Friday, February 27, 2015

Frugal Friday 80

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked two evenings at a part time job.

- Annabeth and I were gone all last Thursday visiting friends and came home to the pipes in both bathrooms and the laundry room frozen. Mark and I tried every trick we knew to unfreeze them but eventually Friday morning I called our plumber. He went through many options over the phone and set an appointment for three hours out. Then he suggested putting a space heater in the garage and opening the door from the house to heat up the garage. Within one hour the pipes were warm enough that the water came through! I called and cancelled our appointment without charge. We have used Adam Tames of Res-Q Plumbing as our plumber at both houses and are always so pleased with his low prices and high quality of work.

- Annabeth and I ate lots of leftovers/interesting meals for lunches. We were able to use up most of our leftovers and fresh produce.

- We packed up a box of hand-me-downs and took them to friends in our neighborhood. They have three girls and also nieces so I was sure someone in their lives could use the clothes.

- Friends from Mark's work gave us a HUGE amount of hand-me-downs for Annabeth and Owen. There were two bags of clothes, a backpack, a floor mat piano, and even a blue Rody horse for Owen! Annabeth was most excited to see a tricycle! This had been on our "to buy" list for spring and we are so happy to cross it off! :) Thank you to the Fisher Family!

Annabeth and Baby Zoe doll checking out what the Fishers brought over.
She loves her new trike - and, yes, we purchased a helmet before we let
her ride. I love the Rody Horse for Mr. Owen! :) 

- The Fishers were SO generous and there was much more than we needed. I sent messages out to families who might need/want some of the things and divided clothes, toys, books, and blocks out to two other families.

- Annabeth and I cleaned out her "grow into" clothing tote and found 19 items that don't fit from last summer. I entered them online and now have 80+ items tagged for the spring consignment sale!

- We registered to be a Nielsen house. We completed a two page survey and made: $5

We enjoyed a busy week of homeschool and a homeschool field trip. On very cold, snowy mornings I was extra thankful to do school in our warm schoolroom in our cozy pajamas!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Homeschool Maple Syrup Day

Today we enjoyed a Homeschool Maple Syrup Day at Southeastway Park.

About a month ago, we read two Curious George books about maple syrup and pancakes. In one of them, George runs out of syrup and goes out in the woods and learns how maple syrup is made. In the second, George makes pancakes at a pancake fundraiser. Annabeth really enjoyed each of the books and kept mentioning "Make-Up Syrup." The next week, a homeschool facebook page I follow had a field trip opportunity to learn how maple syrup is collected and made at Southeastway Park.

We were very blessed and today was one of the warmest this week (about 25 degrees) and no new snow since Saturday night so we had clear roads and a pretty warm hike in the woods. We enjoyed a short powerpoint about Maple trees and then headed out to the woods. We spent more than an hour hiking through their Maple tree area and Annabeth really enjoyed getting to practice drilling holes and hammering in her own spile in practice logs. She was not interested in trying the sap though; she said "It might burn my tongue." After our time in the woods, we were able to back to the nature center and see their setup for turning the sap into syrup. At the end, we were each given a sample of syrup which Annabeth happily ate ALL of! :)

Checking out one of the park's real buckets that will collect sap on warmer days this winter.
The park generally collects enough sap to make 20 gallons of syrup.  

Drilling a hole in the log with a hand drill 

Hammering in her spile.
She was most interested in using tools like she does with Mark at home. 

We had a great day out hiking and I think, like many of the kids, Annabeth just enjoyed being out in the snow. Southeastway is my favorite big park and I love living only about an hour away.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Frugal Friday 79

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I used a 15% off coupon to purchase Owen's keepsake box. I was happy to find that Babies R Us still has the same one that we have for Annabeth and they had a boy version. I have already added the cards we have received for him to his box. Saved: $3.75

- We had a Valentine's Eve camp-in instead of going out to dinner or on a Valentine's excursion.

- Mark had been given 5 boxes of a muzzle loading magazine by a coworker. He has looked through a few and then they have been sitting in our hallway. This past weekend, he gave them to my dad to read and/or share with his muzzle loading club. We were more than happy to find a new home for them!

- I took a tote of clothing to Once Upon a Child to sell and to find some things for Owen. I made three check-out transactions to get every sale deal I could. Transaction One: I cashed out the sale of my clothes. To use my payment as store credit would have made me ineligible for another discount in that transaction. Transaction Two: I checked out my 10/$10 items because at their store you must buy 10 items to get the deal and it cannot be combined with another discount. Transaction Three: I drew a 21% off coupon as part of their Valentine's sale. In all, I saved an additional $15 by separating the transactions. I was able to purchase 25 items for $22 out of pocket.

- We were treated to lunch out for my birthday on Saturday by my parents and on Tuesday by my friend Tiara. Thank you all!

- We took lunch to the Ebling family and new baby Asher. We brought fruit from home and picked up lunch at Panera. I used a free birthday pastry and $1 off a drink deal. Saved: $3.99

- On the way home from the their house I was not frugal and Annabeth and I stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel. I made an impulse purchase for Owen and it was totally worth the $7.99!!

A sheriff bib for Owen.
Perfect for the son of a Sheriff's Deputy 
and the Great-Great Grandson of a former County Sheriff.

We hope you all have had good week and have managed to stay warm in this bitter, winter cold. 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Learning about Fashion as a Boy Mom

As of February 9, I know that I am a Boy Mom!

I have found since then that there are some interesting and puzzling trends in boy clothing. Some I like, some I don't. Here's a list:


- I love how simple it is to buy boy outfits. One shirt or onesie and pants to match - all on one hanger at the store!

- My friend Alysha told me that each season she buys her boys blue, gray, black, and brown shorts or pants and then adds shirts. How simple is that?!

- Baby boys can wear those one-piece footie things and they do not look like pajamas.

- I love all of the shirts that are the waffle texture long underwear. They are adorable and it almost makes me wish it would always be cold so Owen could wear them year round.

- My favorite jeans of Annabeth's have been a pair of flannel lined GAP jeans that I found at a consignment store. They were 12-18 months so it's been a while since we have had any and I have found them difficult to locate for girls. However, they are easy to find for boys! I found them for $2.97/pair clearance at Old Navy!

- Since Mark and I met at camp, I am loving all of the camp themed outfits for boys right now!


- I do not care for the current mustache trend at all! It was annoying to me before we knew we were having a boy and now I have a bit of fear that we are going to receive lots of mustache outfits. Please, no!

- It seems that puppies and teddy bears are very popular boy outfit themes and neither apply to our family. We are certainly not dog people nor are we really teddy bear fans.

- Many boy shirts have gross statements that are meant to be cute such as puns about passing gas, peeing, or pooping. I will NOT put these on our son.

- I also do not find the "Brother for Sale" and "Sister for Sale" shirts to be funny.

I have always loved shopping for my nephew Nathanael and my best friend's little boys SJ and Asher. Now I am looking forward to shopping for my own sweet little boy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

My 28th Birthday

Yesterday was not only Valentine's Day but also my 28th birthday!!

We woke up from our Valentine's Eve Camp-In and opened homemade Valentines and birthday cards. We then spent the morning lounging which was wonderful! I felt especially spoiled as Mark and Annabeth cleaned up the tent and bedding while I was able to take a shower alone and do my hair! What a treat!

Mama and Dad got into town around one o'clock and we met them at Benjamin's Coffeehouse for lunch. As always, it was packed, but we were able to get a table and enjoy lunch and hot coffee as the wind and snow blew outside! We decided to just head home after that because it was really, really cold!

Even with the cold, blowing snow, Annabeth wanted to 
sit on the benches with Grandpa Kuhn. 
He complied for a couple of minutes. BRRR!!! 

Once we got home, I was excited to find some birthday cards and birthday presents in the mailbox! We also exchanged Valentine's with Mama and Dad and they brought Mark and me our birthday presents.

We knew better than to go out to eat on Valentine's Day so Mark made potato soup and croissants for dinner! For dessert we enjoyed a cookie cake that Mama and Dad brought from The Great American Cookie Company.

My absolute favorite dessert! 

After dinner, we enjoyed some 2014 home videos and Mama worked on Owen's baby quilt. She even let Annabeth help cross stitch.

Annabeth learning to cross stitch from Grandmama Mimi.
Owen's blanket will be so special! 

I am so thankful for a long, relaxing day spent with some of my favorite people. 28 is off to a wonderful start!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Camp-In

Before we knew that we were expecting, we had talked about this spring or summer finally taking Annabeth on a camp-out. We had discussed a state park and then finally decided we should try it in our backyard first. With a baby due in June, I realized I would be too big to camp-out this spring so we decided to have a Valentine's Day Camp-In.

We kicked it off with a dinner of hot dogs, fruit, and macaroni salad. Annabeth LOVES hot dogs and ate almost two whole ones! It was impressive!

After dinner, Mark got the tent out and set it up in our living room. After we were all set up, we made indoor s'mores (graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow fluff). It took Annabeth forever to get through half of hers and Mark finally said, "You don't have to eat it if you don't like it." She replied, "Oh good. This makes me want to vomit." No more s'mores for her I guess. 

 She was SO excited to have the tent set up! 
She loves to play in the tent in the yard and it 
seemed to be equally fun in the house. 

 First bite of her s'more - before she knew she didn't like it.
(I thought it would be easier to eat/clean up outside
the tent than inside the tent so we ate outside) 

 We all slept in the tent and Annabeth chose to watch the sleepover episode of Sofia the First before we went to sleep. We turned the tv off around nine and I fell asleep almost right away. However, I had Lakeview flashbacks as I was woken up repeatedly by whispering and giggling. We didn't think that Annabeth would ever fall asleep because she was so excited to to be in the tent!

All ready to "sleep" 

We woke up this morning and shared homemade Valentine's and my birthday cards. Mark was so sweet and even made a special birthday card from Owen! He is so thoughtful!

Our camp-in was a wonderful way to kick off our Valentine's Day and my 28th birthday.

Happy Valentine's Day to you! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Frugal Friday 78

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday we went to Growing Spurts $15 bag sale. I was able to find 14 items: 12 for Annabeth, 1 maternity shirt for me, and a Chicago Bears onesie for Miss Harper Stair

- We used a gift card to purchase party decorations for a shower we are hosting soon. Saved: $14

- We were shopping with Mark's mom and found a $60 3-in-one boys' coat for $3.99!! It was before our ultrasound but we snatched up the coat "just in case." Good thing!! Owen will be warm and stylish next winter! Saved: $56.99

- I cut my hair at home and saved the cost of a haircut at a salon.

- I found the PERFECT gift for two of my favorite little boys. SJ and Asher will have an awesome Easter gift coming from Zulily. I saved 50% off both items + had free shipping on one of them. Saved: $30

- We shopped for Owen after his ultrasound. Combined a gift card + coupon + store sales to save $75 off new purchases for him! I had budgeted a certain amount for a post-ultrasound shopping spree and spent less than 50% of it!

- I used up my remaining ThredUp credit on three shirts (new with tags) for Owen. I saved 51% off their retail value and paid just for the shipping after my credit was applied.

- Tuesday at gymnastics Annabeth's friend Adelaide passed on one of her Big Sister shirts as well as some other hand-me-downs. Owen also received his first present a football outfit from the Sherry family! Thank you all!

- Now that we know Owen is a boy, I sorted through all the girl clothing I had saved. I took a small bag to Goodwill and a big bag to Annabeth's friends Bella and Harper. I also sorted out 40 items to sell at Once Upon a Child to get credit to purchase a few newborn boy items in case Owen is smaller than Annabeth was.

- I entered 64 items on the consignment manager for the Here We Grow Again Indy South Spring Sale. I also boxed up clothing to save back for the fall sale.

- Mark was paid in a Starbucks gift card for shoveling snow. He generously shared it with me! :)

- Mark worked 6 hours at his part-time job.

- Thursday we drove to Columbus to enjoy the Commons Playground with friends. They were kind enough to bring Annabeth a big sister shirt and Owen a handmade Lil Bro shirt! Thank you Morphew Family!

Big Sister and Lil Bro shirts.
Annabeth and Owen are going to be so stylish!

At the TOP of the Commons Playground!
Playing with Jillian made her brave!

Lunch out with my best friend Nanners.

We had a wonderful week saving money on all the money we spent on Mr. Owen Merit!

We thank all of you who have been praying for us and especially for those who prayed for a healthy baby! He looks big and healthy so far and we are so thankful to God for his goodness!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Monday, February 9, 2015

His Name

Now that we know #2 is a BOY we can start calling him by name:
Owen Merit Riley!

After our ultrasound with Annabeth, I shared how we picked her name and want to do the same for Mr. Owen.

As soon as we even began discussing having another baby Mark said that he wanted Owen for a boy. Once we found out we were expecting he still said Owen and Annabeth said from Day 1 that her baby was called Owen. She started calling most of her animals and dolls Owen and always called him Owen in my belly. We quickly realized that even if we wanted another boy name, it was too late, she was in love with her baby Owen.

When it came to his middle name we debated between Knight (my Grandaddy's middle name and his mother's maiden name) and Patrick (Mark's middle name, chosen from his Grandma Pat's name).

Then just a few days before the ultrasound I realized that I REALLY REALLY loved our girl name and wanted to get to use it no matter what and so...

I fell in love with this name the summer after we had Annabeth. I am not even sure where I heard it but I knew I HAD to use it if we had another child. I had always said that I wanted it only for a girl first name but after panicking that if #2 was in fact a boy, I would lose my chance to use it. Mark graciously said, "It it's a boy let's just call him Owen Merit." Praise the Lord for my sweet husband and his good ideas! 

We are in love with his name and pray that he loves it as well. Even more so, the three of us are completely in love with our Owen!

"I told you he a boy! I said his name Owen!"
And she was right. 

20 Weeks with #1 and #2

We had Annabeth's ultrasound at exactly 20 weeks on May 21, 2011.

Today, we are exactly 20 weeks with #2 and our ultrasound will be this afternoon! Since I am a Mama and it's my job to compare here are 20 weeks with #1 and #2 Side-By-Side.

It is not exactly the same outfit but I tried to match it as closely as I could just for fun. The left is Annabeth and the right is #2.

We are praying to see a healthy and growing baby and are so excited to see his or her sweet face this afternoon!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Frugal Friday 77

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I realized with our ultrasound just a week away, that I still didn't have a Big Sister shirt for Annabeth. I really had wanted her to have one for pictures at the hospital ultrasound. I looked at the stores and after not finding any put a request on Facebook. Our sweet friends the O'Neal Family brought her one the next morning and we have two more coming from Annabeth's friends next week!

- I had sold a pair of Annabeth's ruffle pants to a high school friend and when she mailed her payment check she also sent two cute homemade bows for Annabeth. They have glitter hearts and are perfect for Valentine's month!

- We hosted Mark's parents and Luke and Cassidy for Superbowl. We did a pitch in and everyone brought what they wanted. Brian and Kristi brought sub sandwiches (made and sold as a fundraiser for the boy scout troop the boys all help lead) and drinks. Luke and Cassidy brought buffalo chicken dip and chips. It was amazing and I ate two helpings! We provided shrimp cocktail and chips and queso. We had a fun evening playing with Annabeth and watching a little of the game.

- I colored my hair at home and saved $5 off the price of two boxes by using coupons.

- We had new friends over for a playdate and served a simple lunch of turkey sandwiches, cheese, veggies, and fruit snacks for dessert. Due to a wide variety of food allergies, I opted not to cook a meal but rather to serve a variety of simple options where people could pick and choose.

- We did not go to the grocery this week. Since we had stocked up at Sam's a few weeks ago on milk and fruit we have been able to shop far less the past three weeks.

- Annabeth and I made the drive down to Louisville to meet my best friend's new baby Asher. While there, she sent home a GIANT tub of maternity clothing! We really timed #2 well as my friends Sarah and Rose both just had babies and I have lots to borrow! Thank you ladies!

Praise the Lord for friends who share! :)

- I took Annabeth to two FREE programs at our library: storytime and hop-and-bop.

- In the past few weeks, I have really felt like I am looking tired and worn down, no pregnancy glow here, and so as an early birthday gift to myself I joined the makeup site Ipsy. I will receive a makeup bag of samples for $10/month. It is a month by month deal so I think I will try it for a few months and see what comes in the mail and then go from there.

We had a great week that felt like it took forever! We are all looking forward to our ultrasound with #2 on Monday! Check back next week to see if we are thinking pink or blue!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Groundhog Day 2015

Yesterday was Groundhog Day and the groundhog saw his shadow - 6 more weeks of winter.

We were slated to receive quite a bit of snow over the weekend, so I had planned more for Groundhog Day than I had in the past. Thankfully, all of the weather went north of us and we just had a dusting of snow Monday morning. I still kept to the fun Groundhog Day activities though.

How did we celebrate?

- We missed the live airing of Punxsutawney Phil's shadow so I found it online and showed it to Annabeth later in the morning.
- We read two library books about Groundhog Day
It's Groundhog Day by Steven Kroll
Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak
- We also made a cute little Groundhog Day craft that I found on "The Educator's Spin On It" blog

Happy Groundhog Day!

We had a lot of fun and I think Annabeth enjoyed a little something extra to kick off our 25th week of homeschool!

Monday, February 2, 2015

19 Weeks with #2

We are 19 Weeks Today!

A Little Pregnancy Survey for an Update:

?? Our ultrasound will be done next week. Hopefully #2 cooperates.

Total weight gain/loss: 
-20 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. This is actually up from a few weeks ago so we are thankful. 

Stretch marks: 
No new ones! Thank goodness! Still the mess of them from AB

None! :)

Maternity clothes: 
Yes! Since about 12 weeks this time around. No weight gain but definitely changing body shape. 
I am falling asleep easily but am usually awake 2-3 hours in the middle of the night. 

Food Aversions: 
Beans, Beef, Eggs, Lettuce,

Food cravings: 
Ice Water but only after about 4 pm

A lot! We are all anxious for the point when we can all feel #2 outside of the belly. 

What I miss: 
I really miss having energy and not being nauseous. 

What I'm loving
My little belly bump!

What I'm looking forward to:  
I am really looking forward to our ultrasound, it will be our first one with #2. I am anxious to see him or her for the first time and to make sure that the brain, heart, and spine all look healthy. Of course, I am also excited to learn if Baby Boy "O" or Baby Girl "M" in on his/her way. 

Best moment this week:
Annabeth has taken to loving on #2. She is really into kissing my belly and taking care of her dolls and stuffed animals.

Prayer Requests:
- For Mark: Energy and strength to work at work all day and then to come home and do a great deal for us too. Also, as always, we ask for prayers for his safety as he serves and protects our community.
- For Amy: Energy and strength to make it through each day. I am suffering much more nausea than with Annabeth and in the past few weeks have had issues getting any kind of protein in my body. My weight is up slightly and we pray that trend continues. 
- For Annabeth: Patience as she puts up with long days at home with a less-than-energetic Mama and patience as she is learning to write her letters. 

We thank and praise the Lord for these first weeks of pregnancy. We thank Him for the blessing of another child and pray that we are the parents that he wishes us to be. Amen.