Friday, November 27, 2015

Frugal Friday 119

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Friday night we made a frozen pizza for dinner and then drove up to church for a free movie night. We enjoyed watching Inside Out and Annabeth loved eating popcorn and playing with her friends.

- A few months ago, Annabeth shot a commercial for a local toy store. The commercial is almost done and when we went to turn in our photo release the store owner gave us 50% off one item. Since the kids were with me, and I am done Christmas shopping for them, I just allowed Annabeth to choose a small item. She chose a Shopkins set and was SO excited. She said, "This is the BEST DAY EVER, even better than getting mail from Sofia the First!"

- After church on Sunday, Mark kept the kids in the car and I ran into two stores for a quick gift and a gift card. This saved me SO much time as well as gas money.

- Mark and his brother Luke went hunting last weekend and Luke got his first deer. Luke and his wife live in an apartment and don't have a deep freeze right now. We are storing the meat in ours and they are letting us eat some of it. Sunday evening we enjoyed our first venison roast of the year. So good! Thank you to Luke for the deer and Mark for making dinner! :)

- I finally looked into Target's Cartwheel app (Yes, Sarah Stair, I know you've been telling me to do it forever) We used some of the coupons to save on Christmas shopping. We saved an extra 10% on Mr. O's stocking and 20% on a toy.

- I had ordered a Christmas gift from Zulily over the summer and when I opened the package to wrap it this week and found that it was horribly stained! :( I tried treating and washing it but the stain would not come out. I called Zulily and much to my surprise they totally refunded my purchase. I was able to find something similar online and the site had FREE shipping. I just hope it comes in time to gift next Friday!

We had a great week and got a lot of things done around the house. We also started Christmas wrapping which was fun to teach Annabeth some basic gift wrap techniques. We also had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Mark's Family.

We pray that you all have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Weekend!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Frugal Friday 118

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- The kids and I visited my family in Evansville for a long weekend. My parents treated us to meals out as well as a zoo day! We had so much fun visiting with them and are so thankful for the time away!

- I resisted the urge to stop for restaurant food on our way back from Evansville. We came home and cooked dinner. Not as much "fun" as eating out but it was much cheaper and far healthier.

- We received money back through Walmart Savings Catcher. I will save it online until we plan to shop at Walmart or Sam's Club again.

- Mark worked a night at his part time job.

- I listed four items for sale on our local Facebook garage sale pages.

- We grocery shopped for the first time in two weeks. We received two items entirely free with coupons - one bottle of Propel water and one frozen pizza. Unfortunately, I somehow purchased cat treats - I am guessing they were the man's in front of me and the checked checked them out as mine. They were $1 but I found a friend who can use them. Freebie for their family!

- I cashed in an offer from Kellogg's Family Rewards for 101 FREE prints and an offer from Pampers for a FREE Christmas themed gift (both from Shutterfly) and only paid shipping. Saved: $40.14

- We enjoyed a field trip to the Kid's Commons Museum in Columbus. As part of a group class deal, we paid just $5.50 for admission and a special class with our Homeschool Group. We packed our lunch and enjoyed playing at the indoor playground before and after the class.

We both love the bubble room at the Kid's Commons. 

We had a good week catching up on housework and school. We are looking forward to a fun-filled week next week as we anticipate celebrating Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Frugal Friday 117

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked one night at his part time job

- This is the first year that Annabeth has really been aware of advertising for Christmas and has been asking and asking for toy after toy. We were not especially happy with this and so we decided to have her do the Samaritan's Purse shoebox project this year. I took her to the store, gave her a budget, and allowed her to pick anything she thought a little girl might like. We also included some little stickers and notebooks that we had on hand at home. I used a $5 giftcard to offset some of the cost. I pray that Annabeth will learn to love GIVING instead of receiving.

- I ordered a November birthday gift from Kohl's. I shopped through Ebates, arranged for in store pick-up (saved $8.95 on shipping), and saved $14.40 off the original price by shopping a sale event.

- I cashed in my eRewards bucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I was able to buy a skin care product for myself and a Christmas gift for less than $5 OOP.

- Sunday afternoon I cleaned out Annabeth's closet. I was able to find (I think) all of the pieces to the crib AND the directions! Our goal is to have Mr. O's crib built by the end of the month! I am not sure how he will do sleeping in his own room (most nights he sleeps in his bed next to ours, holding my hand) but we are going to give it a try!

- We cut Mark and Annabeth's hair at home.

- I took Annabeth to a Monday night dance class since she had to miss her usual classes this week. Classes are paid upfront each month and non-refundable so when we have to miss I always work to do a make-up class.

- Mark's Great Grandpa Bob entered the Life Eternal last week. The visitation and services were this week and the family sent home all of the kid snacks from the visitation for Annabeth. She really enjoyed the special Scooby Doo cookies and gummies. Thank you to family and friends who thought of the little ones!

Mr. O meeting his Great-Great Grandpa Bob.
This was taken in June at Grandpa's birthday party.
So glad they were able to meet and to take a generational/sheriff picture. 

Annabeth's Baptism Day - December 2011
5 Generations
Great-Grandpa Ed, Annabeth, Daddy, Great-Great Grandpa Bob. and PawPaw
I am so thankful we have this memory. 

Our week was an emotional and difficult week. We thank and praise the Lord for the incredible life that Great Grandpa Bob lived. We are so thankful for his service in the military, police dept, and sheriff's office. I am so thankful for his encouragement to Mark as a grandson and a deputy. We are so thankful for his love for our family. We have peace in the knowledge that he is Home with Jesus but will miss him dearly.

Happy Savings to All.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mama Ministry

During my high school years, at Old North's youth group and Camp Lakeview I really fell in love with the Lord. I fell in love with studying his word, with prayer, with giving to others, and I really fell in love with sharing the Gospel in word and deed.

Thanks to the wonderful encouragement of so many Camp Lakeview staff members, especially Lark and Whitney, as well as one of my youth group leaders Heather, I felt pushed to live a life of love for Christ and his people.

In college, I quickly found that I was not one to lead worship or preach or work in music ministry, I felt more at home serving meals or meeting one on one with people. I also quickly realized that formal group Bible study was not for me. Even so, I very much imagined a life active in the church and church fellowship much like the example I had from my grandparents and parents as they all, in different capacities, have joyfully served their churches and community.

After college and college summers spent working at Lakeview, I got lost.
Where did I fit in the ministry?
How did I fit in ministry?
What work did the Lord want me to be doing and why was it not clear?

The I became a Mama.
For a while I knew, very clearly, that my job was to train up my children in the word of the Lord.
(Proverbs 22:6)
But what else? Surely there was something else the Lord would have me do.

I continued to make friends, develop relationships, go to play groups, school Annabeth, etc and all the while I wondered when God would show me what I was supposed to be doing for Him.

Then one day, I realized, I already was. I was working in the "Mama Ministry." I was meeting strangers and making them friends. I was taking meals to people, baby sitting, encouraging, lending an ear, opening our home and doing it all because I love Him. I may not present each of these opportunities as a Bible study and I may not hand out a Bible worksheet to people who come in. But I pray that our open door, the food on our table, the gifts we share, are a light for Him in this often dark world.

My life, my family's lives, are His. We are His people, designed by him fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and to Him be all the glory. Amen.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." - Acts 20:24 (My favorite verse)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Frugal Friday 116

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We ate leftovers from our Homeschool Group Halloween Party for two meals. There were a ton of juice boxes left over that made for a special treat for Mark and Annabeth who both love juice. One family also left us a homemade pumpkin pie to enjoy. Thank you!

- We had four cans of paint not opened for the party. I will save them for future art projects.

- We decided not to hand out Halloween candy and saved the cost of purchasing treats. Mark worked that night so we just took the kids out for a quick trip to a few neighbors and then home again for a quiet evening.

- Annabeth and I decorated for Thanksgiving. For our dinner table we use little pumpkins left over from the Pumpkin Party, a turkey cloth from my Grandma Chico, and a homemade pinecone turkey made in school this week by Annabeth.

- I finally finished and ordered Annabeth's Birthday photo book. I used a FREE book code from Pampers Rewards to just pay shipping. I also ordered through eBates to earn cash back. Saved: $29.99

- Mark worked two nights at his part time job.

- We did our grocery shopping at Walmart. We do not usually do a big Walmart trip but we get our prescriptions filled there and then purchase certain items (with coupons) that are always less in their store. We did our monthly grocery shop and spent a bit more than we thought we should. I know some items were more than I usually spend per item at Kroger (by $.25) so I came home at set up a "Savings Catcher" account in case any items were advertised for less elsewhere. Mark has had one of these accounts for a while but since I do the pharmacy run I thought it would be a good idea for me to get one too. We will hopefully get some money back in the next few months!

- I had FREE greeting cards and FREE shipping through Shutterfly from Kellogg's Family Rewards. The kids and I made and ordered some cute greeting cards. Saved: $27.00

- We played with friends on the north side of Indy and resisted the urge to just stop and pick up dinner. Instead, we came home and made shrimp tempura with rice and veggies. It was still done by the time that Mark got home and much healthier than fast food! I am REALLY trying to get out of the habit of stopping for fast food on the way home from busy days.

We had a great week! The weather has been beautiful so we have enjoyed running and playing outside! Mr. O is becoming busier and busier as well! He is becoming more and more fun for Annabeth to play with!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

30 Day Clean Out: Final Check In

Today is Day 30 of my 30 Day Clean Out!

Here is what I have been getting rid of:

Day 21: I parted with 10 items from my china cabinet - old towels, girl baby bibs, and a fall sewing pattern I will never use.

Day 22: I cleaned out the drawer in our Breakfast Room table. I threw away 2 broken items, recycled 15 envelopes, expired coupons, and old notes of things to do.

Day 23: We only got rid of 1 item today but it was tough to let go of. Annabeth finally admitted that her glitter pink boots from last year are too small. She put them in the donate box all by herself! I was so glad!

Day 24: I cleaned out the lazy susan in our kitchen. I had gotten a couple of cutesy-kitchen items as gifts and have never opened/used them. I will put them in my gift tote as they could make cute additions to shower gifts in the future. I got rid of a TON of plastic tableware that I had been saving for "someday" which has never come in six years of marriage. I also got rid of a glass decanter that we were gifted for our wedding - this was a particularly inappropriate gift as we do not drink or serve alcohol in. I was glad to finally let go of this "our friends gave it to us, we should keep it" item!

Day 25: Annabeth and I cleaned out the toys in the living room. 10 items went to the trash, 4 to recycling, and I made her pick 1 toy to donate. She chose a baby doll that she really doesn't play with. I was so happy to see everything neatly organized on the shelves again!

Day 26: I put out a bunch of things during our Homeschool Group Halloween Party. People took little notebooks, calendars, and other things that my Momaw had given to us. Anything that was not taken went to recycling.

Day 27: I cleaned out some of Owen's 12 month items that he has outgrown. 4 things went in a bag to return to a friend who loaned them to us.

Day 28: I washed and moved the kids' Halloween outfits out of their drawers. This was 6 things for Annabeth and 5 things for Owen moved out of dressers into the sale tote.

Day 29: Since Annabeth's birthday party and our Homeschool Group Party are over, I cleaned all of the hidden toys out of Owen's room and returned them to the play area. (I like to hide items that are especially noisy or that roll as they could run over crawling babies' fingers) There were 4 toys that Annabeth had not asked about or played with in Owen's room in the last month. They went into the donate box and will go to Goodwill tomorrow. I usually ask her to pick but she always says she wants everything and this felt like a good time to really evaluate what she loves to play with and what could go. We also took 4 boxes and 1 tote of paper to the recycling center.

Day 30: I moved 4 clothing items from my closet to the donate tote. I had a bad habit of holding onto clothes that "I might wear someday..." I had really sorted while expecting Owen during the "nesting" phase but I still had a couple of summer items that needed to go.

Total Items Gone: 334!!


The first 10 days were very easy. I had started with a few pretty good ideas on areas that I needed/wanted to clean out. The second set of 10 days were still pretty easy as the kids are growing quickly and it motivated me to really go through their clothing. The last set has been the most difficult, I had to really push myself to get rid of a lot of "I might use this..." or "We may need this..." or "What if I need this in 4 years..." items.

Overall, I am really pleased with the outcome. Although much of the house still looks the same, I know that I have gotten rid of a lot of little things. I can now close storage totes that were overflowing. I can see what is in my drawers. I can find things more easily in our files. And you know what, not once have I missed any of the items that I got rid of.

This has been a great exercise in letting go. I tend to do a big clean towards the end of winter every year as I have been cooped up and need to change my surroudnings and last year was the biggest clean out ever. Something about being pregnant with Owen has made me much less sentimental and while I was pregnant I just kept giving things away and throwing things away! It felt wonderful and really jump started this whole process.

What do you consider junk? What would you give away in your own 30 day clean out?