Friday, January 30, 2015

Frugal Friday 76

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Annabeth used a gift card from Christmas to purchase a Sofia the First amulet as well as dress up jewelry and shoes from Brave. She also chose a jewelry box for all of her treasures from Toys r Us. Saved: $25

- I ordered a nice, black maternity dress from ThredUp. Looking ahead to the rest of winter and spring I realized that I will need a maternity dress or skirt of some kind. I saved $34.01 off the retail price and, because I had credit, I got it absolutely FREE!

- We joined Sam's Club again thanks to a Christmas gift of a free membership ($45 value!) from Mark's parents. Thank you! We were excited to get great deals on fresh fruit, milk, and yogurt on this trip.

- I started a baby registry with Target because 6-8 weeks before #2's due date any we will receive a coupon for any unpurchased items. We hope to save on essentials with coupons from companies (such as Aveeno or Pampers) on top of this Target coupon.

- Annabeth and I rolled money from her piggy bank. We will add $14 to her savings account at the bank. A penny saved is a penny earned.

- Mark worked a six hour shift at his part time job.

- Once we ordered our new fridge, we asked around to family and friends to see who might need a newish fridge. We found someone and thankfully they have their own truck and way of picking it up! They treated us to lunch on Monday when they came to pick it up! We were so glad to find someone who needed it and for a free lunch! :)

- I made a trip to Kroger because protein drinks (it's one of the only ways I am currently getting calories/protein in) and hummus were Buy One, Get One Free. I also restocked some other items that were on sale that I had a coupon for too. I saved 34% off our total bill! Getting closer and closer to that goal of a 100% savings trip!

- Annabeth and I shopped at Target for a February baby shower. The clothing items on the registry were Buy One, Get One 50% as part of their baby sale this week. I thought it was good to shop a bit early to save that extra money.

We hope you all had a good week! Be sure to check back in on Monday for an update on #2!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Raising a Party Planner

I think we are raising a Party Planner.

Last April, after attending her friends' birthday parties on the same day, Annabeth decided that she would have a Hello Kitty birthday party. She also wanted to have balloons be part of the theme. I waited until September to purchase decorations and supplies but she never once wavered, it was always to be a Balloon Hello Kitty party. She chose everything from invitations to plates and napkins to party favors. She stuffed her own party favors and helped decorate. She had me get on Pinterest and she chose her own cake. Then, in the middle of her Hello Kitty party, she announced to her guests that her next party will be a deer party.

Three months later and she is still planning her deer party...
- There will be deer cookies no cake
- The deer decorations will be pink
- Deer tattoos must be given to all party guests
The list keeps growing...

Yesterday, before getting her teeth sealed at the dentist, she was telling her hygienist all about her deer birthday party. The hygienist came out and told me, I said, "Yes. And her birthday is not even until October."

But Annabeth does not just plan her own birthday she was very particular about planning a surprise party for her friend Julia. She chose a Little Mermaid gift for her (Julia was Ariel for Halloween) and carefully selected gift wrap. Then she requested that we get cake pops from Starbucks as a treat and required them to be served on a pink, "never purple", plate. She also said that we needed to "get 'ose princess napkins. Julia love princesses." Once we got home, she cleared the floor for dancing and even put in her favorite birthday/dance CD because "every party need music."

 Party set-up for her friend Julia

As soon as Julia came in the door Annabeth yelled
"Surprise!" and made her open her gift

Need a party planner? Apparently I am raising one! :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Frugal Friday 75

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We went to Evansville for the weekend and enjoyed buying gas at $1.88/gallon.

- While we were gone (Saturday morning - Monday evening) we turned the heat at our house down. We hope we saved $5-$10 on our electric and gas bills by turning the heat down for those days.

- We I love having coordinating outfits. I especially love when these are hand-me-downs or borrowed outfits. In my bag of maternity clothes on loan from my friend Sarah there was a cute blue shirt with striped sleeves and it coordinates well with a hand-me-down shirt that Annabeth loves to wear!

 Coordinating with my Nanners

Growling at each other. She is SO into this right now!
Also, note her ponytail:
"I am a big sister now. I need a ponytail."

- We were blessed with the gift of a new refrigerator for our birthdays. Mark did a lot of research to find one that would fit, met our needs, and made sure that he shopped around for the best deal. We saved $400 off ticket price, ordered online for free delivery which saved $70, and earned $23.00 back in rewards.

- With all of the babies born this week, I needed to buy some welcome gifts. I combined store sales with a gift card from Christmas and saved: $75.43

- While browsing Zulily I found a perfect onesie/shirt for Annabeth AND #2. I made one order with just the onesie and thus earned free shipping until midnight that day. I then ordered the shirt and saved $5.99 on shipping. Saved an additional $34.04 with Zulily's price.

- Wednesday we played with friends who live in our neighborhood. Annabeth was thankful to walk over and I was thankful to save a bit of gas by walking. It was a big adjustment from moving to the middle of Greenwood where we walked to the park, library, and out to eat to a neighborhood where we really need to drive to everywhere.

We enjoyed a week with some very warm days! We love to be outside and it was nice to do so without freezing! We are looking forward to our first weekend home in more than a month!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Week of January Babies

We had four family members and friends due in January and ALL have had their babies in the past week!

Last week, a friend from childhood and her husband welcomed their third child, and first daughter, at home! Little Miss E joins big brothers A, age 6, and H, almost 4. We thank and praise the Lord for E.W.'s safe arrival.

On Saturday, my cousin Hannah and her husband Arun welcomed their first child, a son. He is at least the fifth generation in our family to share the same middle name. It was also my Great Grandpa Louie's, Grandpa Chico's and is my Uncle John's and my cousin Adam's. We thank and praise the Lord for Ari Louis' safe arrival.

Just two days later Hannah's twin brother Alex and his wife welcomed their second daughter. The message said she arrived just 15 minutes after they got to the hospital. She will be close in age to big sister Charlotte Blair and we know they will great friends. We thank and praise the Lord for Joslyn Grey's safe arrival.

Then, today, my best friend and her husband Sean welcomed their second son Asher. Big brother SJ is just 22 months older and we know that he will love having a playmate! We thank and praise the Lord for Asher Timothy's safe arrival.

Please join us as we pray for these four families and their newest blessings.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Frugal Friday 74

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We used a gift card to eat dinner out on Friday. Saved: $25

- Annabeth and I ate leftovers from our eat-out-dinner for two meals.

- I received payment for the bag that I mailed to ThredUp in December. I mailed Annabeth's clothing this time and had hoped to gauge how they pay for children's clothing. However, the e-mail I received said they have so many bags needing processed that I could choose a rush option of receiving a payout that was the average of others bags I have sold to them or I could choose to wait and have them make a payment based on what was in the bag. I felt that the rush option amount was probably more than I was going to get for 10 items of Annabeth's so I took it. Made: $25.62

- I treated a friend to a pedicure for her birthday. I paid a few dollars extra and got my first gel-manicure. It is Day 5 and they still look perfect! Rose said hers stay for 3-4 weeks - much longer than a regular manicure! Since it is something I generally only do for her birthday I was excited to have a treat that will last so long!

- I combined a 10% off sale + a gift card to order Annabeth's Valentines. Saved: $20.53

- We had earned a free large, 3 topping pizza from Papa John's. We redeemed the reward on Saturday evening and treated friends to delivery pizza while our girls all played. We enjoyed the leftovers for Sunday dinner.

- My in-laws gave us half a bag of frozen shrimp. The bag was leftover from holiday food and since they do not eat shrimp they gave it to us! We are so thankful - especially Annabeth who loves shrimp!

- I received two bags of maternity clothes from friends. Rose gave me all the shorts I will need for spring and summer. Sarah returned the ones I had loaned her, including my favorite striped t-shirt from Annabeth's pregnancy, as well as other tops and a dress. I am so thankful to pass things back and forth!

- Annabeth and I had lunch out with friends. She and I shared a meal and I enjoyed the leftovers for dinner that evening.

- I sold two pairs of PJs, a Sofia the First nightgown/dress up dress, and a Sofia tiara that Annabeth has outgrown. Made: $20

- Mark worked a 6 hour shift at his part-time job.

We had a good week and enjoyed the, slightly, warmer weather!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Current and Future BFFs

When I was pregnant with Annabeth, Mark's brother and his wife were also expecting. It was such a fun experience to go through with Jenn and we love how close Annabeth and Nathanael are. She was born October 5 and he was born January 26 and it was wonderful to have babies together! Since Matt and Jenn also have older girls who are twins we all call Kati and Elli the "Big Twins" and Nate and Annabeth the "Little Twins."

I was hoping for something similar this time around with a friend. I have been able to share in the end of my best friend's pregnancy while she has shared the beginning of mine. Her little boy is officially due the last week of January but could really come any day now. Her older son, our Godson, SJ is 21 months and great friends with Annabeth so we are looking forward to our firstborns being great friends and our #2s being great friends as well.

We have had some photo fun while we share this season of life: 

Current BFFs Annabeth and SJ
December 2014

 Current and Future BFFs at 32 and 11 weeks
This is how we told the Eblings we were expecting. 
December 2014

Best Friends at 37 and 16 Weeks.
January 2015

I have been so blessed to have Rose as my best friend for the past 10+ years and love sharing every season of life with her - especially this season of being Mamas to sweet little ones. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Making #2 as Special as #1

One of my main goals during this second pregnancy has been to make it as special as Annabeth's.

The night we found out Annabeth was coming, Mark started a journal for her. We really kept up with that journal posting a few times each week of my pregnancy and through her life. I bought a baby book early on and filled it out as the weeks went on. Even now it is completely updated through her third birthday party. I took biweekly bump pictures even in labor at the hospital I managed to get a few in. I currently have 8 filled photo books with handwritten notes attached to the pictures for her to enjoy later in life.

I have heard so many 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc children complain that they don't have a baby book or that their baby photos are just in boxes instead of books. A few friends who recently had babies shared that they hadn't taken very many maternity pictures. The memory keeper in me panicked at the thought of this! What would life be without journals, photos, or memory books?!

Thus my goal: Keep the memories for #2 as well.

- We started a journal the day we learned #2 was coming. I have been writing to him or her at least once a week.
- I do not have a baby book yet but plan to get one the week we learn #2's flavor.
- I have actually taken more pregnancy photos as we have included Annabeth in a few Big Sister photo shoots as well as bump pictures.
- I have started a Pregnancy Photo Book/Journal on Shutterfly

I know I will make many mistakes. I know I will compare #1 and #2 far too often. I know I will expect it all to be the same, for them to be the same. I know that it cannot be, that they will not be. But I also know that I can take the time to make their memories the same. I want each of them to know just how special waiting for them was and how special their lives are. May they both know that Mama, a memory keeper, loves them so much.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Annabeth's Glitter Stars

Our art project this week for school was to make glitter stars, like the shepards and wise men saw in the Nativity Story. I decided to also make them stars of thanks. I asked Annabeth to list things she is thankful for.

Here is what she said:
AB: "Jesus. Mary and Joseph. Our Baby. My Books/My Bible. Kati, Elli, Nate"
Me: "Okay, you have one more star. What else are you thankful for?"
AB: "Nothing. That is all."
Me: "What about Mama and Daddy? Maybe we can be  on your last star."
AB: "Oh, Fine."

We were SO excited that she listed our Precious Lord first, above all else. We were also excited and thankful that she chose to willingly list our baby. We were a little sad that Mama and Daddy were an "oh fine" addition to the list.

After the paint dried, she LOVED using puffy paint just like me, I let her choose where to hang her stars. She chose an empty corner of the dining room and I think they look beautiful.

They now serve as a wonderful reminder to our family of these things we are thankful for as well as the many blessings she didn't list. To God be all the glory for our countless blessings.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Frugal Friday 73

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Shutterfly had a deal for 101 free pictures. I combined the free photos with a gift card from Christmas and was able to get the prints plus shipping free. Saved: $23.70

- While visiting Evansville, our friends Debbie and India brought over a whole bag of hand-me-downs for Annabeth. We were able to keep a few dresses, shorts, shirts, and even a beautiful Snow White costume! The items that are too small or will be too small by spring/summer we passed on to Annabeth's friends Julia and Emilia.

- Mark and I had a date night. We did our usual "Evansville Date" sushi then a trip to Target. We enjoyed finding some good post-Christmas clearance deals for Annabeth and #2. We also purchased a gift that we will give later this month. We used a gift card to help purchase everything. Saved: $25

- After using nearly all of our return address labels during the Christmas season, I ordered new ones through Vistaprint and took advantage of a 25% off offer. Saved: $4.02

- Mark shovels snow in the winter. This week a client paid him $20.

- I found an awesome deal on a stroller (on a Facebook garage sale site) that will fit both Annabeth and #2. It was purchased new by the family and used only a handful of times. It is basically brand new and is much lighter than our single stroller. I only paid 40% of the retail price by buying used! Saved: $90!!

Testing out the front seat 

and the back seat :)

- I sold a pair of Annabeth's ruffle pants on Facebook. These were a huge splurge for me and I loved her in them! I was so happy to sell them to a high school classmate who has the cutest little girls! Made: $15

- I earned a $10 credit on ThredUp when a friend shopped through my referral link. I look forward to having that money to spend when I see something that I might like on the site.

Extra Made: $45

We had a good, but very cold week here. I felt pretty good for a couple of days and, for the first time since October, even was able to cook and serve real dinner one night. 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference" 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Frugal Friday 72

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark and Annabeth went on a date to Lowe's. While checking out, they were given a free children's craft kid. They came home and built a Christmas train with working light! It is very neat.

- While the SD Rileys were in town, we celebrated January, February, and early March birthdays by exchanging gifts in person so we could save on postage.

- We had low air in some of our tires. Instead of paying for air at a gas station, Mark used our own air pump and did it at home.

- Annabeth and I enjoyed a Starbucks date for FREE thanks to a Christmas gift card. Saved: $7.99

- We have been doing ALOT of driving to see family the past few weeks. Thanks to low gas prices and Kroger fuel rewards we were able to fill up for less than $25!

- We drove to visit family and resisted the urge to stop for fast food or coffee. It was good for our wallets and also for our health.

- On a cold day, while visiting Evansville, we went to the mall for some nearly-free fun. We took Annabeth to play at the indoor playground and treated her to a ride on the carousel for just $2!

She LOVES carousels!

Happy New Year and Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference" 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Homemade Ornaments

I have been wanting to give more homemade gifts. In the past, I have done really well with photo gifts such as scrapbooks, scrapbook pages, photo books, and collages but I have not really branched out from those type gifts.

This year I decided that I wanted to make ornaments for Annabeth and for my nieces and nephew. I had seen a cute idea on Pinterest to use Scrabble tiles and I thought this would be a great year to make them as the kids have all learned or are in the process of learning to spell their names.

I found the Scrabble tiles at a store in town for $.25 each and I used ribbon from my stash from Grandma Chico. I enjoyed making these easy ornaments and hope that the kids enjoyed having their names on them as our creative spellings have made it difficult to find pre-made personalized items for each of them.

This year I also wanted to give my sister a new house ornament as she purchased her first house this fall. I found a neat idea on Etsy but instead of buying a pre-made one I decided to make a personalized one. Mark purchased the old key offline - we thought it was fitting since her house was built in the 1930's. Then I used ribbon from my Grandma Chico stash and added her new -address as well as 2014 1st House. 

I enjoyed making these treasures and praying for each of the recipients as I crafted. My Grandma Chico always made us such beautiful gifts and I would love to keep that tradition alive.

Scrabble tile ornaments for Nate, Annabeth, Kati, and Elli.
1st House key ornament for LucyAnne.
All displayed on my favorite Christmas towels from Martha Stewart for Macy's.