Tuesday, September 29, 2015

We Loved Them First

There is someone in my life who I often accuse of living in the past. I always complain that this person thinks the best years of their life was when their children were young. I have judged their inability to see how beautiful life is right now.

I am sorry.
I get it now.

My children are young, almost 4 years old and almost 4 months old - both happening this week, and I cannot imagine life any more wonderful.

I spend my days cuddling.
I spend my day holding hands.
I spend my days giving kisses.
I spend my days reading.
I answer questions. I ask different questions.
I think.
I dream.
I build "dream castles."
I play house.
I clean house.
I dance.
I sing.
I make Anna-butter and jelly sandwhiches.
I nurse Owen.

Some moments feel tedious.
Some moments feel long.
Some moments feel rough.

But at the end of the day, it always feels too short. There are not enough hours for all the love I want to give.

Maybe it's because Annabeth is our Miracle Girl. Our one whose heart stopped, whose first breath didn't come. Our one who the Lord so graciously saw fit to save. Who made us Mama and Daddy.

Maybe it's because Owen fixed parts of me that I didn't realize were broken. Our one who fulfilled dreams I didn't know I had - a perfect delivery, to be a boy-mama. Our one who completes us.

Today I realized they won't always be just ours. They will grow up. They will choose their friends over us on Friday nights. They will move out. And eventually, someday, they will love someone more than us. They will each, I pray, fall head-over-heels in love and be sure that they have never loved anyone that much nor have they ever been loved so much. They will be wrong, we loved them first and God loves them most.

But until Annabeth meets a man that she wants to dance with more than Daddy and before Owen finds a woman that makes him smile bigger than I do, they are ours.

We're doing our very best to love them first and we are sure that God is loving them best.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Frugal Friday 110

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I spent an evening catching up on my erewards surveys in my e-mail. My goal is to try to earn two $25 Amazon gift cards before Christmas to help with Christmas shopping.

- Mark worked overtime at work and also one night at his part-time job.

- Mark worked security the SSPOM consignment sale. They paid very generously by the hour.

- I refused an offer to preshop the SSPOM sale. Mark was given a presale pass for working security but since neither of the kids had a genuine need I did not go. I was curious to check out this sale but knew I would spend money on items we didn't really need. I will preshop our consignment sale in a few weeks though.

- Sunday we stayed home after church. Mark deep cleaned the living room and mowed the lawn. I spent 6+ hours getting everything tagged and hung for the consignment sale. Mark helped me cut out the card stock tags and Annabeth helped separate the plastic taggies.

250 items tagged and ready to go!

- We ate at home all week. I made two crockpot meals and am really trying to get back in the habit of cooking "real" meals.

- I did some Christmas shopping at Target. I used a $10 giftcard to cover more than 1/3 of our total bill.

- My friend Alysha brought us some Huggies rewards tags. Thank you!

- We shopped at Kohl's and combined a toy sale + coupon + gift card for Annabeth to buy her Christmas gift to Owen. She chose a teething toy and another toy. She was very methodical and thoughtful in her choosing. We also found a good deal on PJs for Mr. O in the next size. We saved $18.49 and spent just $.41 OOP.

- We spent Wednesday outside with friends. Mr. O ended up with some major heat rash after the afternoon so I decided that Thursday we would stay in. We had a game day and Annabeth fell in love with Jenga!

She LOVED Jenga and enjoyed it much more than her card or board games.

We had a great week! We were able to catch up with friends we hadn't seen in a while and also enjoyed lots of outside time with the beautiful fall weather.

Happy Fall and Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Friday, September 18, 2015

Frugal Friday 109

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark and Annabeth spent Sunday afternoon fishing. They caught six fish and they both loved being out together.

- I redeemed Old Navy cash to purchase a Christmas gift for free.

- Mark worked two shifts at his usual part time job.

- We did NOT go to the grocery. We have made due with what we purchased 10 days ago. This helped us use up items in the fridge/freezer/pantry

- I cleaned out Annabeth's dresser and closet from summer items. I know we will still have some warm days so I just took out the items that I know will be too small next spring. They went into next springs sale tote. I also cleaned out a large amount of plastic hangers from her closet. They went to the recycling and she now has more room in her closet.

- I put a request on Facebook for wire hangers since the consignment sale requires wire hangers. Two friends brought us TONS of hangers which will save me from having to purchase them. Thank you Ann and Kara!

- I asked Annabeth to choose 4 toys to get rid of before her 4th birthday. She chose three little stuffed animals and one large one. They are truly ones that she does not play or sleep with. I was proud of her for choosing so carefully. My goal was to make a little more room in the toy chests before her birthday toys come.

- We took a big box to Goodwill. The box included clothes from Annabeth and myself as well as the four toys she cleaned out.

- Friends from our homeschool group reviewed a board game and were able to pick a friend to receive a game free in the mail. They chose us! We have enjoyed playing "Feed the Woozle" from Peaceable Kingdom. Thank you Templeman Family - it gave us some fun this week! :)

- I took advantage of a letter writing opportunity through the UofL Alumni Association called Cards Writing Cards. I was given the materials to write "Welcome to the Alumni Family" letters to 20 graduates of the 2015 class. It was my pleasure to write to, and pray for, these 20 people.

 The day we found out Owen was a boy, we went to the mall and each of us picked
out outfits for him. Annabeth HAD to have this shirt for her Owen! 
Isn't he handsome?!

Our week was pretty mellow as Annabeth was sick Monday- Thursday, Owen had it by Wednesday evening, and even Mark stayed home sick from work on Thursday.

Hope you all had a healthier week than us.

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Peaceable Kingdom Games

Over the summer, our friends the Templeman Family from our homeschool group reviewed a board game they played and in turn were able to send a free board game to a friend. They chose us! I was able to go to the Peaceable Kingdom website and pick a game for our family.

I chose "Feed the Woozle." Thank you Templeman Family!

The game came in the mail this week and we have loved playing it. The game is constructed of high quality materials and the company has a free replacement policy in case pieces are lost or broken. I love that their games are cooperative games, designed for the group to truly play with each other and not against the other. One only wins if the whole group works together to win. The game that we received has three instructions for three different age groups. Annabeth is very capable of playing with the 3-4 year old instructions and can play about half of the 4-5 year old instructions. When she is much older, I am sure we will enjoy playing with the 5-6 year old instructions.

Peaceable Kingdom says their mission is to: Make good, do good, be good!

I was excited to receive a high quality game that was truly age appropriate and fun! I was also excited to find a whole line of games that our family can play as a family! :)

We look forward to purchasing and playing more games in the years to come.

*This review consists of my own observations and opinions. I was not compensated for this review*

Friday, September 11, 2015

Frugal Friday 108

Happy Frugal Friday!!!

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

- We visited my family in Evansville/Owensboro for Labor Day. We sorted through some things from my Grandma Chico's house and we brought back lots of dishes for our house. The plates we got from our wedding have been chipping so we are glad to have new (to us) ones.

- We purchased a cake for my sister's birthday. We were able to eat it Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! It was delicious and we were glad to eat it for several desserts.

- We took our old printer on our trip to Evansville. We had purchased one that doesn't work with our computers. Mama and Dad will either keep it or if they find they don't need it either, they will sell it at an upcoming garage sale.

- Annabeth has decided to be a "blue ghost" for Halloween. She picked this over the summer and has held firm. She said she just wants us to cut eye and mouth holes in a blue sheet. She mentioned it while visiting my Momaw. Momaw gave her a pillowcase and my Mama made the eye and mouth holes. It is not blue but does have some blue decorative parts on it. She LOVES it and walked around scaring everyone. I love that my child is as frugal as I am!

- We pre-paid Annabeth's dance for the year. Our dance school offers a discount for having a member's card and for paying for the whole year up front. We were able to save well over $100 for the year!

Our beautiful, Miracle Girl doing her flower dance

- We received a phone call that our energy company wants to add a energy saving box to our air
conditioner. It will give us a $25 credit on our next bill and should save us $5/month or more during the hot time of year. We had done this at our old house and I thought I had already done it here so we were happy to take advantage of this deal.

- We received an ad in the mail for a Disney movie club. We knew it was junk mail but it had Mickey Mouse on the front so we let Annabeth open it. It had a sheet of stickers inside with the offer. She was SO happy to have stickers from Mickey!!

- Mark worked one shift at his part-time job.

- Annabeth homemade Grandparent's Day cards. Grandparents Day is this Sunday, September 13.

- We took advantage of the annual sale at the Stride Rite Outlet. Shoes there were Buy One, Get One 50% + 2x Rewards points. I was able to save $53.04 using the outlet store prices and the 2nd pair 50% off. I also earned our next $10 reward. I will fill out a survey and earn $5 off our next purchase which I will add to the $10 for $15 off our next purchase.

- I printed my tags for the fall consignment sale. A friend also dropped off wire hangers! Thank you Ann! Our sale requires wire hangers and I always try to get as many free as I can!

- We saw on Disney Junior that children can now write a letter to Sofia from Sofia the First and she will respond. Annabeth had fun writing a letter and drew Sofia a spider. I thought this was a pretty fun activity for just the cost of a stamp.

We had a long week here as Mark's Grandpa Ed went Home this past Saturday. We are missing him but are eternally grateful to our Lord and Savior for the blessing of Eternal Life.

Happy Savings to All. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Frugal Friday 107

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I received a FREE Shutterfly photo book in my e-mail. I did not even have to redeem any points for this book. Thank you Pampers Rewards! I will save the code and use it to print a photo book later this fall.

- Saturday, we traveled an hour north to go to a FREE family carnival at Mark's aunt and uncle's church. We enjoyed games, bounce houses, and visiting with his family. Annabeth loved getting her face painted for the first time and really loved hours in the bounce houses.

Her first face paint: Olaf. 

- Sunday evening, Mark's parents brought us dinner. His mom made meatloaf, noodles, and salad. She also brought 3 lbs of watermelon. I had also purchased watermelon for the weekend so Monday morning Annabeth and I took some to share with friends in the neighborhood. Their girls were pretty excited!

- I finished tagging items for the fall consignment sale. I have 250 items that will need tagged later this month! This is over double the amount of items I had in the spring sale!

- I ordered more plastic tags off Amazon in anticipation of using them to save tagging time. In the spring, I ran out of plastic tags and used safety pins but it REALLY added to the amount of time it took to get ready. I was able to get 5,000 tags for less than $7 thanks to an Amazon gift card I earned taking online surveys.

- Annabeth and I homemade three gifts to give this week. We gave two for a birthday gift and one for a baby shower. I am thankful to be getting back into crafting again!

- I found some size 1 and size 2 diapers in the bottom of the diaper bag. I took them to families with kids in those sizes. Our friend Ann traded us for a cute shirt for Annabeth! Annabeth was so excited! :)

- I renewed OnStar for the year and saved $50 by waiting until 21 days from the due date. My Mama gave me this hint last year and it's well worth it to wait!! :)

- We attended Homeschool Days at Conner Prairie. On these days students are $5.50 and the teachers are FREE! Saved $21.50 off regular admission price!

With my two favorite students :)

We had a fun and busy week. Hope you did too!!

Happy Savings to All!

"Buy Used and Save the Difference"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Homemade Hair Bow Holders

When Annabeth was a baby I stored all of her hair bows in her top drawer with hats, socks, etc. However, once she turned one and actually had some hair I wanted a better way to organize her hair bows. My friend Sarah had made an adorable bow holder for her daughter Bella so I copied her and made one for Annabeth when we moved into the new house.

I found the frame for Annabeth's at the Coal Mine Museum Garage Sale and painted it white. The white, blue, and flowered ribbon were from my stash from Grandma Chico. I loved having some of her ribbon used in Annabeth's room. I now use the bow holder for her some of her BIG bows and easily crushed bows. The other 50 or so bows are in a big box on her dresser. We may have a bow problem around here...

Annabeth's Bow Holder

A few weeks ago, I was talking with Mama and mentioned that our friend Cindy and her husband are expecting their first child, a girl! Cindy and her mom Teri are our sweet friends from church and have always loved Annabeth so much. They always look at her outfits and hair bows so I knew if Cindy's baby was a girl I wanted to gift her something very girlie and princess like. Mama suggested I make their baby a bow holder and I agreed! 

I found a very pretty textured frame at Goodwill. Mark took the original print out and cleaned/painted it for Baby Abigail. Her nursery will have a Noah's Ark theme and the bedding is blue and yellow so I added blue and yellow ribbons for the base. Annabeth and I had fun shopping for bows for her too. We left open space for more bows that she may receive. 

 Abigail's Bow Holder

I love Annabeth's bow holder and am so thankful that Sarah showed me this idea. It also made a wonderful baby shower gift as Cindy immediately knew who it was from. She was so happy and that made us happy. We look forward to welcoming our new little friend Abigail Sophia in October.