Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2014

Christmas Eve

This year, to relieve some holiday stress from Mark's Grandpa Ed who usually hosts, we decided to host Mark's Family Christmas Eve. We did a lunch at 1 o'clock. We enjoyed a wonderful time visiting with FOUR generations of his family!

The youngest generation.
Liam, Kam, Daniel, Brayden, Kati, Annabeth, Elli, and Nate 

Four Generations!
Just missing two from Mark's generation 

Getting ready to open her presents.
This sweet homemade dress reminded me of my Grandma Chico
who always made us cute things! This one I found at Goodwill.

After everyone left, Mark and I cleaned the house while Annabeth played with her new toys. Then, for the first time, we were in town at the right time to attend Christmas Eve service at our own church. It was beautiful and so special to share with our friends Miss Teri as well as Chris and Cindy.

Christmas Day

Annabeth woke up very afraid that Santa was still in the house and spent the early part of the morning hiding in our room. She was not too sure about Santa and when people at church had told her he would be coming to her house she was very afraid. Mark made sure Santa was gone and that the living room was safe and she finally agreed to check out her presents. 

When it comes to buying her gifts. We stick to the same budget for Christmas and Birthday. It is a budget that in lean years is completely do-able and in other years is a good way for us to keep it reasonable. We choose to get her art supplies, books, clothes, and just one or two toys. This year her favorite gifts seemed to be her new Elsa doll and her Brave book. 

So happy with her light-up, singing Elsa doll and Olaf toy. 

Special new ornaments.
Her Big Sister one, our "Baby makes 4" one, and #2's penguin ornament

After a relaxing morning playing with her new things, we headed to Mark's parents. We enjoyed opening gifts; the kids go first and then we send them to the basement to play while the adults open. Afterwards we enjoyed corned beef and cabbage since we won't all be together New Year's to eat it then. 

Cute Christmas Cousins.
 Elisabeth, Annabeth, Katherine, and Nathanael

My sister-in-law Jenn and me in our matching jackets.
We said we're like Kati and Elli since they often wear pink (K)
and purple (E) for people to tell them apart! :)

We had such a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas. We were so happy to share those days with each other and with Mark's side of the family. We have so much fun with them and we share so much love!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Frugal Friday 71

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- During early December, we picked up mail and checked on the house of friends. This past week, they treated Annabeth and me to pizza lunch as a thank you. 

- Instead of buying/renting Christmas books and movies, we borrowed them from the library all month. We were able to enjoy 40+ books and 10 movies absolutely free!

- Mark worked his full-time job plus 18 hours at his part time security job. Saving for #2! :)

- Mark volunteered for "Shop with a Cop" on Saturday morning. He loves doing this event each year.

- Mark's parents treated all of us off work and in town (sorry PawPaw and Mark who missed the fun) to a mall day. The four kids were each able to pick and make a Build-A-Bear and all of us adults got Starbucks. Thank you!

Elisabeth, Annabeth, Katherine, and Nathanael
SO happy at Build-A-Bear and yes, they hold hands on their own!

- We hosted Mark's family (30+ people) for Christmas Eve lunch. We had seats for 18 adults and 2 children but that was not enough. Our friends the Gomez family let us borrow kid chairs and the Campbell family lent us three tables with chairs. It was so nice to have things to borrow, wash, and return instead of having to buy more tables and chairs. Thank you all!

- I purchased take-out containers and we boxed up and sent home leftovers after lunch. My Grandma Chico always did this and it worked so well because people have to take food then!

- Mark's brothers and their families went to visit Great Grandpa Bob at the nursing home. They took one of the pies that no one had opened to the nurses to share there.

- We made homemade bread to take the Christmas at Mark's parents' house. We also took some cookies.

We had a wonderful Christmas and pray that you all did as well!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; 
he is the Messiah, the Lord."
Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas!
The Riley Four

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Our Gingerbread House

Last week, I was finally feeling up to a trip to the store. As we walked in, Annabeth announced "It is SO nice to be out of our house!" Then she spotted some gingerbread houses and asked to get one. My mama guilt kicked in, as I've been too sick most days to go anywhere or do anything very much fun, so I agreed.

We ended up putting it together on Thursday evening with Mark. He built and decorated most of the house. I gave Annabeth two little gingerbread men and a little tree to decorate. I knew she would enjoy having her own project and that Mark and I would enjoy having the house to ourselves to decorate.

 Our little Riley House by Daddy and Mama

Things Annabeth will sit still for:
1. Candy
2. Activities she enjoys
3. Building anything 

When in doubt, stack your candy higher.  

She was completely focused on this project for over an hour!

I have found myself being very into Christmas season activities this year. Part of me thinks it is because at age three, Annabeth is finally into most activities and is actually enjoying and remembering them. Another part of me knows that this will be the last "easy" year for a while because when #2 comes we will start all over again with the baby years.

We are enjoying the countdown to Jesus' Birthday and we are looking forward to celebrating Him this season. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Frugal Friday 70

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely:

- We used a giftcard to purchase three ornaments that we will give as gifts.

- Mark did our grocery shopping for Christmas Eve. We are hosting his family and will have about forty people in. He saved 25% off our grocery bill by combining coupons and store sales!

- Annabeth and I enjoyed a free Living Nativity service and event at St. Luke's UMC.

- Annabeth received a giftcard to Build A Bear for being in a wedding in September. We took her Sunday to make her first animal there. She chose an orange cat and named it "Owen." We only paid the tax on the gift.

She had so much fun and she really loves her new cat.
Thank you to Chris and Cindy for this gift!

- We ate dinner out Sunday at the mall. Annabeth and I each took home enough leftovers that we had them for lunch on Monday.

- On the way home from the mall, Annabeth peed in her carseat and I was feeling sick so we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts (the first place to stop). Once we came out of the bathroom, me having vomited and Annabeth with wet pants, the nice lady at the counter gave us our choice of what we wanted! She said, "Oh honey, I've been there. Just pick what you want."

- I sorted through our sale tote and sent 13 items of Annabeth's to ThredUP. I didn't have a lot of items for winter but I thought this would be my test run on selling children's clothing with them. It is certainly easier and faster than tagging for consignment sales. I will keep you all posted on how it goes.

- Annabeth and I went to a free reindeer show at the library. It ended up being much more than I expected as the show was more than an hour long with many animals - a bearded dragon, dove, ferret, frog, and even a dog with matching storybook. At the end the animal guy brought in the reindeer and we were able to pet her and make our picture. Annabeth was bored during the show and terrified of the reindeer. I loved it.

Jingle John, Noel the Reindeer, Terrified Annabeth, #2, and me

We had a good week, spending most of it at home relaxing. We hope you have also found time to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference" 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Ugh, I dream like a mom!"

Last night, Mark was watching a thriller, spy type movie where a man was running and hiding from bad guys. I was checking out baby and homeschool stuff on pinterest so I was not really watching the movie but did catch bits and pieces.

Once I fell asleep, I dreamed that Annabeth and I were in a big glass house in the woods and we were surrounded by bad guys. Through a chain of events that would never happen in real life, for example I have no karate skills, we managed to capture two bad guys. Annabeth helped me tie up the unconscious men with Hello Kitty clothing. Then I decided that before the men woke up we would need to get them in the car to take them to the police. But as we went to leave the house I realized the doors weren't locked so I ran around locking about 15 doors all over the house. Then Annabeth had toys all over the floor so naturally we had to pick up the toys before we left. Then I noticed dishes in the sink. After making sure the bad guys were still knocked out, I proceeded to do the dishes before we left.

Around that point I woke up, startled because the beginning of the dream had been pretty scary. My second thought, "Ugh, I dream like a mom! Who else locks doors, picks up, and does the dishes before turning in bad guys?"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

#2 Questions Answered

I did a Q and A when we announced Annabeth's pregnancy on the blog so I thought I should do the same for #2.

  • When did you find out? October 24, 2014
  • When are you due? June 29, 2015
  • Why keep it a secret so long? As with Annabeth, we wanted to be sure that we had heard the heartbeat and that we were through the first 12 weeks before sharing our joy.
  • How has Amy been feeling? Pretty sick. If you haven't seen me since before Halloween now you know why! We have been hiding at home! Thankfully, I have not been as sick as I was with Annabeth. Praise the Lord!
  • How has Mark been feeling? Busy! He has been doing an amazing job taking care of us girls and has been doing all of the grocery shopping on top of everything else! 
  • Have you gained any weight? No. I am down 10 lbs. Which is 2 less than this point with Annabeth.
  • Have you had an ultrasound? No. We will not have our first ultrasound until around 20 weeks for the body scan and gender check. We did hear the heartbeat on December 12 and it was an amazing 155! 
  • Any fertility treatments this time? No. We were honestly shocked at how easy it all has been this time. We just kind of said, "Okay, Annabeth is almost three. It's now or never. Let's let God decide." And apparently His answer is "now."
  • What does Annabeth think? She seems to be very excited. She says she wants a brother although she is only willing to share her toys if it is a sister. She also says that our boy name will be the name boy or girl. She especially enjoyed buying #2 his or her first Christmas ornament and selected a toy for him or her as well. 
Their first sibling shirts.
Annabeth's "Every Sheriff needs a Deputy" shirt and #2's sheriff onesie. 

We are so excited and so shocked that the Lord has seen fit to bless us again. We are praying for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Pray with us? We would appreciate it ever so much. 
Love, The Riley FOUR!

#2 is due in June!

We are pleased to announce with joy this Joy Sunday of Advent that we are expecting #2!

Annabeth with her new Big Sister ornament
and her Sheriff Big Sister shirt.

We thank and praise the Lord for seeing fit to bless our family again! Amen. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Living Nativity

I spent a day researching fun Christmas activities in our area and my sweet friend Andrea lead me to a list of Living Nativities. Today Annabeth and I drove up to the north side and enjoyed St. Luke UMC's Living Nativity.

It was a beautiful service with sing-along carols, real animals, and lots of children involved in the telling of the story. Annabeth was, shockingly, attentive for the 45 minute service. The church also had set up a Town of Bethlehem and we were able to see a potter, make our own clay ornament, grind spices, watch a woodworker, and more. We were also able to visit with the animals after the service. Annabeth loved it and so did I!

Making her own ornament 

We both especially loved seeing the camels.
They were so soft and this one was such a ham - 
he kept smiling and posing for pictures.

I was so thankful for this was to experience the REAL meaning of Christmas and to help Annabeth enjoy more than presents or Santa. Praise be to God!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Frugal Friday 69

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I trimmed my hair at home. I colored it at home a few weeks ago as well.

- Sunday Mark was getting ready and noticed his belt has become very worn. He and Annabeth had this conversation which made me a proud frugal mama:
Mark: "Oh, my belt is getting very worn. I wish I had thought to ask for a new one for Christmas."
Annabeth: "Daddy, you have one. You don't need another one. You just glue it. 'At will fix it."
That's right Annabeth! Use it until it is completely worn out and then glue it back together some more!

- We hand delivered as many Christmas cards as we could. We saved $15 in postage.

- I made $25.62 on ThredUp and was able to purchase two new shirts with the credit. I still have a little over $3 credit in my account for a future purchase with them.

- I took Annabeth to a FREE Christmas themed storytime at the library where Miss Heather dressed as Mrs. Claus and read the stories and did the craft.

Mrs. Claus, Annabeth, and her friend Julia

- We reached another monthly milestone through Pampers Rewards program. We were able to choose a free prize and I choose to add 200 free points to our account. I love free stuff!

- We shopped a great sale at Walgreens. They had a Buy 2 Toys, Get 2 Toys Free sale. We purchased two toys that we will give as Christmas gifts as well as two toys that we will give as gifts in January and February.

- I finished wrapping all of our Christmas gifts. I used only wrapping paper that we had on hand. Our gifts will not all match under the tree but they are colorful and wrapped!

We are enjoying turning the days on our Advent Calendar as we look forward to celebrating our Savior's Birthday!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, December 8, 2014

ThredUp Review

A few weeks ago, while reading blogs, I found a Mama who uses ThredUp to shop for her children's clothing. She is a mama of 8 and I love reading her advice on how to save money on kids' stuff. I was curious about ThredUp but did not end up looking at their website that day. Then, later in the week, I received a paper coupon for 30% off an order from ThredUp. That sparked my curiosity further and I took a look.

What is ThredUp?

It is an online store for women and kids clothing and accessories. It purchases high quality new and used items from real people, pays them money, and then sells them on the site. You can both buy and sell with them.

I really liked the high quality items and low prices that I saw on the site so I ordered my first "Clean Out Bag." The bag was shipped to me for free, I filled it up, and dropped it off at my local post office with free shipping back to the company. I sent 6 tops and 3 dresses. Then I waited to make money!!

I mailed my bag out on November 20. I received an e-mail on December 2 confirming that they had received it. I am assuming the delay in shipping had to do with the Thanksgiving holiday in the middle.

Within 7 days they had sorted through my items and gave me $25.62 for 8 items!

I chose to receive my payment as store credit (they can also credit your PayPal account) and ordered two new shirts using store credit for the purchase and shipping. I still have $3.61 in my account to spend on something else. I am very frustrated though because I got too excited and forgot to use my 30% off coupon! Ah! How could I have done that?!

How did I decide what to sell?

ThredUp made it SO easy for me to know what they were buying and about how much I would be paid for my items. They have an easy to use Clothing Calculator where you can enter your item such as "GAP - Shirt" and they will tell you a range of how much they will pay or that they do not accept that brand. This saved me the time and effort of sending items that they do not purchase.

I was so excited to find a place to sell some nice shirts and dresses that I have not worn in years but refused to sell for $1 at a garage sale. It felt good to make more money per item.

Next up?

I ordered another Clean Out Bag and plan to go through the sale tote items of Annabeth's. The consignment sale I do has moved their spring sale from the first weekend in April to the end of May. I hope to make some extra money now with her items.

Are you curious now?
Please use my link to check it out (it won't cost you any extra but it can help me make a bit of money if you shop through me!) 

**I was not asked nor compensated, beyond the sale of my clothing, for this review. 
This review contains my own views and opinions** 

Christmas Weekend #1

We enjoyed our first Christmas weekend this past weekend.

On Saturday, we attended our fourth year of Breakfast with Jesus and Santa at our church. Each year, we meet Mark's parents there for a pancake breakfast, visiting with Santa, and admiring Baby Jesus and family. It is a beautiful event put on by our church and all of the money raised goes towards local missions. We love this special tradition with Nana and PawPaw.

Mickey Mouse Pancakes! 

Our Family. 

Annabeth's favorite part was the donkey in the Nativity Scene. 

 Sunday we made the drive to the Louisville area to have Christmas with the Eblings. Rose and I have been best friends since meeting at Camp Lakeview in high school and we have been sharing a special Christmas celebration ever since. It has become increasingly more fun as we have added the kids. Their son SJ is 20 months and our sweet, sweet Godson who we love to spoil! Annabeth has always loved spending time with her Auntie Rose and "helping" Uncle Sean around the house.

Annabeth giving SJ some love.
Last Christmas we have pictures of him hugging her 
and her crying. This year she just loves him to pieces!

Best Friends with our kids who we pray will always be Best Friends. 

We enjoyed spending the weekend with family and are looking forward to getting together with more loved ones in the weeks to come. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Frugal Friday 68

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We did NOT Black Friday shop at the stores. After working retail, I realize how few "deals" are really deals. We have decided that unless one year we need an appliance or large item that is truly discounted on Black Friday we will not go out.

- We did make one Black Friday purchase online. After shopping photo card deals at Shutterfly, Vistaprint, and Walmart and looking at my coupons, I found that the best deal was still to use Sam's Club. Thanksgiving weekend they have 100 cards for $15 and they are ready same day. We don't have a membership but Mark's parents let us borrow theirs. Kristi even went and picked up the cards for us. Thank you!

- I was not planning on doing any Cyber Monday shopping but MudPie was running an AMAZING sale! I was able to save $80+ on a baby gift by combining website sales + a $5 off coupon + FREE shipping! Little Miss Aubree Ellen Love is going to be so stylish! :)

- Last year, our friends the Stairs gave us some plastic play food for Annabeth to use in her shopping cart. She received cloth and wooden food for her birthday this year so we were going to return it. Sarah said they didn't want the food back and just days later a homeschool friend asked where she could get a good deal on play good for her boys. I said, "My house! You can have all of our plastic food. Friends shared it with us so we'll share it with you." We cleaned out and her boys have new toys. We love to share!

- We had some really great coupons this week for the grocery. We got a free loaf of really fancy bread and also had two $2 off an order coupons. We made two different transactions so we could save the $4 in one trip. Saved: $8.99

- I made five homemade ornaments. I spent $10 on all the supplies and think they turned out very well. I will do a post after we give them at Christmas.

- I mended Annabeth's house slippers (they are dragons whose ears often get ripped off) as well as a dress that we will be handing down to her cousin Ava. We try to use everything as long as we can and to try to keep it in the best condition that we can. Also, I love monogrammed items and have been trying to find ones with "A" which we can pass to Ava Rae.

- Annabeth and I attended a Frozen party at our library on Thursday evening. They had lots of special activities, a photobooth, and then they showed the movie. We met up with some friends there which Annabeth really enjoyed. We love FREE fun!

Olaf Photo Booth and Mask - So cute!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend

We are back from our Thanksgiving Weekend away. I would say we are 50% unpacked and the second load (of many which I will finished tomorrow) of laundry is already in the dryer.

We had a wonderful weekend in Evansville/Owensboro with my family.

We drove down Wednesday evening after Mark got off work and headed straight to bed once we got in.

We woke up, watched some of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then made the drive to Owensboro. We shared a turkey luncheon with three of my cousins and their families. We had five of my Momaw's six grandchildren and five of her six (soon to be seven in the next few weeks) great-grandchildren there which was wonderful.  After letting our lunch digest, and naps for a few, we headed back to Evansville for Thanksgiving with the Kuhn/Pitt family. My aunt, uncle, and cousins made a wonderful feast and we enjoyed watching the two little ones, Annabeth and her cousin Charlotte (16 mos) play. By next holiday season we will have more babies which we are all looking forward to :)

The Kids' Table at the Barnard's
Ava, Kaleb, James, Wyatt, and Annabeth 

Great Aunt Jackie and her girls.
They loved eating their Donut Bank cookies with her! 

Some of the ones from Owensboro came to Evansville to see my sister's new house. She is still in the renovation process but is getting closer to moving in. To avoid a long wait at a restaurant, seeing as it was Black Friday, LucyAnne and our cousin Jordan made a run to pick up lunch from Lic's Deli. Yum! We enjoyed an indoor picnic. Then, Mark and I were blessed with a date evening! We enjoyed a sushi dinner and made a few Christmas gift purchases at Target and Kohl's. I wouldn't really call it Black Friday shopping since they were items we had on our lists anyway. Grandmama and Grandpa took Annabeth out to Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights while we were out on our date.

Lu woke up feeling really sick so Dad took her to Immediate Care. Mama, Annabeth, and I enjoyed my cousin Hannah's baby shower. Her baby is due in January and we are looking forward to his or her arrival. Her twin brother and his wife also have a baby due that same week! What fun! After the shower, we all met up at Macy's to return some Christmas gifts that did not fit. Annabeth is now in a 4T in almost all brands! She is growing so quickly. Mama and Dad treated us all to dinner at Zuki Downtown which was wonderful. We headed home where Annabeth and the boys made a bonfire and Mama made homemade Dunkaroos. So good!

We enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning together. We read lots of books and Annabeth enjoyed playing "Captain Hook is coming. HIDE!" with anyone who would join her. We made our goal of leaving by 1:00 their time and were home in time to get settled in this evening before the work/school week begins tomorrow.

We pray you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break as well! We are so thankful for you our readers!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Frugal Friday 67

Happy Frugal Friday!
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

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

- Saturday Annabeth and I went with my Mark's mom to the Sheridan Library Craft Bazzar. This is an event that he aunt helps put on and us girls have been going every year that Mark and I have been married. I reviewed my "to shop for" portion of my Christmas list before going and I did not find anything on my list while there. I managed to walk out the door for $0! This is difficult for me to do at craft shows because I love homemade goods! Annabeth received a baggie of winter toys and a homemade wooden car for FREE because "she is just so cute."

- On the way home, Kristi treated us to lunch at Chilli's. We were able to enjoy the leftovers for dinner that night.

- We decorated for Christmas on Sunday and took our annual Christmas card photo. While it is not usually easy, or very enjoyable, to take our own photos with a timer, it is much more affordable than paying for professional photos. Here are a few outtakes:

Nanners and Mama.
One of the best pictures we have together.  

This is the face she gives us when we say,
"Please, may we have just one nice smile."

- We bought Annabeth some kid smoothies that our friends the Gomez Family got her hooked on. She decided that she doesn't like the new strawberry flavor. We took the rest of the box to the Gomez Girls to enjoy instead of wasting them. Julia was SO happy!

We are so thankful for all of you dear readers! We pray you have had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas Card Photoshoot

Our tree and decorations went up yesterday afternoon.

A little early, yes, but the next few weeks are going to be hectic. I love all of our special Christmas decorations and I hated to not have them put up until the weekend of Dec. 13th. Also, as Annabeth is three this year, it is the first year that she seems to really understand all of the excitement that is coming.

This is the first year in two years that we have braved putting ornaments on the tree. When she was one and two, we simply decorated with candy canes because I feared our ornaments being broken. This year, she helped decorate, we have only hung paper, plastic, and wooden ornaments so hopefully we will not have any broken.

Once everything was on the tree, we caught her on the stool, just staring in amazement at our beautiful tree. I think Christmas is beautiful for most everyone but it is especially special when seen through the eyes of a child.

Our other Decorating Day tradition is to take our annual Christmas card photo in front of the tree. Here are some individual shots of Annabeth and an outtake of our family.

I love this face and was so happy that Mark captured it! 


"May we please have one nice smile?"
This what we get, every time.  

Annabeth: "Let's make the ghost face!"
She saw a ghost decoration around Halloween that looks
like this and she loves to make this face!

We are happy to be decorated and we are thrilled that we finally got a decent family photo but most of all we are anxiously awaiting Jesus' birthday! We cannot wait to remember and celebrate the birth of our King. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Frugal Friday 66

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I ordered my first "Clean Out" bag from ThredUp. I worked on cleaning out my closet and am looking forward to seeing out how much money I make. I will do a full post later with a full review of ThredUp but if you want to check it out now click here

- One of the items that Mark traded for last week was a new gun. It needed some work and instead of paying a gunsmith to work on it, he has been repairing it himself. For the tasks he wasn't sure about he used tutorials on the internet. He loves to repurpose and to repair items.

- With the weather turning very cold and snow in the air, we have been spending more and more time at home. Annabeth enjoyed making lots of art projects with items we had on hand including some fun hand print animal paintings.

The green hand print butterfly was a school project this week
(and yes it has a sad face)
The red owl was a Pinterest find.

- Annabeth developed her first canker sore this week. Instead of buying medicine we used a home remedy of applying baking soda to the sore. It seemed to relieve the pain quickly and made it go away within 24 hours..

- After about a week stuck at home due to sickness, I took Annabeth out to lunch at Pizza King Station. We can eat for under $10 with a tip there because of their awesome lunch specials! I was excited on this trip because somehow an order of chicken bites was run into our order on accident and they gave them to us for FREE! Mark enjoyed all of the leftovers later for a late lunch.

We have been enjoying lots of good books and games at home.

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Monday, November 17, 2014

"This is SO much fun!"

"This is SO much fun!"

Annabeth has been chanting this all morning as we have been enjoying the first real snow of the season! We had some snow and sleet on Halloween but not enough to get out and really play in.

The snow started yesterday afternoon and Annabeth stood post at the back door waiting for there to be enough to play in. The ground must have been pretty warm because by dusk we still did not have much on the ground. When we woke up this morning though we had 2-3 inches - just enough for a three year old to play in!

She does not remember the 12+ inches that we had a couple of times last winter and thinks that this amount of snow is "stupendous!"

I held her off until about 9 this morning and then we headed out for an hour or so. Then she decided she was too cold and was ready to bake cookies. My mama, my sister, and I always baked cookies the first snow of the year growing up and I am more than happy to share this tradition with her.

She said her favorite pink ball "had" to come outside with us 

Her Sage flower in the snow 

Tasting the world and making snow angels 

Snow Girls.
School can wait until afternoon on snow days! :) 

She helped me set out the cookies 
We cheated with some Pillsbury cookie dough 

Happy Snow Day to All! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Frugal Friday 65

Happy Frugal Friday!
Just three months until my birthday - for those also counting down! :)

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

- Annabeth and I shopped Kohl's to finish shopping for the kids in our family. I had a $10 off $25 purchase. I was able to get 1 book, 4 kids' clothing items, and 1 adult shirt for $17. Off original prices I saved: $80.20!

- I finished up two photo projects for Christmas gifts on Shutterfly. I used a Pampers Rewards Code and a Shutterfly website discount. I paid for both items + shipping for around $15. Saved: $50.37!!

- Mark made a huge batch of beans and cornbread for Sunday dinner. We decided to invited Luke and Cassidy over for dinner too. Cassidy came by when she got off work and took some to Luke for when he got off work. I love having her over - I am really blessed that Mark's brothers married such lovely ladies to be my sisters-in-law and friends!!

- We made Annabeth a rice tray to practice drawing her shapes and writing her letters. This week in homeschool I began really teaching handwriting beginning with the letter "A." We used a cookie sheet and rice we had on hand. I will bag and reuse the rice for the rest of the school year.

- Annabeth and I attended a Mommy and Me art class at The Art of Kira Studios taught by our friend Alysha. We had so much fun and made two really cute snowman crafts. I will enjoy decorating with them for years to come. The class did cost $15 but that covered supplies, snacks, and they cleaned-up so it was well worth it for an evening of fun!

Our finished snowman cans.
I let go of having the "perfect" craft and let her make her own. 

I love best-friend dates with Nanners. 

- Alysha and her two little ones invited us to lunch after gymnastics. We took advantage of Kids Eat Free at Chillis and saved: $4.99

- Mark traded two items (one at a store and one with a friend) for two new-to-him items that he had been wanting. We love to trade and barter!

 - Our homeschool group took a field trip to the Kid's Commons in Columbus, IN. For $3/child, the group enjoyed a class on Habitats as well as free reign of the museum after. It was great fun at a great price!

Exploring the museum.
I LOVE this outfit. :) 

- On the way home from Columbus, Annabeth and I stopped at the outlet mall because we had $15 in Stride Rite coupons. She has all of the shoes she needs right now (tennis shoes, church shoes, and boots) so I used the coupon to shop ahead a size in tennis shoes. She really wanted the Frozen shoes but they were $50+ AND she didn't even like the movie. Luckily the saleslady was giving out Frozen stickers so we took a free sticker and found aqua-purple tennis shoes that I told her looked just like Elsa and Anna shoes. She happily agreed to those. With our coupons and store sale we saved: $24.01

Total Saved: $149.57

We have had a busy, wonderful week! We are looking to a girls' day on Saturday while Mark heads out to hunt. We're praying for a deer to restock our freezer for the winter.

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our "Taste Tested" Pinterest Board

Want to know what we have been baking and cooking lately?

Check out our Pinterest Board Taste Tested.

*These are all of the recipes that we liked. Any that I had pinned that we did not care for I do not pin on this board.

Happy baking and cooking! :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Frugal Friday 64

Happy November Frugal Friday!

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

- We visited my family and I took a bag of clothes for my sister. She gave me two soup bowls and my Mama gave me a serving dish.

- Mark and Annabeth enjoyed Sunday afternoon at the lake with my dad. They did some fishing, went out on the boat, and Annabeth even kissed a fish! We love nature fun!

Yes she wears a life jacket on the dock!
Water safety is important! 

- I redeemed a giftcard from surveys and spent just $2.67 on a baby shower gift for later this month.

- We had an issue with our smoke detectors and needed to replace the batteries in all of them. Walgreens had the batteries we needed on sale for $3 off/pack + we had a $.50 coupon from the paper. Saved: $6.50

- I combined a store sale and a giftcard to get a $35 value birthday gift for FREE!!

- I did some consignment store shopping and found two pairs of pants and three shirts for just $25.

- We had a pound of apples leftover from an apple stamping project. We made 4 batches of apple bread. We had some for dinner and some we will shared some with friends who just had a new baby.

- I ordered Mark and Annabeth's ornaments from Etsy. I found shops that offered free shipping so I saved the price of shipping while supporting small businesses.

We hope you all had a good week and that you are keeping warm in the first cold week of November!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Costumes 2014

This Halloween was Annabeth's 4th Halloween.

Her first Halloween she was not even a month old. She had received two costumes as baby gifts - a lamb costume from my friend Nicole and a cow costume from our friends Miss Charlotte and Rosie.
Just a few weeks old, our baby cow

Her second Halloween was costumeless. :( I had found an adorable outfit on Carter's clearance well after Halloween and paid just $4 for a special candy themed outfit. I loved it so much I couldn't bear the thought of her changing out of it into a costume.

Her shirt says, Candy Makes Me Happy 

Last year was her third Halloween and it happened to fall on the same night as our Mommy and Me dance class. I dressed her in her red, white, and blue leotard and called her a "Future Olympian." She did have quite a few fun and frugal outfits leading up to the big day though!

Then, last Novemeber, the three of us were at the mall and Gymboree had one costume in their store - an internet return. It was her size. It had a tutu. It was deeply discounted. I NEEDED it. And so her costume was purchased.

Her Auntie Rose brought a Sofia dress as a gift for her dance recital and Nana and PawPaw gave her a Minnie Mouse costume for her birthday and so she had THREE costumes this year!

She enjoyed wearing her Sofia costume to our library's Halloween program and trick-or-treat.

"Sofia the First" playing puppets at the library

I found a cute Mickey sweater and Mickey ears and we went as Mickey and Minnie to a friend's Halloween party as well as our Homeschool Group Fall party.

Minnie and Mickey 

Her original costume was used for Halloween cards and for the big day -- her first time trick-or-treating! She loved the tutu and the tail. I think she looked just adorable! :)

Our little ballerina giraffe 
Cute Hello Kitty bucket from Matt and Jenn + K.E.N. 

We hope you all had a safe and Happy Halloween!