Thursday, October 31, 2013

Five Fun and Frugal Halloween Outfits!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE holiday and themed outfits?!

Here are Annabeth's fun and frugal Halloween 2013 outfits!

Black "Trick or Treat" Shirt - Found at a garage sale by Rose for us - FREE
(a great deal because it's gender neutral so we can send it back for SJ for next year)
Orange Leggings - Gymboree Clearance more than a year ago for around $2
(another great deal because she has worn them for 14 months!)
Halloween Hairbow - Claire's Clearance 2 for $2.50 - worn last Halloween and this year
Total Cost: $4.50


Orange Dog and Pumpkin Shirt - Children's Place Clearance - $.99
Black and Silver Tutu - Hand-me-down from Kati and Elli - FREE
Halloween Hairbow - The same one from yesterday
Total Cost: $.99

Halloween Themed Turtleneck - A garage sale find - $.10
Jean Jumper and Tights - Carter's birthday gift from her Nana and PawPaw - FREE
Same Halloween Hairbow as the past two days
Total Cost: $.10


 Hello Kitty Halloween Shirt - Old Navy a gift from Grandmama Mimi - FREE
Hello Kitty Black and Silver Tutu - A birthday gift from Auntie Rose - FREE
Still that same bow!
Total Cost: FREE!


Her Halloween Outfit since we have tumbling during Trick-or-Treat Time!
Leotard - Found at Growing Sprouts consignment store - $4.50
Red and White Bow - Gymboree Clearance - $1.49
Total Cost: $5.99

Total Out of Pocket Cost: $11.58
However, the leotard will be worn for the rest of this tumble season and hopefully some of next year's! Also, the leggings and red bow are worn year round. So on Halloween specific items I spent just: $3.59!!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Our Homeschool Preschool - Year One

As Annabeth turned 2 this month, we have "really" begun to "formally" homeschool.

Why homeschool for our family?
*Please note: I grew up in public schools and public university. Mark grew up in Lutheran Schools and public university. We each had very positive experiences and are thankful for the lessons and opportunities that we had*

Right now, for the beginning preschool and pre-k years, after months and months of prayer and seeking God's wisdom for our family, we feel that the Lord has laid this upon our hearts. As you read above, neither of us were homeschooled nor did we grow up with any close homeschooled friends, and I feel like that really means this is God working in our hearts. We have many family members and friends who are teachers (both in private and public schools) and we are completely supportive of family and friends who choose to send their children to brick and mortar schools BUT we feel that this is right for US.

Will we homeschool all the way through?

Only the Lord knows. Although I can envision homeschooling through high school that does not mean that it is God's plan for our family. We plan to take it year by year and to really pray and seek His answer for each season of our lives.

What if Annabeth doesn't care for this? What if she wants to go to school?

Again, we will seek God's wisdom on this matter. If she is really old enough to begin making her own decisions we will ask that she pray on her own as well as with us and we will work as a family to hear God's answer.

What does our homeschool day look like this year?

This is a rough outline of our days. Our goal is to accomplish this day at least 3 days a week:

We generally have one playdate a week and one library day a week. On those days we will always have Bible and Prayer time but for this preschool year the other school things may wait until the next day. I will not cancel outings or fun opportunities for "school" as she is just 2.

Also, there is ALWAYS learning happening these are just formal things we set out to accomplish each day. We do colors and shapes as we read and play. We practice adding, subtracting, and fractions while we bake and cook. We play learning games on her vtech laptop or online. We do animal and color flashcards. We play games. We do puzzles. We play with children in a wide range of ages. We go outside and have nature lessons hiking with Daddy.

Overall what is our goal?

Our goal is to establish a lifelong love of our precious Lord and of learning.
By learning in the home we hope that Annabeth will become as creative as she desires. We hope that she will enjoy learning underneath our "lesson tree" in the backyard or sitting on the floor or in the bathtub and not just sitting at a desk. We hope that this freedom will give her the opportunity to study, in depth, things that truly interest her. We hope that it allows us time as a family to do community outreach and service. We hope that it allows us to have flexible vacation time and lessons that can take place on the road as much of our family lives far away. We pray that it glorifies the Lord and prepares Annabeth for a lifetime of service to the One from whom all blessings come.

I am sharing this today because people have begun asking some of the above questions, in hopes that you will understand a bit more of our hearts, and to pray for our family as well as our little school: Annabeth's Academy.

Linked Up To: Teach Me Tuesdays @ Growing Home

Friday, October 25, 2013

Frugal Fridays 10

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I entered Pampers Points and redeemed 1,000 for a free Shutterfly Photo Book. Saved: $29.99

- We continued decorating with Annabeth's Birthday Flowers

- We saved money on our baking budget by creatively saving sugar

- I used a Shutterfly offer to redeem a page of free address labels. Saved: $6.99

- I saved extra on my grocery budget this month by using ecoupons for the first full month. Saved: $8.50

- I got a free pair of underwear at Victoria's Secret with a coupon that came in the mail. Saved: $12.50

- We ate all meals at home this week.

- We did only free recreational activities - going to the park, playing outside, and getting books and movies from the library.

Total Saved: $57.98

What have you been doing to save money this week? Do you use ecoupons? Store coupons?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sweet Savings!

On moving day in July, Mark's parents were kind enough to buy our moving crew breakfast. They brought a coffee bar and yummy breakfast baked goods. Most everything got finished that weekend but we had leftover coffee condiments that I could not bear to throw away! Mark used the Sweet N Low packets over time but since July we have had the sugar and Equal packets in our pantry in little baggies.

They have been falling out, spilling packets on the shelves, and lining the bottom of my pantry so when I did our big pantry clean out this week I decided they had to go. I knew that no one in our families use Equal so I plan to take that to our church's food pantry but I realized the sugar was just inconveniently packaged for baking. This morning, Annabeth and I emptied all of the packets and were able to get about 3/4 cup of sugar to add to our big container!

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Annabeth's Birthday Flowers

To say that Annabeth loves flowers is an understatement; they are her favorite things! She loved our pansies that we planted at the old house and that we moved to the new house.

She was heartbroken when in late August we had to admit defeat and throw them away.

She was overjoyed when we let her pick out her own flowers at the store one September day. She picked out lovely yellow (or as she says 'lellow) mums.

Even though her birthday party had a Princess theme we really only had princess plates, napkins, and of course her castle cake that were themed. Mark wanted to decorate with flowers instead of princess items and he picked the perfect items! He went out on her birthday eve and got four beautiful bouquets of flowers! She was thrilled when she woke up on her birthday to " 'LOLWERS " on all of the tables!

Mark and Annabeth enjoying her birthday breakfast while smelling her flowers

We wanted to make sure we made the best use of the flowers. They stayed very nice until this past week so on Thursday the 17th we had to weed out the ones that had wilted. I was impressed they made it 13 days looking really nice. Once I went through them I found one nice one of each kind left and Mark pressed them into one of our Bibles so she can have a dried bouquet from her 2nd Birthday. I also noticed that all of the pink and red ones were still pretty fresh so I made a new bouquet out of those! They are decorating our dinning room table very nicely.

We are so glad that not only has Annabeth been able to really enjoy these flowers for two weeks already but that we've found ways to keep using them!

What do you do with bouquets when they begin to wilt?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Frugal Fridays 9

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

- I had a Shutterfly coupon set to expire at the end of the month. I ordered $20 worth of autumn greeting cards for just the cost of shipping. Saved: $20

- I shopped at Target for Kashi Granola Bars that we love! They are only $3 a box there which is much less than other stores. PLUS this week they were on sale for $2.75 a box AND buy 3, get 1 free. Saved: $3.75

- We visited my family this past weekend and came home with tons of freebies:
   - My Mama and Sister had cleaned out their closets so I came home with a new skirt and about seven new shirts!
   - My Momaw sent Annabeth home with a week's worth of snacks. She even had purchased one of Annabeth's favorite treats, Goldfish crackers!
   - Momaw also sent us home with a Racehorse Pie that we did not all finish while there. We refrigerated it and then were able to heat and serve it to company this week.

- We took our Box Tops for Education stash to my best friend who is a teacher at a low income public school. We usually tend to buy store brand products but for items that are more expensive I try to make sure to at least buy either Kellogg's so I can earn my Kellogg's points or ones with Box Tops so we can help schools.

- I shipped the last of my maternity clothes (at least the last ones I am willing to part with - I've kept two pairs or pants and two shirts for memory's sake) to a camp friend in Texas. Between my friends Rose, Sarah, and now Katie I have been able to pass on most everything I had! I did loan some to Jenn as well and then we sold those in our garage sales.

- We ate lunch and dinner at home or while visiting friends, we did not shop this week, and we also enjoyed lots of free fun outside and at our library.

That's it for us. What did you and your family do to save money/spend money wisely this week?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Friday, October 11, 2013

Frugal Fridays 8

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

- Annabeth's 2nd Birthday was last Saturday and we had TONS of leftovers from that. We ate leftovers through Monday dinner. I just added fruit and veggies and called it a meal!

- Annabeth had three fun and frugal birthday outfits

- Sunday I went to pick up my unsold items from the Consignment Sale. Here are my posts on getting ready and my post sale post. In the end I made $57.50! :)

- Monday I took unsold winter items from the sale to Once Upon a Child and made an additional $20!

- We added birthday and sale money to Annabeth's savings account.

- Tuesday we had company in so I made a double serving of pasta for lunch and we were able to have it again for dinner this week. I also made a huge dessert and we were able to send leftovers with that guest AND take it to a playdate on Wednesday.

- I took our monthly trip to Big Lots for cereal ($1.80 a box/one box per month - we are not huge cereal fans) and juice ($2 a bottle/2 bottles per month)

- Thursday Annabeth and I enjoyed her weekly FREE library class. She was able to move from "Wonderful Ones" to "Terrific Twos" this week! What a big girl.

- I went to Kohl's with Kohl's Cash to spend! Before going, I looked through our closets to see what we might really "need" from Kohl's so that I was not just wandering, throwing things in the cart. I saw that Annabeth does not have any church clothes for next spring or summer and they have really nice, cute ones! I hit the clearance racks and found: 2 church dresses*, 1 summer adventure bonnet, and a 2 piece outfit that we will give as a gift. After my Kohl's Cash I spent $9 and saved $79.40!
*I did not intend to buy two dresses and would have saved more money if I had just purchased one but this happened: I pulled all of the dresses in her size off the rack, showed them to her, and she firmly said "No." to all of them but one. Unfortunately it was a 2T dress on a 3T hanger and although it fits now I was worried it may be too small come spring. I put it back but when we got tot the front and I was double checking prices with a price scanner she said, "Mama", signed "Where?," Said, "Fishy dress?" Oh man! Four words in a row! How could I say no?! I went back to get the "fishy dress." So, if you see us in a fish sundress this will know why!*

What have you been doing to save money? Let me know!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Three Fun and Frugal Birthday Outfits

I like LOVE to have themed outfits for each of Annabeth's holidays.
Just wanted to share her 2nd Birthday ones...

Outfit #1
Ruffle pants and shirt with balloons and "Birthday Girl" in the lower left corner
- Gymboree clearance last January, with a coupon!, both pieces for $5!

Outfit #2
Grey Leggings from Carter's - FREE as my Mama bought them last spring
"I'm the Birthday Princess" shirt - Old Navy Clearance for $2.49

Outfit #3
 Carter's Black Leggings - FREE as they were also from Mama
Silver Tutu - purchased over a year ago for $.99 at BuyBuy Baby
Shirt and Bow - FREE - a gift from my cousin's wife who runs her own business
(Pretty Pipsqueak) making items like this - 
Visit her Etsy or Facebook pages to order your own! 

Overall I think Annabeth looked very cute and I was pleased seeing as I spent less than $8 on specific birthday items! The pink ruffle pants and tutu have been worn lots before this, went great with her birthday items, and will continue to look great with other outfits.

Do you make or wear special birthday outfits for you or your family? 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Consignment Sale - Part 2 - Post Sale Wrap Up

I survived my first consignment sale as a consigner!

I will use this post as a wrap up and for suggestions for those who are considering consigning. You can also read part one of this series to see what I did to prepare for the sale.

My initial goals were:
1. Enter at least 50 items. Goal Met! I entered nearly 70 items!
2. Make $100. Goat met more than halfway! I made $57.50!

This particular sale was a Fall/Winter Sale so I was able to enter any items except: sandals, shorts, sleeveless dresses/shirts, and swimwear. I did go ahead and tag some t-shirts and more summer looking items in case people like to shop ahead like I do. I would say I had about 20 items that fit in this category and only 2 of them sold. In the future I think I will stick more to just the specific season for each sale.

Items that sold the best:
- 2 and 3 piece outfits
- Pants in very good condition
- 2T and above sized clothing (We had gotten quite a few hand-me-downs that did not meet our family's dress code - too low cut or too grown-up looking for a little girl)
- Character Clothing *ALL of these sold* (Again, these were hand-me-downs of Dora and Spongebob. I like character clothes but only ones that Annabeth actually has an interest in)
- Seasonally Specific  *ALL of these sold* Examples: Items with polar bears, snowflakes, and snowmen
- Holiday Outfits *ALL of these sold* This sale I had Halloween and Christmas items.

Items that did not sell:
- Printed shirts without coordinating bottoms
- Printed bottoms without coordinating tops
- Shoes :( Although I think I overpriced mine after I saw other people's prices
- Walmart and Kmart brand items

What I will do differently next time:
- I will try to keep matching outfits together so when I tag I can find them more easily
- I will try to create outfits with printed items of the same brand
- I will wait until Annabeth goes to bed so she is not "helping" me tag! :)

After I picked up my sale items on Sunday, I came home and went through them. I created three stacks:
1. Summer Items. These I left on hangers, with their tags, and will enter them in the April Spring/Summer Sale.
2. Fall/Winter Items to donate. Any items that seemed a bit outdated (I love those jumpers that look like what I wore as a kid but apparently no one else does!) or seemed worn I took to Goodwill.
3. Try Sell Again. I took about 15 items to Once Upon a Child in Indianapolis on Monday and was able to sell quite a few of them and made another $20. After that, I took the unsold items to Goodwill.

Overall, I really enjoyed doing this! I was able to make back $77.50 in just one weekend! $5 of that profit belongs to my sister-in-law for items that I sold for her and the rest went into Annabeth's Dance Class Envelope and will help pay for more than 1 month of dance school!

I look forward to doing it again in the spring and seeing if I can top this sale's profits! :)

Saturday, October 5, 2013


It is so hard to believe that our Annabeth Sage is two today.

Where has the time gone?

At 2, Annabeth is wild and spunky. She has a HUGE personality and about five different crazy laughs. She loves to dance, sign, and sing around the house. She loves dogs and horses. She loves to look out the car window for flags flying in the breeze. She loves her Winnie the Pooh tapes and pushing her shopping cart loaded down with toys around the house. She loves the colors pink and purple. She loves to hold hands, hug, and kiss. She loves to sit on the counter while I cook dinner. She loves gymnastics class and doing flips. She loves books and can read "I love you through and through" to us. She loves her seal CeCe and the stuffed puppies that Mark has given her. She loves covering up with blankets and snuggling. She loves building tents in the living room. She loves Hello Kitty just like her Mama. She loves being outdoors. Our Little Bit is so full of love.

As a a Mama, I think so many times a day about how blessed I am. I think back to all of the negative pregnancy tests, I think back to the fertility specialists, and I think about the medicines and vitamins we took. I think about those two pink lines in the early morning on January 28, I think about the prayers of joy that day, and all of the prayers of worry for the months to come. I think about seeing that ultrasound and about naming our girl. I think about that 2 pm phone call on October 4 for Mark to come home to take me to the hospital. I think about that long night in labor and remember random things: the way the door sounded each time a nurse came in, Mark eating M&Ms, and wishing I had packed flip flops so I didn't have to walk barefoot. I think back to savoring the movements she made in my belly and the sweet sound of her heartbeat. Then I think of when that sound stopped. I think of the chaos, the NICU team, the sad look in so many eyes, the counts for chest compressions, the words "Cardiac Arrest," the look in Mark's eyes, the worst pain I have ever felt, and the fear as they rushed her away. I think of the two hours I lay there alone as they sewed me up, hours without answers, without Mark. I think of when he came back with those two little pictures of our girl. I think of that long wheelchair ride to the NICU. I think of seeing her, holding her, crying too hysterically to introduce myself to her. I think of nursing her for the first time in the NICU. I think of wanting to never let go.

I think of the day to day worries, all the trips to Audiology and Cardiology since she was born. I think of the worry each time I meet a child her age who speaks more or more clearly - the loss of oxygen could have caused permanent hearing loss. Mark and I work with her each day on letter sounds, each one she doesn't repeat leaving a fear in my heart that it's happening now. Then the trips for Well-Visits. The worry that this well-check will be the one where Cardiology doesn't have good news for me. The worry that they tell me it's "normal" that her lips and mouth often turn blue after she runs or when she sleeps. We trust the Lord to care for her and we accept any challenges that he gives her, us, to face but the fear is if, when it will happen. I beg Him often "Just tell us when! I can handle it if I know when it's coming!!"

I wonder if it'll ever not hurt. I know others think we should just be thankful, and we are. We have so many family members and friends who have lost children forever to the Lord but there was a very real loss in our lives that day and moving through it is so difficult even two years later. I struggle with why it happened. I struggle with the knowledge that the circumstances of her emergency delivery make it unsafe to have another blessing. I struggle with the way I talked to God that day. I struggle with the fact that I still sometimes wake up startled from a dream of seeing her the first way I saw her: pale, blue, still, gone.

I thank and praise the Lord daily for answering my strangled prayer of "Dear God, please save our baby." I thank and praise Him for the two years that we have been blessed to hold and love Sweet Nanners.

2 years. I pray for as many more as the Lord sees fit to give us.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Frugal Fridays 7

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

- I continued tracking Kellogg's Points and Swagbucks.

- I redeemed an offer through Swagbucks to "like" Eucerin Lotion Brand and received 25 Swagbucks and a free lotion sample in the mail. The sample is set to come in the next 8-10 weeks, I will have to let you know what I get! This is a product we buy all winter long so I am hoping it's a decent size freebie!

- We did not take any homeschool field trips or family trips this week, instead we stayed home and enjoyed the beautiful weather right in our own yard! FREE!

- We also ate dinner at home all week. We often order pizza on Sunday nights but this week we made our own. BBQ Chicken and Onion. Yum!

- Mark signed up for a razor deal that he had heard about on the radio. He gets four nice razor blades in the mail, with free shipping, a month for just $6. As he must shave before each shift, at both jobs, we go through a lot of blades! Check out this deal at:

- Annabeth's birthday and party are tomorrow. We are reusing decorations from previous parties and using up our stock of plates, forks, etc that my Momaw gave us over the summer. FREE!

- I finished tagging everything for the consignment sale. Read here for part one of that series.

- I shopped the consignment sale and found six things for $28
(I have already made more than that selling our old things!)
*I went in with a list and a budget - church dresses, dance class outfits in the next size up, and winter coats. As winter coats are very, very expensive to purchase new I always look at every sale I go to so that we can be sure to have ones that fit her but that are also still in good condition.*
Here's what I found: 1 dance outfit, 2T winter dress, 3T spring/summer dress, 3T striped sweater NWOT, a furry fashion vest (Mark hates this!), and a 3T great condition Columbia Coat for just $8!! We looked online and that coat retails for over $50!!! What a deal!

What have you been doing to save money this week?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Consignment Sale - Part 1 - Pre Sale

Whew! I made it! Everything was labeled and dropped off on time yesterday at 3:30 for my first consignment sale!

I know that I have mentioned it in my "Frugal Fridays" series as I completed different steps each week but thought I might go into depth a bit more here.

In the past I sold baby things at my parents' flea market booth; I made $50 back in just two months! My sister-in-law and I have also had three garage sales over the past two summers and I made about $200 between them. Thirdly, I have been hauling things to two consignment stores in our area and have made back $100 in just six trips to sell. So...why consign sale now?
1. My parents stopped doing their flea market booth because they had sold most of their things!
2. Garage sales are very fun but they are a lot of work and time and now that we have moved I would have to make all new signs with the new address. Also, we now live in the middle of a neighborhood so it would take a lot more signs to get people to us - as opposed to when we lived 2 blocks from Main St.
3. The consignment stores generally pay less than $1 an item and I have some very nice things that I would like to try to get more money from!

I chose to consign with Here We Grow Again - Indy South as they are located right in town and I won't have to drive up to Indianapolis. The sales there may be larger there but I would spend quite a bit of my profits in gas driving to drop things off and to pick them up.

For this particular sale I made an online account, got my consigner number, and then was able to start entering items. This sale was easy to get ready for as everything was still in one tote from our May garage sale. This sale is for the winter so they accepted everything but shorts, sleeveless, swimwear, and sandals. I labeled everything else we had and really appreciated that they included a pricing guide - generally based on brands. Example: Walmart items should be priced around $1 or $2 but a dress from Baby GAP could list for $6.

I was able to make tags for my 70+ items in around an hour total time. Then I printed the tags and the real work began. Mark figured out the tagging gun while I matched the tags to the items. It did take about two hours to get everything on hangers with the proper tag attached.

Here is our 12 month pile labeled and ready to go!

 The whole tote - ready to go! I will miss those little boots! :(

My initial goal was to list 50 items. GOAL MET! I entered about 70
My second goal was to make $100. We will see! I pick up my unsold items and check on Sunday! I will keep you posted!

Have you ever done a consignment sale? How have you been creatively making money this month?