Friday, February 28, 2014

Frugal Friday 28

Happy Frugal Friday #28 on the 28th!

The extremely cold weather has returned here in Indiana! I dream of visiting you readers down south - any Floridians want a visitor? Let me know!!

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

- We caught Round Two of the "Death Flu" and so we were home for three days without eating. We saved 9 meals worth of groceries by surviving on sprite and crackers. :(

- In the wake of the "Death Flu" storm our living room rug got (I'll say it nicely) messy. It was a shaggy carpet kind of rug and we knew from previous spills that carpet cleaners don't work. We planned to have it dry cleaned instead of purchasing a new one. Much to our surprise it was going to be $300!!! to dry clean our $70 rug from Big Lots. We decided to just purchase a new one.* Spent: $40 Saved: $260

- We did make an end of the month grocery trip and were able to save $.41 on Mark's favorite oatmeal just by buying it at a different store than we usually use. Saved: $3.69

- I colored my hair at home. Saved: $50

- By being so sick we did not spend any money on eating out, gas, or shopping.

*I realize that it may not seem frugal to throw out a rug but because we were not able to clean it properly we did not feel that it was sanitary to bring back into the home. Also, we have laminate floors over a concrete slab and sitting on the floor is very cold. For us, it was worth the $40 so Annabeth would have a warm, soft place to play. She LOVES the new rug and is running circles and flipping on it all the time*

Total Saved: $313.69

How do you survive the flu? Would you have purchased a new rug too?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Friday, February 21, 2014

Frugal Friday 27

Happy #27!

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

- I won an online contest through Lollacup - our favorite drinkware for Annabeth! They had a link on their facebook page to give a customer feedback survey and picked 4 winners. I was one of the four!!! I won a new lollacup, straw replacement pack, and meal kit! A $50 value!

- By combining sales, paper coupons, and online coupons we saved $26.66 on our grocery tab. We were able to get FREE: 1 dozen eggs and 1 bag of frozen veggies!

- Annabeth and I enjoyed a day at the mall. I had to exchange a birthday gift and was able to get a new shirt for free! We also enjoyed lunch at Starbucks for free thanks to a giftcard. Saved: $17.45

- I redeemed Swagbucks for an Amazon giftcard and used it to help purchase a birthday gift. Saved: $5.00

Total Saved: $99.11

What have you been doing to save money this week?
What are your favorite places to receive giftcards to?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I am 27 years old.

I had a great week celebrating my birthday. Here is what we did:

Saturday, February 8:
We spent the day at the Johnson County Museum as a family. Mark and Annabeth surprised me with lunch at Bucca di Beppo. It is one of my favorite restaurants!

Sunday, February 9:
We went to church at Trinity so that Mark could celebrate Scout Sunday with the troop he helps lead. Brian, Kristi, Luke, and Cassidy took us out to lunch at Qudoba for my birthday. Later we celebrated at their house with a double-decker cookie cake and presents.

1st Birthday Wishes of the Year

Wednesday, February 12:
Our friends Sarah and Bella came up for a free Gymboree class at the library. They took us out to lunch at the Pizza King Station. It was so fun to watch the girls enjoy the trains delivering drinks and condiments.

Friday, February 14: THE DAY! HAPPY 27th to ME!
Mark served a search warrant in the morning so I spent my morning worrying and praying until I heard that he and his team were safe. Annabeth and I also did laundry and packed for a weekend in Evansville. Mark came home for lunch and we opened our Valentine's and my birthday. We gave Annabeth a Doc McStuffin's doctor kit and they gave me two new Columbia fleeces. We then made the drive to Evansville in very snowy conditions. The drive is usually 3 hrs 15 minutes but it was over 5.5 hours! Whew! The good thing was it made my birthday feel very long! :) We had a wonderful lasagna dinner with my family. They also had a Hello Kitty Cookie Cake from my favorite cookie place. I was so excited I squealed like a little girl when I opened the box!

 Opening Valentines at our house

 My Hello Kitty Cookie Cake

The Riley Three.
I could not wish for a better family! I love them so very much. 

Monday, February 17:
Before driving home from Evansville, we drove to Owensboro to visit with my Momaw. We also met my Uncle Lance for lunch at my favorite deli there. Momaw gave me wonderful birthday presents and I also got bread, chicken salad, and cookies to bring home.

It was such a wonderful birthday week and I felt so blessed to spend so much time with people that I love! God is so good!

I pray that in this coming year I will serve the Lord and His people with a joyful and loving heart. May I use 27 to share His light with this dark and hurting world. May I let Him use me how He sees fit. Amen.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fun and Frugal Valentine's Outfits

You know that I love themed outfits and because Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday AND my birthday! Annabeth had a whole week of outfits:

Outfit #1:
Worn to celebrate Valentine's Day/My Birthday with Mark's Family:

Pink Tights: Carter's - gift from Nana and PawPaw
Pink Shirt: Jumping Beans - Kohl's Clearance $2
Gray jumper with hearts: Carter's - hand-me-down from her cousins
Bow: Gymboree - refashioned from a headband, $.99
Total: $2.99 

Outfit #2:

Jeans: Faded Glory - garage sale $.50
White Shirt: Oshkosh - gift from Nana and PawPaw
Red Sweatshirt with heart pockets: Gymboree - clearance for $2.49
Red Bow: Gymboree - clearance for $.49
Total: $3.48

Outfit #3
Cute and comfy for a Gymboree class and playdate with her Bestie

Jean Skirt: Jumping Beans - hand-me-down from her cousins
J'Adore Heart Shirt: Gymboree clearance for $2.99
Pink Knitted Bow: Fair trade - gift from her Great Great Aunt Katie
Total: $2.99

Outfit #4: 

 White Leggings: Children's Place - gift from Nana and PawPaw
Blue Jewel Tutu: Children's Place - purchased at Once Upon a Child $4.50
Love Shirt: Carter's - Hand-me-down from her cousins
Red Headband: Claire's - gift from Grandmama and Grandpa
Total: $4.50

Outfit #5

 Heart Leg Warmers: Gift from my friend Jay, worn all three of her Valentine's Days
Pink Dance Outfit: Purchased at as consignment sale $4.00
Total: $4.00

Outfit #6

Shoe Socks: Target - gift from Auntie Rose
Pink Heart Leggings: Baby GAP - gift from Grandmama
Purple Love Dress: Children's Place - clearance $1.99
Total: $1.99

Total out of pocket for Valentine's Day items: $7.47!!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Frugal Friday 26

Happy Valentine's Day!

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

- On Friday a huge box came in our mail. It made the perfect box to do her afternoon school in. She loved coloring and doing sticker work!

Color and sticker fun in her BIG box!

- The three of us enjoyed a few hours at our local museum, The Johnson County Museum. Annabeth loved playing dress up in the pioneer clothing and with the train table. Hours of fun for only $2.

O Pioneer! 

- Babies R Us ran a sale on Annabeth's favorite push-up style snacks. We purchased all they had - 30 pouches. Saved: $26.70

- As a Kohl's Reward Club member I received a $5 gift certificate for my birthday. I found a pair of Mickey Mouse pajamas for Annabeth for next winter. They were on clearance + my $5 gift certificate + a 15% off coupon. Saved: $26.60

- I enjoyed my FREE birthday drink from Starbucks! That is my favorite part of having a registered gift card! Happy Birthday to me! Saved: $4.81

- We enjoyed a FREE Gymboree class at our local library. We invited up our friends Sarah and Bella to join us and the girls loved it!

Making a snowman mask at the end of Gymboree

- We played clean out the pantry/fridge/freezer. We were able to use up all of our bread, milk, bagels, and even a lot of cans in the pantry. We like to do this every few months to make sure we are really using all that we purchase.

Total Saved: $58.11

What have you been doing to save money? What free/affordable things does your family do on the weekend?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!" 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sweet Beet Cookies!

Last Novemeber, we realized that Annabeth is allergic to peanuts. We had followed our doctor's advice and had not given her any nuts or nut butters until she was 2. We gave her a piece of a Reeses at her 2 year well visit and she did not have a reaction so we knew that even if she did have a peanut allergy it was not going to be extremely severe. But, when we spread peanut butter on a bagel and gave it to her for breakfast, she broke out in horrible hives across her face and down her neck, chest, and arms/hands. Thankfully Benadryl cleared the hives after two doses. We are not going to give her any more nuts until she is 3 and then we will see if she has outgrown the allergy or if we need to see an allergist.

Since then, we have been very careful with the foods she eats since each exposure can potentially make the allergy much more severe. One of the things our doctor said to avoid was all restaurant desserts because while they may not have peanuts on the ingredients list they were most like processed on the same machinery. We also have to be very careful about prepackaged snacks. SO we have been making our desserts and snacks at home. It's been a fun challenge to make new desserts and to try to make healthy snacks for her as well.

This week I received a food processor for my birthday from Mark's parents! We were so excited! Mark opened it and and began chopping anything he could find in the fridge. He made a lovely "carrot soup" the first night! :)

My first adventure with the processor was to make these Sweet Beet Cookies I found on Pinterest.
These cookies were a great find as they are dairy, egg, and peanut free! Annabeth and all of her cousins can eat them!

Pouring the shredded beets from my FOOD PROCESSOR into the flour mix!
It was so much easier to use the machine! 

 Cookies cut out into one star and the rest hearts.
I love the pretty beet red for Valentine's Week

Baked Sweet Beet Heart Cookie - Yum!

Not ones to waste anything we threw the greens from the beets out to the little
rabbit that comes to visit our yard. Enjoy Bunny Rabbit! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Encouragement from a Stranger and Sign

Today, Annabeth and I had to drive to Mark's parents to pick up our camera and other items we had left there over the weekend. It is about 45 minutes each way so by the time we were on our way home, Annabeth was getting a bit frustrated. She was throwing things and yelling at me. But we had to stop at Walmart for our medications and groceries. Our sweet Pharmacy Tech Jodee offered me a dumdum sucker for Annabeth and for the first time I gave in and let her have it. The sucker made her SO happy and I was able to get our shopping done with a happy toddler.

As I took the groceries out to the car I realized I really needed to go to the bathroom and didn't want to wait the 20 minute drive home. Annabeth was not happy about having to go back in the store and kept yelling "Home! Home!" as we walked back in. Then, as soon as we entered the bathroom stall she dropped her sucker on the floor. I quickly snatched it up and put it in the trash. "Oh no! Candy! Candy! Mama! Oh no!" I explained, "Well, that fell on the floor and we do not eat off the floor. Especially not bathroom floors." "CANDY!!!" I repeated my explanation. She yelled "CANDY!" I tried to distract her by reviewing what we bought at the store and looking for colors around us. I tried to be patient and to speak kindly even though I was ready to lose my mind! 

We came out of the stall and a woman was standing there. She said this to me:
"I am not a mom yet, I will be. My husband and I would love to be. I just want to say that I really admire the way that you handled that. You were so patient and you spoke so kindly. I hope I am able to do that with my children."

I blushed. I mumbled "Thank You" and silently said a prayer of thanks to the Lord. That patience, that kindness came only from Him. He gives me the strength to be the Mama I want to be. 

I was so thankful for that woman and her willingness to spend a moment with me, to encourage me more than she will ever know. I am thankful that the Lord used me for a moment to encourage her.

On the way home we passed a sign that said,

Attitudes are contagious.
Is yours worth catching?

I thought about it all the way home: Is my attitude worth catching? Today, in a Walmart bathroom for a moment it was. But it is not always. I am too impatient. I am quick to overreact. I am quick to snap at people. I am quick to judge. I am quick to complain. I am slow to compliment, to be patient, to take the little moments to encourage others.

My goal this week, and from here on out, with God's help is to have an attitude that is pleasing to the Lord and one worth catching. 

Napless Naptimes

Annabeth has never been a good sleeper. Even as a newborn she would sleep less than 12 hours a day. As a toddler she sleeps even less!! While family and friends talk about what all they are able to get done around the house while their children nap, I just spend "naptime" praying that Annabeth doesn't destroy too many things!

A few weeks ago, Annabeth's Uncle Luke gave her a new Tiana storybook. We read it before naptime and she asked so sweetly to take it to bed. I put her down, went out to get the mail, and came back in to hear pages ripping. I went into her room to find the book destroyed (in two minutes!) and her laughing wildly.

What a mess!  

 Wild laughter! 

Friday, Annabeth earned a maraca at the library as part of the Winter Reading Program. Again, she asked to take it to naptime. It was made of good plastic and I thought perhaps it would keep her from shaking her bed apart like earlier this week. I went in to check on her several times, all was well, she was jumping in her bed shaking the maraca not napping but happy. However, at the end of the hour I found the maraca in pieces on the floor. Chewed into tiny pieces.

How is this even possible?! 
How did her tiny teeth do this?!

What does your child do during naptime?

Friday, February 7, 2014




This has been the coldest, snowiest winter in all of our memories. During the first big snow we had, temperatures stayed warm enough that it was safe to play outside. However, the snows since then have been followed by multiple sub-zero degree days. Although Annabeth loves the snow, or "nose!" as she calls it, she does not like keeping covered thus it has not been safe to take her out to play in the very cold temperatures.

Another seven inches of snow came Tuesday night and then yesterday it stayed warm enough to play outside. I checked the temperatures and then had this conversation with Annabeth:

Me: "What do you want to do today?"
Annabeth: "Watch Mickey Mouse."
Me: "Would you like to play outside?"
Annabeth: "OUTSIDE?! NOSE!!!" Wild cheering!

So, we bundled up and enjoyed a morning out hiking our neighborhood as more, fluffy snow fell.

In front of our house. 

Even in the snow she was posing with her accessories.
Snow Boots: $4.00 at a consignment store
Purple Snow Suit: Hand-me-down from a family at Mark's work.
Pink Coat: A gift from Mark to Annabeth
Puffy Ski Gloves: Purchased at Kohl's with Kohl's Cash
Hello Kitty Hat and Scarf: A gift from Uncle Luke and Auntie Cassidy
Heart Sunglasses: $.99 at Children's Place last summer
Dressing warmly doesn't have to be expensive! 

Snow Girls!

Happy Snow Days Off School to our school going friends 
Happy Homeschool Snow Days (twice the fun days!) to our Homeschooling friends!

Frugal Friday 25

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Annabeth and I took our 3rd annual Christmas-Clearance-Mall-Trip. Each year we take $25 to the mall and see what all we can get for next fall/winter/Christmas by combining coupons and sales. This year we were able to get her 5 shirts, 4 pairs of leggings, 1 Hello Kitty outfit, AND three shirts for my Godson's birthday and Christmas gifts this year. Saved: $107.45!!

*We generally purchase used clothing both for Annabeth and myself. However, I like to have holiday outfits for each season and they are easy to find on mall clearance this time of year. Also, I grew up in a combination of hand-me-downs and new and I always really appreciated the new outfits that were given to me. We want Annabeth to have and appreciate both as well*

- My best friend gave us some leftover Hello Kitty fleece material from her Christmas projects. It wasn't quite large enough for a full size baby blanket so I made a tie-blanket for Annabeth's dolls. She has ended up enjoying it as a lap blanket as well. Thank you Rose!

My first attempt at a tie blanket. It was as easy as everyone said! 

Annabeth with her new lap blanket. 
She loves to watch her morning video cuddled up with it.

- My friend Sarah texted me about a deal on for people new to the site to get $10 off/free shipping on first box of diapers. There was also an extra $1.50 coupon. This ended up being enough diapers for the next month for less than $40.00! Saved: $11.50

- Annabeth and I signed up for the Winter Reading Program at our local library. We earn points for visiting the library and have a Bingo card to check off extra items such as - do a puzzle, go to story time, or check out more than 5 books. So far Annabeth has earned a free flashlight and dress up necklace!

- We did a 4 item trip to the grocery to replenish weekly items. We also were able to score a great deal on our dishwasher detergent - Cascade Platinum Packs (with the hard water here we had to do some testing to see what actually cleaned our dishes). By combing a store sale + online coupon + paper coupon we were able to get a one month supply for $1.39! Saved: $2.60

- I took Annabeth to a FREE Hop & Bop Dance Class at our library.

Total Saved: $121.55

What have you been doing to save money this week? How do you use up extra material?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, February 3, 2014

May we all Wait Expectantly for Jesus: Anna in the Bible

We named Annabeth Sage after beloved family and friends however, we also loved the story of Anna in the Bible.

This week our pastor's sermon* was about Simeon and Anna and their wait to meet Jesus. What a great reminder of how to live a life of faith:

"When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” ... 36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[d] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."
Luke 22: 22-24 and 36-38 (source NIV - New International Version)

Until she was 84 years old, Biblical Anna had waited at the temple, worshipping night and day, fasting and praying until she was able to see Jesus face to face. Face to Face. She was able to speak to Joseph, Mary, and Jesus about "all who were looking forward to the redemption of Isreal." What a powerful place in history she held. What an amazing faith she had.

Although I love the Lord, I do not find myself worshipping or praying night and day. I do not even find myself doing this half of each day. 

I pray that I, that all of us, would be more like Biblical Anna. That we would spend our time doing worthy things such as worshipping, praying, and serving our precious Lord and Savior and His people, all people. Amen. 

*If you live in the Indianapolis area and are looking for a home church or a church to visit, we invite you to ours! Christ United Methodist - Indianapolis