Friday, May 30, 2014

Frugal Friday 41

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- As we made our drive to Evansville, Mark and I enjoyed a Dave Ramsey podcast and had  great discussion about our financial goals for the next few years.

- We enjoyed our anniversary dinner and date night by using money from our parents. We had a sushi dinner, walked the mall, and shopped at Fresh Market.

Before heading out to celebrate our anniversary 

- Annabeth had outgrown a bag of clothes we had been given by her friend India. We returned the bag and India had two more for Annabeth! We were blessed with lots of dresses for this summer and shirts for the fall.

- We made our annual Memorial Day Weekend shopping trip to the Lynnville Coal Mine Museum garage sale. After making a small donation we took home three new Christmas decorations and two kites. Mama found some neat tea cups for a friend and some dishes for LucyAnne.

- Our family has sold my grandparents old house so we are in the midst of the monumental task of sorting and dividing everything. We received a new table, china cabinet, and sewing room organizer. I also acquired quite a bit of stationary supplies, some fabric to craft and decorate with, and wrapping paper supplies.

Grandma Chico's sewing kit all organized with my supplies.
What a great inheritance!

We enjoyed a busy week getting the house put back together after a busy spring season and worked on getting things ready for the next few busy weeks with the SD Rileys and Luke and Cassidy's wedding!

What have you been doing to save money?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeschool Room Makeover

After months of planning we have finally completed our homeschool room makeover!

Before Pictures:

The School Side
It was a sunroom with some homeschool storage in one corner 

The Craft Room Side
I had let things REALLY get out of control!!

After Photos:

Our Craft Room/Sunroom/School Room

The School Side
It now has Annabeth's bookshelf, table and chairs, and supplies hidden in the corner

A painting from my Grandma and Grandpa Chico's house
Someone suggested we might need this pioneer school room photo for our school room
They were right!

The Craft Room Side
It took an entire morning to go through everything and get it sorted again
I can finally find everything!

 Another piece from Grandma Chico's house
I can store many of my fabric craft supplies here.
A great use for her sewing kit.

I am SO happy that our room is finished and in great shape! Now I just hope we can keep it neat and tidy until we start school again in August! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our 5th Anniversary

Today is our 5th Wedding Anniversary!

We are so blessed to have shared these past five years of Christian marriage. We thank and praise the Lord for bringing us together and keeping us together.

Today I thought I would share a few pictures as well as our wedding verses.

All photos are from Michelle Forche, our photographer, who captured the day beautifully.
If you are looking for a photographer in the Evansville area we encourage you to visit her site:
Memories by Michelle

My Handsome Groom  

I was so excited to see Mark!

Praying for our future. 

Our first moment as Mr. and Mrs. Riley 

We selected verses that are about love, both our love for the Lord and His people as well as the Lord's love for us. Our reader was my college roommate and dear friend, Leah.

Our first reading was a reminder to ourselves and our guests of the way to live. The words contained our goals for our marriage: love, honor, work hard, serve the Lord, pray, practice hospitality, and live in peace. We really enjoyed the simplicity of these words of life instruction from the book of Romans:

"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord ethusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and always keep praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone." - Romans 12:9-18

Our second reading was another set of helpful reminders for living as God's people. We really wanted to instill in our hearts the Lord's desire for us to be merciful, kind, gentle, and patient:

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves in love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body we are called to live in peace. Always be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15

We are so thankful for all of you, for beginning the blog journey with us as a couple preparing for marriage. We intended to use this blog to share our wedding plans with friends and family across the country and by the Grace of God it has become so much more. We have loved these first five years of marriage and we look forward to a lifetime together!

Other Wedding/Anniversary Posts:
- Celebrating One Month of Marriage
- Celebrating One Year of Marriage

Frugal Friday 40

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We received a survey code for 50 extra fuel points on our Kroger receipt. We were able to save $.10 off our gas this week.

- We had lunch at the new Moe's Southwest Grill. We had a bit of miscommunication at check-out and they didn't scan our coupon. In turn we got a free chips, queso, and a cookie! We got more free than we would have with the coupon!
**We are huge fans of Moe's as it is Peanut and MSG Free! Thus it is safe for Annabeth and myself. Also, we love that ALL of their meat is hormone free and they use organic tofu. Thank you Moe's!**

- On our can of cinnamon rolls was a Box Top for Education which we saved for my best friend who is a teacher. There was also a code for Feeding America. We entered the code online and were able to provide 5 meals for a local food bank. Checking our boxes of name brand goods, which we do not buy a great deal of, usually provide one or both of these codes. We love taking a few seconds to help others.

- Last month I received two $5.01 off coupons at Once Upon a Child. Sarah, Bella, Annabeth, and I headed up there last week. I was able to get Annabeth two shirts for FREE!

- We passed along a skirt and its matching shorts/leggings as well as a dance outfit to Bella. It is SO nice to pass as we outgrow! I cannot stand having extra things around the house.

- We ate our meals at home this week and played "Clean out the pantry" to make sure we are really using what we purchase at the store each quarter.

- Annabeth enjoyed some fun at Nana and Popi's house. She LOVED playing in their sprinkler.

Spring has sprung!

- We made homemade cards for quite a few friends who have just announced pregnancies. We are looking forward to a fall/early winter full of babies to spoil!

What have you been doing to enjoy spring lately?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Kids Against Hunger at CUMC

Last night our family had the opportunity to work for Kids Against Hunger at our church.

Our church had set a financial goal of raising enough money to purchase 33,000 meals and then a volunteer goal of packaging those 33,000 meals. By the end of the night, our family worked 5-9 pm, our church had assembled more than 25,000 meals (we ran out of supplies at the end and had to end before we reached our number goal).

It was a really neat process to put together the meals. Each team consisted of 10 members - 4 food scoopers, 2 bag holders, 2 weighers, 1 sealer, and 1 boxer. Each bag received a certain amount of 4 scoops of vitamin powder, dried veggies, soy powder, and white rice. Each bag was to weigh 13.8 oz and feeds 6 people a meal (220 calories/serving). A portion of our meals will stay here in the Indianapolis area and another portion will be sent to Guatemala.

We really enjoyed working on this mission project and Annabeth outlasted most of the children as she worked on stacking and counting the bags and "helping" to load the boxes.

Us girls working the weigh station
(The hairnets were required)

Mark and I both grew up helping our families serve at our churches. Mark also learned so many valuable skills through his years in Boy Scouts as well as youth group and volunteering at Camp Lakeview. I also gained many skills through 4H, youth group (especially volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, and volunteering at Lakeview. We really hope to bring Annabeth along to everything that we do. We want her to learn as many practical skills as she can and we also desire her servant's heart to grow. We pray that our family will continue to serve the Lord in any, and every, way He sees fit to use us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Spring Sprinkler Fun

Yesterday Mark worked 2 am - 11 am so we headed to his parents for Tuesday evening dinner quite early. Annabeth had a lot of fun playing in their yard and looking at all of their birds and flowers. She and Mark got the hose out to water so Brian and Kristi would not have to when they got off work. Of course watering the plants turned into a lot of sprinkler fun for Annabeth!

Hello 80+ degree weather! 

Our Girl, Happy it is Spring!

Happy Spring to all of you! We hope you all are enjoying the warmer weather as well! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Frugal Friday 39

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I placed an order with Shutterfly. I had a coupon for a free photo book and my friend Cindy sent me a coupon for a free sheet of address labels. I also had a $20 off $20 purchase so I made three gifts we will give this summer. Saved: $53.98

- Instead of going out to eat or purchasing special food for Mother's Day we enjoyed leftovers at Brian and Kristi's from Cassidy's bridal shower the day before. Kristi and I had purchased quite a bit of food that was not eaten at the party and it was nice to be able to enjoy party food two days in a row!

- Mark and Annabeth surprised me with a real jade necklace and earrings for Mother's Day. Mark reported that they saved 40% by talking down the salesman and saying "Please." :) Some mamas might be offended but I was just proud!

- We gifted our moms and my Momaw with homemade photo gifts. We worked hard to find good deals on printing photos as well as the frames. We think that we made very nice, meaningful gifts without spending a fortune.

Annabeth helping Nana open her Mother's/Nana's Day gift

- I realized our calendar was open this whole week, so I decided to really dive into potty-training with Annabeth. We enjoyed the week at home and by wearing diapers only in the car and at bedtime we saved around 30-40 diapers*

Her first day in cloth diapers - 11.09.11

- I was blessed with FREE Starbucks as the car in front of me paid for my drink. Saved: $5.13

- As we have been able to do each year we have been married, we paid our car insurance in full for the upcoming year (our year starts each June 18). Saved: $150.00

Total Saved: $209.11

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

*From the time Annabeth was 1 month to 23 months old we used cloth diapers. However when our washer broke last fall, we did the laundry at Mark's parents and I washed the diapers on the incorrect cycle and shredded them. As Annabeth was almost two, I thought potty training would be complete in those next few months and decided to just buy diapers for a few months as that would be less than rebuying cloth diapers. More than 6 months later, we are still buying diapers! If I would have known how long it would be, I may have bite the bullet and purchased cloth diapers again as we could have at least sold them at the end of potty training. Oh well, we live and learn*

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday, Annabeth and I celebrated and enjoyed our 4th Mother's Day.
(Yes, we celebrated the year I was expecting)

I woke up to Annabeth and Mark's gift for me: a beautiful, real jade necklace and earring set! I have loved jade and wished for real jade since a trip to Chinatown, San Fransisco in 2008 and this year my family made it happen! It is so beautiful and I am so blessed that they remembered something I had asked for.

Mark got called out to a rather serious scene around 9:00 so I anticipated spending the day just with Annabeth. We showered and headed to church.

Since Mark was gone, I tried to take one of us girls by myself.
There were a ton of not-so-desirable ones but then I found this one.
I realize it's not centered but I love us laughing. 

After church, we ran over to Mark's parents for lunch and to give Nana her Mother's Day gift. Mark ended up being able to come around 2:00 so we spent a lovely afternoon in the backyard planting roses and enjoying the sunshine!

Annabeth was pretty tired and grumpy so we left around 6:00 and she fell asleep in the way home - A Mother's Day Miracle! When we got home, I carried her in and sat in Mark's chair. She stayed asleep so I received the most precious gift, being able to hold my sleeping baby in my arms.

Thank you Sweet Nanners for this perfect half hour of holding you and staring. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamas - Mamas with babies here on earth, Mamas with babies in heaven, Mama with babies both places, and Mamas who are still waiting for their babies. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you seek to do His Will.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Last Day of 2013-2014 School Year

We made it! Today is our last official day of homeschool for the year!

In this last week of school, Mark and Annabeth refinished her new school table. We were able to do some rearranging of the school room just in time for summer crafts!

Before Picture.
Our school room has been my craft room/sunroom/homeschool storage.

After Picture.
We are slowly moving our things out so that she
can have a full-fledged school room. 

Annabeth posed in the same outfit and same place for her last day of school picture as her first day of school picture.
Our Little Bit is getting taller and taller each day!

Last Day of School Questionnaire:

Annabeth knows her letters A-Z and numbers 1-20!
Annabeth knows how to say "Please," "Thank You," and "No Thank You."
Annabeth knows how to tell the difference between letters and numbers.
Annabeth knows the letter sounds.

But most importantly,
Annabeth knows how to share the Gospel. She can tell you that Jesus died on the cross, was raised from the dead, for the forgiveness of our sins, that we may have Eternal Life.
If she never learns anything else we are so happy that she can share His Word and has even done so - rather loudly during Library Craft Time. :)

My favorite Bible verse is Acts 20:24
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
I have been working with Annabeth on getting her to memorize this verse. I would love for her to write it on her heart and then live by it forever.

We began this homeschool journey unsure of quite a few things:
Would she like it? Would I like it? Would I be able to teach her? Would she be socialized? Would this work for our family? Would this glorify God in our home?

We end this year, the first of many we pray, sure that:
She seemed to like it. I loved it. I feel that she learned quite a few things. We had many wonderful library classes and field trips with other kids. It does work for our family. And we pray, daily, that this glorifies the Lord.

We start back to school August 11 using Alpha Omega Publication's Horizons Preschool for Threes. Until then we are looking forward to a summer of play and informal learning.

May ALL we do glorify the Lord, the one from Whom ALL blessings come.

Frugal Friday 38

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Our friends, the Love Family, gave Annabeth a new camping chair. They had purchased it for their daughter but it was too small so it came to our house. Annabeth loves it. Thank you!

- We sold the Disney Princess table and chairs that were in Annabeth's room. They came to us from Kati and Elli as Jenn cleaned things out before their move to SD. We have enjoyed having them but the table is not sturdy enough to do schoolwork on and we have many other chairs. When the new camp chair came this week we knew it was time to let the others go. I put it on our Facebook Garage Sale site and sold it in less than 20 minutes. Made: $15 for Jenn

- We VOTED in our Local Primary Election. It is free fun and our civic duty.

- Mark was off work for Primary Election Day so he and Annabeth planted flowers for the front porch.

Planting their flowers 

Taking the flowers out front to the porch
These two love to do projects together!

- Mark and Annabeth are working on refinishing a table for our schoolroom. It was a gift from Mark's aunt but after sitting in storage for a bit it needed refinished. Mark sawed the legs off because the table was quite tall. It is now a nice size that Annabeth can either stand or sit to work at. Mark also let Annabeth pick out new paint colors and painted it beautifully for her.

Mark and Annabeth showing off their latest project -
Annabeth's new school table!

- After last week's post, a college friend and reader, Lauren, asked us if we would like to meet her and the girls she nannies at a new park. We met the three of them as well as another nanny and set of girls at the Zionsville Lion's Park for an afternoon of fun. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and hours on the playground. We look forward to playing again!

We hope you all have a had a fun and frugal week as well.

We also hope that you voted in your Local Primary Election. We were saddened to read in our Wednesday paper that less than 10% of registered voters in our county voted. Please vote!!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, May 5, 2014

140th Running of the Kentucky Derby

This past Saturday, we enjoyed our Annual Derby Party at my Momaw's house.

Each year we enjoy taco dip, salsa, and cheese dip with chips before the race. Those who drink alcohol also enjoy a Mint Julep. We do some light betting on the races with enough pots that most families win most of, if not, all of their money back. Then the race is run - the fastest 2.5 minutes in sports! After the race, my Dad tallies all of the winnings and during an Old Hickory BBQ dinner the winnings are distributed. This year's big winner was 8 year old Kaleb who picked the best Win-Place-Show ticket and won $75! The prizes for "Best Hat(s)" are also handed out.

I have won "Best Hat" the past two years so this year I just wore my prize horse earrings and decorated my hat with my prize horse scarf. BUT Annabeth's Mama-made horse hat did win "Most Creative!" Success in the craft department!

Riley Hat Ladies 

After a week in Kentucky, 
Annabeth felt right at home on a John Deere tractor 

Receiving her prize for "Most Creative" hat
She loves being with her Aunt Lu too!

Happy 140th Running of the Kentucky Derby! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Frugal Friday 37

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I mended a skirt of mine and pants of Annabeth's. We love to repair and reuse as much as possible.

- We enjoyed a weekend at my parent's lake house. Annabeth and I enjoyed lots of free fun such as hiking, geese watching, and throwing rocks into the water. We did spend money in town buying overpriced groceries at Bernie's Market but at least we were overspending locally.

Relaxing morning spent on the dock.

- We enjoyed Starbucks as a family twice this week thanks to a giftcard from Mark's parents! It was fun to have special coffee treats and cakes. Thank you!

- We enjoyed Smother's Park in Owensboro, KY not just once but twice so far this week. It is by far one of the biggest and nicest parks/playgrounds I have ever seen.

 Posing with a turtle at the park

- We spent a morning at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History. It was just $3 for Annabeth and myself.

- I found Annabeth's favorite yoga pants on sale (finally!) at Children's Place. I have been waiting for them to go on sale since she received some as a gift last fall and loves them. I was only able to find one pair in the next size so I scooped them up.  Saved: $11.99

- I decorated our Derby Hats with supplies we had on hand. For my hat, I reused my same brown hat from past years and wrapped my prize from last year's "Best Hat" win around the hat - a horse scarf. Annabeth's hat was an Easter/Derby gift from Momaw. We used tulle and a toy horse from last year's hats to decorate. (I will do a Derby post after this weekend and include pictures)

What have you been doing to save money? What parks do you enjoy?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"