Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last Week of Summer

Two weeks ago, I found that I couldn't wait any longer to lesson plan. I got everything out and began working on our schedule. I was glad I did because I had originally miscounted our weeks and found that we needed to begin one week earlier than I had planned!

We will be starting our curriculum Alpha Omega Publication's Horizon's Preschool for Three's next Monday, August 4.

Last year, we began formal schooling around Annabeth's 2nd birthday but I had been doing morning lessons since she was a baby. This summer has been so busy that we really have not even been doing much of that. As I planned the year, I became worried that it may be too much to throw us into school full force all at once. So, this week I have been doing mini-lessons to get us back into the school mindset.

Working on a sheet this morning.
Worksheet Goals: Following Instructions, Colors Green and Yellow, and Self Control

Annabeth is enjoying:
- Her redesigned schoolroom
- Working at her table painted by Daddy
- Learning and reading

Annabeth is not enjoying...
- Following the directions on worksheets and not doing extra colors/coloring
- Having to stay in the schoolroom until lessons are complete

We are looking forward to formally beginning on Monday!
Until then, Happy Last Week of Summer!

Monday, July 28, 2014

"My name on that?"

This summer I have been working with Annabeth to spell and recognize her name. While I have been working on her full name, I have been especially focused on the Annabeth as it is what she will learn to write first.

She points to nearly everything with print and asks, "My name on that?" or "That my name?" Especially any book or sign that begins with "A."

On our way to the grocery she asked for cherries to be our fruit of the week. I agreed, although I was not sure that she had really eaten cherries outside of fruit cocktail before. We picked them up in the produce section on our way in.

As we made our way through the store we had this conversation:
Annabeth:"My name on there. See my name?"
Me: "No. I don't think your name is on our cherries. Remember how we discussed that your name is not printed everywhere."
Annabeth: "Yes Mama! I see my letters!"
Me: "I know there are letters on there but they don't spell Annabeth."
Annabeth: "I know. S-A-G-E. My Sage name."

Sure enough they did say Sage.
Point for Annabeth Sage!

Annabeth Sage with her Sage cherries. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Recommendation: The Language of Sparrows

I LOVE to read.

As a homeschooling Mama to a 2.5-year-old most of my books are read for lesson plans or are filled with pictures but some days I get to read my books. Mark worked a 12 hour shift overnight last weekend so I took advantage of the time after Annabeth went to bed to read.

I read The Language of Sparrows by Rachel Phifer. It was an excellent story about families, unusual friends, and the importance of honesty and being who we are. It was beautifully written and spiritually thought provoking. I highly encourage it as a must-read.*

My favorite line from the book:
"People are threatened by greatness. 
Especially if one's greatness does not look like all the mediocrity they had planned."
Phifer, R. (2013) The Language of Sparrows. Colorado Springs, David C. Cook. pg. 356.
Those lines make such a powerful statement. I loved them.

The book includes beautifully shared Bible passages as well as thoughts for our everyday lives as believers in the One who created us all.

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*Please note I do not think this is a book for children under 18 as it deals with difficult subjects such as suicide as well as one character's time imprisoned in a reeducation facility

**These are my own thoughts and opinions. I was not compensated by the publisher or author for this review.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Frugal Friday 49

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We went to a playdate and they had a bag of hand-me-downs for Annabeth. We were especially excited to see church dresses and shoes for this fall and winter.
This cute summer outfit includes hand-me-down shoes and printed pants.
I kept thinking she was standing funny but I finally realized
that she had her shoes on the wrong feet! Silly girl! 

- A few weeks ago Mark used Early Moments and ordered 4 books for Annabeth for around $5. This week her next three came, we are giving them to her for her birthday and Christmas. We found a rebate offer on the back of our receipt will receive $10 back.

- We ordered Annabeth's birthday gift. We used a 20% off gift code.

- We passed along coupons and scrapbook paper to Cassidy.

- I enjoyed a free issue of a parenting magazine from Luke and Cassidy.

- As always, we have started our Christmas shopping since it is July. We find it helpful to have 6 months of sales to get the best prices. We also are able to spread it across many paychecks which is helpful as well.

- We enjoyed lots of quiet time at home. Following a week of busy travels we enjoyed playing outside in our own yard and reading all of our books.

 Annabeth and Daddy in her playhouse
Us adults call this the sauna because it is SO hot and steamy to sit in there! 

- We took three magazines to a play date to share with a friend. I enjoy free magazines each month that friends have given as a birthday gift. Thank you!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Monday, July 21, 2014

Please don't ask us...

In reference to our family:

Please Don't Ask Us:
"Is she your only one?"
"When are you going to have another?"
"Don't you want a boy?"
"Don't you think she needs a brother or sister?"

Please Don't Tell Us:
"You don't want to wait too long..."
"You don't want too much time between them."
"She will really be missing out without a sibling."
"You will regret it."

Please Understand:
Annabeth's delivery was difficult.
Annabeth sees specialists as a result of her cardiac arrest.
Amy has had three surgeries since then to correct issues from our pregnancy/delivery.
We struggled with infertility the first go around and have some fear of going through it again.
We have prayed and for now our feeling is that our family is complete.

Annabeth is a miracle. Her life is precious. We are so blessed to be her parents.
We may change our minds. God may have another plan.
Until then, this is our family, please use your words kindly and love us for who we are:
The Riley Three.

Our Annabeth Sage.
Our most precious gift.
Our life and love. 

Photo Credit: Donna Rice 

Evansville Trip

Every summer the Boy Scout Troop that Mark helps lead goes away for a week to Summer Camp. That same week, us girls, go spend the week with my family.

This year we had a wonderful visit and gorgeous weather, especially for July! We were so excited to comfortably spend lots of time outside. We visited Aunt Lu and Grandpa at work, went to the zoo, headed to Owensboro to visit family and meet friends, ran to Newburgh to do some shopping, and even squeezed in a bike ride playdate. We really enjoyed spending time with my parents and sister as well as lots of friends.

Here are some pictures of the fun:

We spent Wednesday at Mesker Park Zoo with Aunt Lu 

Us Girls.
We were so excited to see that the giraffe posed with us!  

Lunch at Bee Bops in Owensboro, KY.
Mama, Lu, Annabeth, and I enjoyed lunch with my Godmother Kim.
Kim and my Mama and have been friends since they were Annabeth's age.

After the Franklin St. Festival, we had lunch at the Gerst Haus.
We helped Annabeth celebrate her German Heritage. 

We had such a wonderful trip!
We are so blessed to love so many people and have them love us back.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Frugal Friday 48

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Annabeth attended a free Hop and Bop dance class at the library.

- Annabeth finished the Summer Reading Program and earned a free book. She chose a baby bath book.

- I sold another purse on Facebook. Made: $10

- My dad stopped at a garage sale and found a new kitchen plus some toy food to go with it for Annabeth to play with at Grandmama and Grandpa's house. Annabeth LOVES playing with it!

Order Up at Annabeth's Kitchen!

- At that same garage sale, and part of that $10, Dad found these scrapbooking materials for me! They were a great find and amazing deal! 

New scrapbooking supplies!
The design-hole punches alone are worth more than the $10
that Dad spent on all of this!

- Since the Indianapolis Zoo, the one closest to us, has raised their prices I waited until we were in Evansville for a visit to go to their zoo. For Annabeth and I to spend the day at the Indianapolis Zoo it is $40+ to go to Mesker Park Zoo is $7.50.

Giraffe Shirt with the Giraffe Statue

- While walking in my parents' neighborhood, Annabeth received free cucumbers from a neighbors' garden. That same evening, while out with friends, I was given a free squash! Yummy, free veggies!

We have been enjoying the wonderful, cool weather (in the 70's) and time with our friends and family.

We hope you all have had a frugal week as well! 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!" 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Initiative: readiness and ability in initiating action (

This is a life-skill we have been working very diligently with Annabeth to develop. We want her to learn to see what needs to be done and to act on the needs of others. We pray daily that she will develop a Servant's Heart and that she will desire to serve the Lord and His people with a glad heart.

Last Saturday, Annabeth and I were at Target and I found the cutest little tote with pink flowers. I have been trying to organize Annabeth's shoes better, as they are often spread around the house, and with this item on sale I made the purchase.

I mentioned, just once, in the store that the tote would be for her shoes. When we got home, I placed it in her room, and carried all of the groceries inside. Once I had everything unpacked, I went to her room to check on her and found that she had already found all of her shoes and put them in her new shoe tote.

"See my shoe tote Mama? I did it!" 

What a big girl! :)

Initiative. I am so glad that she, with God's help, is developing this life-skill.
All honor and glory to Him.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Frugal Friday 47

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I made a bit of extra money selling a purse on our Facebook garage sale site. It was a small purse that had been an impulse buy that I then rarely carried. Made: $20

- A retired teacher friend loaned me some toddler/early grade school aged science books for the summer. I made copies from them at the library using a coupon from summer reading. Saved: $1.60

- Mark took an online survey using a package code and earned $20.

- After church on Sunday, we headed to Southeastway Park to meet up with Nana and PawPaw. We all enjoyed a picnic, playing on the playground, and a long nature hike.

- I donated my bag of cloth scraps to our church's VBS - they were in need of them to make a project. Mark was SO happy to see them go! I have been moving this trash bag of scraps around for 5.5 years now.

- We paid our car insurance on the new car in full. Saved: $106.31

- I cut Annabeth's hair at home. Saved: $12.50

- I sold some landscape pavers on Facebook. Made: $5

Playing on our pavers  

Cool Kid Nanners.
She loves hats - just like her Aunt Lu did as a little girl! :) 

- We took a loaf of homemade Italian bread to a family spaghetti dinner. Mark's family sent us home with a loaf of homemade chocolate, banana bread. A great trade!

- I passed along two wet bags and laundry detergent to a friend with a new baby who is cloth diapering! Go green everyone! :)

Total Saved: $120.41
Extra Made: $45

What a great, frugal week we've had and we hope you have too!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Check out our other posts from this week:
Happy 4th of July
Lunch Date with my Best Friend
A $5 Cup of Lemonade

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A $5 Cup of Lemonade

Growing up my parents always stopped at lemonade stands. It was a little gesture from them that made kids' days. In fact, over Memorial Day Weekend this year, Dad and I headed out to garage sales and he purchased a less-than-tasty cup of lemonade from kids at their parents' sale.

Today, I did the same.

I stopped by a friends' house to drop something off and her nieces were selling lemonade for $.50. I ran back to the car and looked in my wallet. I had a few pennies and a $5. I took out the $5 and went back, paid, and said "You can keep the change." As I drove away, I saw her call her sister over, show her the money, and they exchanged smiles and a high-five.

It seemed to make their moment and it certainly made my day.

I think it was proof that it takes just a tiny moment to make someone's day.
A simple gesture.
A smile.
A moment of stopping to notice someone.
We absolutely never know what a difference it could make.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lunch Date with my Best Friend

Today I had lunch with my best friend.

This is not an uncommon occurrence, as I eat lunch nearly every day of the year with her, but today we took ourselves out to eat. We sat down next to each other and we talked and we ate. Other than her Daddy, she is my best friend in the world and together they are my whole world.

Me and Nanners
I am still, daily, constantly, amazed that she is mine.
I love you always. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We had a wonderful 4th of July!

We celebrated with a cookout at our house. We invited all of Mark's family and had Mark's parents and Luke and Cassidy as our guests. We enjoyed lots of delicious foods including some new pinterest recipes that thankfully all turned out well.

I thought I would share a few pictures from the day:

Mark surprised me with a box of strawberries from Shari's Berries
He knows me so well! 

I made a fruit and chocolate covered pretzel flag 
for our cookout dessert. 

Our sweet Nanners
Celebrating the 4th in a dress by Jillian of Pretty Pipsqueak 
and a bow from Emma's Bows for a Cure

What a fun day! Happy Birthday America! Thank you Lord for our freedom!  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Frugal Friday 46

Happy Frugal Friday and Happy Birthday America!

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

- We spent Saturday morning at Provinence Park. The forecast called for rain so we were the only family on the playground. Annabeth LOVED swinging and we stayed until the sprinkles came through. Then we headed over to the library where Annabeth enjoyed working on the computer and doing puzzles. We love the free fun we can have around town!

- We made homemade 4th of July cards for our families using blue paint and red paper we had on hand. We dipped star shaped cookie cutters into the paint and stamped them on the papers.

4th of July Card by Annabeth 

- We included some coupons in our 4th of July mail so we didn't spend any extra money passing them along. We LOVE to share coupons!

- A few weeks ago my Mama and Dad brought up a bread maker for us. Mama had traded another kitchen appliance with a friend to get it and had never baked bread. We have been wanting to make our own to save money and as part of our goal to reduce the amount of processed food we consume so they brought it to us . We made our first loaves this week and really enjoyed them! We did the math and we can make our own loaves of bread for less than $1 a loaf!!

- While checking out at a new grocery, I saw a $12.99 charge as I watched the computer scan our items. I asked the checker and thank goodness I did - a $.99 item had rung up $12 too much! The cashier adjusted our bill, instances like this why I watch items ring up VERY carefully!

- Our electric bill came and was $234! We were in shock! Our bill usually never gets near $100 except for rare circumstances like last winter when it was below 0 degrees so many days. I called Monday morning and confirmed that the meter had been misread - our bill should only have been $50. Whew! We now have many months of credit on our bill - perhaps the Lord sees something coming that we can't.

- I finished our library's Summer Reading Program and earned a free book. We will give the book as a gift.

- Using a Summer Reading Program coupon I treated Annabeth to a FREE cheeseburger, fries, and apple juice from McDonald's.

- We met friends at the Franklin City Pool. We stayed for 2 hours and Annabeth screamed and screamed as we left because she wanted to swim longer! I think I have a fish-child! We saved $2 by using a coupon on our admission.

- We made homemade blueberry pie to take to a family dinner. Yummy!

4Her/Homemaker in training with her blueberry pie

We love summer and we love saving money on our summer activities. What have you been doing to save money this summers?

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Flashback

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July I thought I would do a flashback to Annabeth's previous 4th of July's and outfits.

This was actually her First Memorial Day
but it was also my favorite red/white/blue outfit. 

Her First 4th of July
Onesie and tutu from Nana and PawPaw
Nana, Mark's mom, made this themed tutu for her 
July 4, 2012

Her Second 4th of July
This sweet dress was made by my friend, and cousin's wife, Jillian
July 4, 2013

Wow~ When I look at those pictures I really see how much difference a year makes! 
How she has grown!

We are looking forward to a family cookout tomorrow to celebrate America's Birthday!