Friday, August 28, 2015

Frugal Friday 106

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- When my family arrived in town on Saturday afternoon, they helped us play "clean out the refrigerator" and we ate our leftovers from the week as lunch. They took us out to dinner Saturday night. I really got the best end of that deal! :)

- Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of Owen Merit. We had lunch at Jockamo Pizza (just like we did after Annabeth's Baptism)* We came in $50 under budget. We will use that money to pay for Annabeth's birthday cake in a few weeks.

End of the baptism celebration picture of just the four of us.
No one but me wanted to be in this picture, can you tell?
Thankfully I was able to crop one of the big group ones from church
so we have a decent one of the four of us.

- Mark worked one night at his part time job.

- I came in $23 under budget on our grocery shopping. We stocked up on Almond Milk as it was on sale and I had an online coupon. I also took advantage of the big cereal boxes being 2/$6 + a $3 off coupon which gave me one free! :)

- Annabeth and I treated ourselves to pink roses at the grocery. They were just $3.99 on manager special! I did have to do some trimming since they were a little old but they ended up looking beautiful on our dining room table. Annabeth loves flowers and we like to have them around the house when we find a good deal.

 "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns
we can rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
- Abraham Lincoln 

- The kids and I stayed home most days. We were home for weeks right before Owen was born and then again during my recovery. Once I felt better we ran like crazy people for a couple of weeks and now we have really settled into enjoying being home again. Thank goodness!

- We ate all meals at home this week. I, thanks to encouragement from my friend Andrea, have gotten back to my recipe books and Pinterest and am enjoying making meals again! Thank you Andrea for the push I needed!

We have LOVED the beautiful fall like weather this week. We have enjoyed many walks and playing outside with friends and neighbors. We hope you have too!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

*We could definitely serve a meal for 15 people for much less money from our own home. However, when we had Annabeth's Baptism we were living in the old house and we would not have been able to fit everyone in to eat. Our church does have a kitchen and meeting room but it is used for a service at the same time as ours and we would not have been able to go in and prepare food until that service was over. In the end, we decided to take everyone out to eat somewhere local. It worked so well! I pre-ordered the pizza and everyone just had to pick their drinks. We crowd and price controlled the lunch by not handing out menus. Since it had worked so well for Annabeth's we did the same for Owen's. By planning and saving ahead it was easy and not financially stressful as we saved for months ahead.*

Friday, August 21, 2015

Frugal Friday 105

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I gave away my Charlotte Mason books. I had purchased these books almost two years ago and have read only a few pages. A friend happened to mention that they are doing more Charlotte Mason this year and so I passed the books to her.

- We took a two big boxes to Goodwill. Many items were ones we had been given as hand-me-downs from various friends and instead of saying "maybe we will use this someday" I was very realistic and passed on things I knew we wouldn't use. I am really trying to keep the clutter down!

- Saturday morning we took the kids to the Downtown Franklin Farmer's Market. We bought a bag of apples as well as some sunflowers for Annabeth. I also got a cute t-shirt. We enjoyed listening to some live music and Annabeth loved playing with the hula hoops, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk.

- Mark picked up part of a shift at his part time job. This meant getting called out of bed at 4 am and we love him for it!

- I cancelled my Ipsy subscription. I had given this to myself as a birthday gift and had months March - August however I just don't feel like it is worth it anymore. I really enjoyed the first couple months of products and I love the cute little bags they come in. However, I kept giving feedback and they kept sending products I specifically said I did not want or use. In the end, it was a nice little treat in the middle of each month and I did share the items I did not want with my friends and my sister but $10/month was too much for something I didn't totally love.

- My friend Alysha dropped off a box of clothes for the kids. Some were sizes that will work and some were sizes that we have a great deal of already. I kept what we could use and donated the rest. I traded her a Shutterfly $20 off $20 purchase coupon.

- Annabeth and I went to Toodleydoo Toys in Franklin and made a small birthday registry for her. I had a difficult time making a list for her this year as we would really like her to begin getting toys that will inspire creative play and reading. I want her to have fun toys but I also would like them to encourage group and imaginative play. I am also hoping to encourage family members to shop at a small, locally owned Christian business.

- I have borrowed a really expensive baby item from a friend instead of buying one new. I carried Annabeth and Owen both in my K'Tan wrap (thank you for that gift Mama!) but Mr. O at almost 16 lbs already is getting heavy really quickly as I carry him. My back is also still healing from delivery and is quite weak still. My friend Cynthia has loaned my one of her two Ergo carriers. Thank you Cynthia! It is saving my back!

Tiny Mr. O (at just 9 days old)
using the K'Tan for his first doctor's appointment.
He is not so little anymore :(

It was the third week of school and so we are really back into "school mode." As a result, we have been home more and more and eating at home more too. We're saving lots of money on gas and eating out! 

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dancing in the Rain (and sprinkler)

Monday evening, Annabeth and I headed out after dinner (around 7:30) to play in the sprinkler. It was just starting to sprinkle as we headed out. I turned the water on low and let her run in the sprinkler and the rain. As she danced and ran, I realized that the setting sun behind her was making the water glimmer and sparkle. It made for a beautiful moment to share with Annabeth and a beautiful series of moments to photograph.

"Never. Ever. Ever.
Give up the desire to climb trees
or run through the sprinkler."

"Anyone who thinks sunshine is pure happiness
has never danced in the rain."

"Some people dance in the rain. Others just get wet."

"If you have good thoughts
they will shine out of your face 
like sunbeams 
and you will always look lovely."
- Matilda

"For this child I prayed,
and the Lord answered my prayer."
1 Samuel 1:27

I pray I am never to old to dance in the rain or run in the sprinkler.
I pray that Annabeth never feels too old to dance in the rain or run in the sprinkler.
I am so thankful today, and everyday, for our precious Miracle Girl. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"And was I crying Mama?"

Yesterday, Annabeth and I took Mr. O to his 2 month check-up.

As we drove, Annabeth was talking about Owen's pictures from the hospital. We have shown some of them to Annabeth and she was really surprised grossed out by the fact that Owen was "green and slimy" after he came out. (She has only seen the picture of our doctor holding Owen up right after he was delivered) I had added it to his baby book and really didn't think about her seeing it but she has been asking daily about how babies get out and why they look that way.

Then she asked the question. She doesn't ask it every day but when she does, I cry. Every single time.

Annabeth: "Owen was born so slimy. Was I slimy?"
Me: "Yes. All babies are."
Annabeth: "And he was crying. Was I crying so loud when I was born?"
Long Pause.
Me: "No Nanners. No you weren't."

It's a simple, innocent question with such a complicated, heartbreaking answer.

I hope when she is older I can answer it in a way that she can appreciate and understand just how precious life is. I hope she can remember how much of a miracle she is. I hope we never take a single moment for granted. I hope she realizes that the Lord has a very special plan for her. He created her, He knit her together, and by His amazing grace she took her first breath. He alone saved her life and we pray, will save her soul. Amen.

Our Miracle Girl.
Running, dancing with flowers.
We are so thankful for that first breath and each precious one that has followed. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Frugal Friday 104

Happy 2 Year Anniversary to our "Frugal Friday" series!

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

- Friends from work gave us diapers for Owen as their daughter was allergic to them. We found out that Owen was allergic as well. Since there were 20 or so I updated my facebook status with free diapers and was able to share them with a friend. We love getting/giving free things!

- We met friends for dinner and Miss Charlotte was sweet enough to treat us all. Thank you!!

- My friend Rose has left the elementary school classroom and moved to preschool. She was cleaning out school supplies and was kind enough to share an entire car-full with Luke as it is his first year teaching. I did pick out a few things to use in our homeschool and took the rest to Luke. Any items he could not use were offered to our homeschool group and some found homes there as well.

- Mark's mom took Annabeth to a birthday party on Saturday. Annabeth enjoyed a cookout and some birthday cake (well the frosting at least) and I was able to sneak in a little nap!

- I listed and sold an item on our Facebook Garage Sale page for my sister-in-law. Made her $15.

- Mark rolled the change in Annabeth's piggy bank. We were able to add more than $50 to her savings account! We also opened a savings account for Owen.

- Mark packed his lunch for work each day and Annabeth and I ate leftovers. I am exclusively nursing Owen so feeding him is free.

- A friend needed her water bottle changed and her husband is out of town. I told her I would bring Mark over to do it. We did it Tuesday evening while out on our family walk. It pushed us to walk further than usual and we helped a friend!

- Annabeth is REALLY into My Little Pony. The day we had Owen's first ultrasound Mark and Owen bought Annabeth a My Little Pony stuffed animal at the hospital gift shop as her "Big Sister" gift. Ever since then she has been really into them! My mama gifted her a My Little Pony shirt that she loves to wear. I have been finding books and Mark found DVDs at the library to help her enjoy them for free!

My Little Pony Nut! 

- I received my Ebates paycheck for this past quarter. We will buy Annabeth's birthday gift with this money.

We had a wonderful week enjoying the great weather and good company with friends!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Friday, August 7, 2015

Frugal Friday 103

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked one night at his part time job

- On Friday, we met friends at the free splash pad in Greenwood. We packed a picnic lunch and Annabeth made chocolate chip muffins to share with her friends.

- Mark's parents returned from visiting South Dakota where Jenn had boxed up 5!!! boxes of hand-me-downs for the kids! Hooray! I washed and organized all of them. Any that are too small for Annabeth or that we did not need I will sell for Jenn at the fall consignment sale and send her a check.

- Luke and Cassidy went to IKEA last week and were kind enough to pick up new kid-tableware for us. We got two sets of plates (10 total), two sets of bowls (10 total), and one set of fork/knife/spoons (5 full sets) for just $10! We had looked at getting one of each thing online but with shipping it would have been $15 so we decided to wait until someone we knew was going to the store. We were able to get 2 extra sets AND save $5!

- I accidentally broke the SD card for our camera and now it is a write only card. I was able to order a new one off Amazon (with free shipping) and I added a book for a birthday gift to my order. I was able to pay for both items and the book's shipping with an Amazon giftcard I earned doing online surveys.

- I made two purchases for Annabeth's birthday party on Etsy. I made sure to run the purchases through Ebates for 2% cash back.

- Our friends the Jones Family gave the kids matching PJs as a Welcome Owen gift. We gave their daughter and son matching PJs when Karsten was born in 2013 and that made this gift all the more special. The kids look adorable - thank you!

She loves to hold his hand
and be his boss. 
She is telling him, "No yelling in pictures." 

- Thursday we had a mall day. I got Annabeth: 2 shirts, 1 dress, 1 tutu, and 1 pair of leggings and I got Owen 1 outfit and 5 pairs of pants all for just $30! I love end of summer/back to school sales!!

Happy back to (home)school everyone!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Annabeth's First Day of Pre-K

Yesterday was our* first day of pre-k!

Pre-back-to-school week went fairly well last week so I was looking forward to starting our new books yesterday. We got up, showered, and dressed because the new window was coming for Owen's room and i didn't want to be in PJs with workers here. (His window had started leaking in May but due to a mix-up at the manufacturer and an incorrect measurement we have been waiting) Annabeth was not especially happy about not having her PJs on for school so I took her out front to take her first day of school picture by our little tree. In the process, I broke my memory card and made it write only thus I couldn't take a picture. Mark quickly took one on his phone before he left for work. He was gone about five minutes before the workers came. We held off school to watch the window installers take out the old window and put in our new one. Annabeth enjoyed this very much and made the workers smile by making them a special drawing.

We did actual school in three 30 minute shifts. Annabeth loved getting out her new books and being able to use her new markers. This year we are going to focus a lot on how to correctly hold a pen/pencil and on drawing correct lines and shapes and eventually all of her letters. I was very pleased with her attentiveness to the lessons and her writing.

After we were done for the day, I looked at the first day picture that Mark had sent only to realize that Annabeth was blinking! :( We ended up doing a re-take after dinner in an outfit that Mark bought Annabeth and picked out for this picture. Doesn't he have great taste?

Today was our second day and Annabeth did just as well with her lessons! I am excited for this year and excited to see what we learn together!

*I choose to use the pronoun "our" because our family believes that homeschool is a family experience. Our homeschool is not just about us teaching Annabeth but rather about all of us learning and growing together*

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Owen's 2 Month Picture

Today Mr. O is 2 months old!!

I stepped on our scale at home and weighed him - he is a whopping 15 lbs 3 oz!!!
He has gained 7 lbs since he was born!

We cannot believe that we have already shared two months with him!

Owen Merit. 
2 Months Old.
August 2, 2013