip so we needed to make a big grocery trip this week. We saved 12% of our grocery bill by using in store sales combined with coupons. We spent $60 for the next 2 - 2.5 weeks. (Our monthly grocery budget is $125)

- On my grocery receipt from Kroger we had a survey code to get an extra 50 fuel points. I completed the survey online very quickly and we were able to save $.10 a gallon at the pump. We saved $1.20 on gas this week.

- We enjoyed a nearly free day at the Indianapolis Children's Museum thanks to free parking and the guest pass of my childhood friend Jennifer and her boys. I did pay $8 for lunch I bought there - not so frugal - but Annabeth and I shared a kids meal so we had chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, grapes, and she got a juice. So we had plenty to eat and it was one of the most inexpensive options.

Jennifer with A and H and Annabeth and me - enjoying a wonderful museum day!

- We continued tracking our Kellogg's Rewards and Swagbucks. I am more than halfway to a Starbucks giftcard through Swagbucks!

- I printed my tags for next week's consignment sale, not much else got finished on that front, but I check in next Tuesday so it will be my project for the weekend!

What have you been doing to save money this week?

Happy Savings to All!!!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pie

This weekend is our church's annual Fish Fry so I have been baking pies today. This is Mark's favorite pie that I make and so I thought I should share the recipe. It is so, so easy and yummy warm or cold!

Chocolate Chip Pie 
- from the Old North UMC's 2003 "Taste of Heaven" Cookbook

2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
1 pie crust, homemade or from the store 

 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Beat eggs until foamy
3. Mix in sugars and flour
4. Mix in melted butter
5. Spread 1 cup chocolate chips across the pie crust
6. Pour batter across chips in pie crust - batter will be runny
7. Bake 1 hour
8. ENJOY :)

It is an easy, inexpensive pie for times I am making quite a few pies for an event like Fish Fry.

My pies lined up to cool before I take them to church. 

A slice of pie, crumbled crust because it was too hot to cut but I was ready to taste test it.

What are you baking this week?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Frugal Fridays 5 (a day early)

We have quite the busy weekend planned so I am posting a day early.

Here is what we have been doing to save money/spend money wisely/work to creatively make money this week:

- We enjoyed Saturday at Conner Prairie and were happy to find a 10% off coupon on the back of our map for one of their little shops. We saved $1.40 at the Apple Store.

- Mark and Annabeth enjoyed Dairy Queen Blizzards thanks to a "Buy One, Get One for $.99" deal. Saved: $2.70

- I redeemed 100 points on my Sephora rewards card for a FREE lip gloss. Saved: $14.00

- I had a free gift in my e-mail from Shutterfly. Annabeth and I made a surprise for as someones Christmas gift. Saved: $9.00

- We shopped at Once Upon A Child, yes again!, and found a leotard in the next size up, a fleece, a new tutu, and a shirt for this fall all for $15.00. The leotard alone would have cost about that much new!

- Mark's mom brought Annabeth two little hand-me-down jackets. One will fit this fall and one is a 4T so we'll save it for a while! They are so cute!

- My mama called and said that she had been out driving and saw a FREE sign on some outdoors toys for Annabeth. She went home, got Dad, and they took the truck out to collect a playhouse, table and chairs, and picnic table for completely FREE! Awesome!

- I finished tagging everything for the Here We Grow Again - Indy South Sale.

- I stopped by CJ's Consignments here in town to see about how I can consign adult clothing there. I got lots of good information and plan on getting some things ready to take there next week.

*In the interest of being completely honest, I did splurge on something this week. I was at Wal-Mart to get toiletries and to restock some pantry items and ended up bringing home new little moccasin boots for Annabeth! I wasn't even supposed to be looking in that section! Extra Spent: $13.97*

Saved               27.10
 - Splurge         - 13.97
Total Saved =   $13.13!!

I guess you can look at my Splurge two ways:
1. It happened. I should have saved all of that money BUT at least I had saved it elsewhere this week.
2. Little girl things are too cute to resist even for Frugal Mamas!

What have you been doing to save money this week? What did you splurge on/resist splurging on?

Happy Savings to All!!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Inspired by the Bates' Hospitality

I have been a huge fan of the Duggar family series, currently named "19 Kids and Counting." I admire their willingness to serve the Lord in their home, their community, and their travels around the world.

Last night the newest season premiered and while the family drove from their home in Arkansas to move eldest son Joshua and his family to Washington D.C., they called another family with 19 children to see if they could "just stop by" while in their state of Tennessee. With just a three hour warning, the Bates Family, not only said an enthusiastic "Yes!" to this question they decorated their home, made dinner, made homemade ice cream cake, and even threw together a small (if you call 46 people small :) ) baby shower for Joshua and Anna's week old baby.

What amazed, and inspired me, is that they simply said "yes." Then joyfully, together they all pulled together and made a lovely evening for both families.

When Mark and I moved into the old house we set some ground rules:
1. Anyone, everyone would always be welcome.
2. We would try to have all our guests leave with something: leftovers, extra dessert, Box Tops for Education for teacher's classrooms, etc
3. When we left to go to someone else's house we would always take something: homemade cookies, photos to share, something of ours that they made need, etc

We have not always lived by these rules but we have certainly tried and are attempting to do so even more in the new house. We firmly believe that all that we have is truly the Lord's and that we should use it to do His will.

I pray this morning that the Lord would continue to give me confidence in my homemaking and hospitality skills. I pray that He would help me remember that it's not about Pinterest worthy dinners or perfectly shiny floors but that it's about fellowship and love. To Him be ALL the glory. Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Conner Prairie Day

Yesterday we cashed in our Kellogg's Rewards Bonus for a Buy One, Get One Free Admission to Conner Prairie in Fishers, IN. We took Annabeth for the first time last September for Free Museum Day but it was a long day of getting her in and out of the stroller, stopping to nurse, etc so this year taking a nearly 2 year old was much easier and wwwaaayyy more fun!

We arrived around 11:15 am and did not leave until 4:45 and Annabeth walked nearly the entire time! She loved all of the flower gardens and looking/smelling where they dried the herbs. She was terrified of the loud moooing cows and would not pet any of the animals.

Our little tourist with her Daddy. She needed her adventure hat, sunglasses, and to hold the map!

She traded her adventure hat mid-day for a pioneer bonnet.

She found a special pine cone treasure. Sweet girl.

A whole day, just the three of us!

We had a great day out and are now dreaming of simplifying our life even more and perhaps a flower garden next summer for our little flower (loving) child.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Frugal Fridays 4

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

- We enjoyed five FREE tomatoes thanks to a gift from our neighbor. Yum! BLTs!

- We also enjoyed a free bag of apples after our trip to the orchard. We used up the apples and lots of eggs by making Apple Cinnamon Bread and Crockpot Apple Butter. Read about that here and here.

- I had a free Shutterfly photobook come in my e-mail so I hurried to finish a Christmas gift. We did have to pay shipping but saved $23.99 on the book.

- We made hotel reservations for our vacation using a 20% off coupon. We saved $45!

- I redeemed some Kellogg's points for a Buy One, Get One Free admittance to Conner Prairie for tomorrow. We will save $15!

- I shopped with a friend at Once Upon a Child and was able to get Annabeth's snowboots for this winter. We had some hand-me-down boots but they are - sadly! - too small already! However, I found a nice, barely worn pair for $4.50. This particular pair retails on Wal-Mart's website for $16.96. Saved: $12.46

- I cut and colored my hair at home. At the salon, at least my salon, this would have cost $90 with the tip. I spent, after a sale + coupons on hair color, $3.92. Saved: $86.08

- I sold some home decor that worked at the old house but not here on a Facebook garage sale site and made $10!

-  Just this morning, Mark came home between his part time and his full time job and brought a full bag of hand-me-downs for Annabeth. They are mostly 3T and 4T so we have a great start on those sizes now!

Total Extra Made: $10
Total Saved: $182.53

What have you been doing to save money? How do you make money outside of regular employment?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

D.I.Y. : Crockpot Apple Butter

After baking two more loaves of our Apple Cinnamon Bread bread yesterday, I STILL had more apples from our orchard trip. So...back to the pinterest board where I found this recipe for Crockpot Apple Butter. I did modify it some for the amount of apples that we had left and for the spices that we had on hand.

I used:

6 Apples: Peeled, Cored, and Chopped
1/4 Cup Water
1/8 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg


I peeled, cored, and chopped all six apples.

I then combined the dry ingredients in a bowl and then tossed the apples in the sugar mix.

I poured all of it into our Crockpot and turned it on low.

Start Time: 7:45 am

At 6:00 pm I took everything out and blended it on the "baby food" setting. I poured it into a mason jar and let cool for two hours before placing in the fridge. My official taste tester Mark approved!

*I did not have any small mason jars but I think the six apples made enough to fill one of those. It ended up being about half of a big mason jar*

Do you make your own apple butter? How do you use up apples?

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kicking Off Fall With Apples!

This past Sunday Mark's parents invited us over for dinner with a trip to the orchard before. We visited the Pleasant Valley Orchard, which last time we were all there was called "Anderson Orchard." We enjoyed their playground, a (HOT) hike out to the trees we were allowed to pick from, and a nice visit to their store for Annabeth's apple slush and our nutty caramel apple.

The three of us enjoyed a cheesy nice photo op:

Annabeth really enjoyed spending the afternoon with her PawPaw and Nana.
Happy Grandparents' Day!

She also loved loved hauling her handpicked apples.

Brian and Kristi were kind enough to treat us to a whole bag of apples! We quickly realized that we would not be able to eat them fast enough so last night I searched online "What to do with lots of apples" and found some yummy recipes. Today Annabeth and I made Cinnamon Apple Bread to take to Tuesday Night Dinner at Brian and Kristi's. It was a hit! We'll be baking more tomorrow to use up some more apples!

How do you use apples? What recipes can you recommend? 

Happy Beginning of Fall!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Frugal Fridays 3

Here is what we did this week to save money/spend money wisely:

- We continued to track our Kellogg's purchases and our Swagbucks.

- My Momaw gave us a ton of free things that she gets in the mail from charities trying to get her to send money to them. We kept some greeting cards, stickers, and wrapping paper and saved the rest for my best friend who is a teacher and can use all of it in her classroom.

- Shutterfly had 101 free prints this week. I went to their website through Swagbucks, ordered my summer pictures, and got 101 of them free! For each dollar I spent, I got 2 Swagbucks added to my account.

- I signed up for a new Kroger card, after we used our fuel points from the old one, in order to signup for online coupons. I had never looked into this and was shocked to see BYGO Free items and coupons that are not always in the Sunday paper. I added any items that I thought we might buy in the next month, that way even if I forget that I have it, the store's computer will know I have it saved on my card!

- I was able to save 19% of my grocery bill with coupons and a store rewards card. Total Saved: $11.32

- Kroger had sent coupons for one FREE of each of the following items: Cheerios, Duncan Hines Cake Mix, Greek Yogurt, Kroger Peanut Butter, and Kroger Frozen Veggies. Total Free Items: $10.34!

- I purchased Annabeth's snacks (the push-up fruit and yogurt kind) at Big Lots. They are $.88 at Walmart but only $.40 at Big Lots for the exact same ones. I also buy our V8 protein juice there for $2.00 while it is $3.89 at Walmart. I bought 6 push-ups and saved $2.88 and 1 juice and saved $1.89 from the Walmart prices.
*This is a good deal for us only because both stores are within 1 mile from our house so it does not cost me extra gas or time to shop there*

Total Saved: $26.43

What have you been doing to save money? Do you coupon? How do you save money on groceries?

Happy Savings to you all!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

D.I.Y. : Iron-Ons

I have just signed up to Pinterest and have been SO excited for all of the neat ideas on there. I have especially been loving all of the kids' clothing ideas. However, I have NOT been loving the prices of them as I clicked on the corresponding Etsy pages for each one. I would love Annabeth to have cute, crafty clothes but I cannot imagine paying $15 + shipping for a t-shirt! So...I decided to make my own!

Supplies: plain t-shirts ($4 each), fabrics ($2 each), and Heat n Bond ($2.99/yard)
*Approx. prices based on last weekends sale at Hobby Lobby*

I placed each fabric on the Heat n Bond page, ironed for the time listed on the package, removed the paper backing, and then ironed onto the fabric. I had never worked with this before and found the instructions on the package to be very accurate.

*Crafter's Tip: I did find that it was MUCH easier to cut out the exact shape I wanted after the fabric was affixed to the Heat n Bond page. I had tried pinning it all together and cutting it but was not very successful so although I wasted some of the fabric and Heat n Bond by doing it this way, I had better results.*

The first pattern I liked was a chevron print. I was happy to find it on sale as it seems to be a very popular print on toddler items and women's accessories this season. I did not really have a plan for it but decided on our family's favorite animal - an octopus. I also used extra fabric to make a matching hairbow - seen near the upper left side of the shirt.

The second pattern I loved was originally supposed to be an "A" but I realized the print was too big to really show up with lots of cuts so I decided on a big heart. I also used extra fabric and an extra bow I had around for that matching hair clip.

Here is Annabeth modeling one of her new shirts!

What have you been crafting? Have you ever made your own iron-ons?

Happy Crafting!

Linked Up to: Teach Me Tuesdays @ Growing Home Blog