Friday, May 27, 2016

Frugal Friday 144

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I passed along maternity clothes to a friend. These were items I am attached to and was having a hard time donating. Jen is such a sweet friend and a wonderful Mama and it made it easy to give them to her!

- A co-worker/friend gifted us a tv and a tv stand. We didn't need a new tv but he insisted so we have it now. The tv stand was an awesome surprise since Annabeth chewed on our old one a month ago. It was not made of real wood so it couldn't easily be sanded and painted or stained so we had just been living with the old one. It was also frustrating because it was rather low and now that Owen is pulling up he was constantily messing with all of the cords, dvd  player, etc. Now we have a slimmer, taller cabinet and he cannot reach anything! It is so much nicer! It is oak so we are planning to sand and stain it darker in a few weeks.

- Mark and Annabeth went to Touch-A-Truck. This $5 (per child) event raises money for a charity called Beats for Bristol. Annabeth loves to see the school bus every year!

- Mark worked 24 hours at his part time job in addition to his full time job.

- I ordered a photo gift from Shutterfly using a coupon code to get the item FREE! Saved: $19.99

- We took the kids to the park and pool for our Anniversary. The water was still very cold but Annabeth and Mark loved it anyway! Owen and I enjoyed putting our toes in a few times but preferred to sit in the sun!

- We ate our anniversary lunch out at a pizza buffet. Kids eat free plus we were there at the end and the manager sent us home with all of the garlic breadsticks and dessert breadsticks from the buffet! Bread is the perfect anniversary gift for me!!

- I made a trip to Dollar Tree with the last of our Christmas gift cards. I was able to get all of the paper supplies for Owen's birthday party as well as some other party decorations and favors. All for FREE!

- We bought Owen his first pair of shoes! Since he is one next week, I decided it might be time to stop taking him barefoot everywhere. We went to the Stride Rite Outlet and saved $13.01 off the regular price.

Mr. O looks pretty happy in his first shoes!
It's like he knows he is almost one - he looks like a toddler now!

- We met friends in Columbus and the Stair family shared baby food for Owen and the Ebling family shared some fun snacks for the family. Thank you all!

- We were able to give away our old tv. We received a tv as a Christmas gift and the old one has been in our dining room since December. We were not able to find anyone who wanted or needed it and they can no longer be donated at Goodwill. We finally found someone who needed it through a family in our homeshool group. We were more than happy to share!

We had a great week and are looking forward to enjoying Memorial Day Weekend with family.

Happy Savings to All!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Marriage is saying "Yes"

Marriage is like an improv act - the secret is saying "yes"

Marriage is saying yes..

Yes, I will marry you.
Yes, I will help you have the wedding you imagined
    (even if it meant I had 10x the number of people I wanted there)
Yes, I will move 3 hours north for you.
Yes, I will take a temp job because we need the money.
Yes, I will work days/nights/7 days a week because I love my wife.
Yes, I will go to your family's holidays alone while you work.
Yes, let's move! Let's buy the dream house!
Yes, you can have a man cave.
Yes, you can have a craft room.
Yes, I will take you to see a panda in real life.
Yes, there are raccoons in the attic.
Yes, that is a Ferrel cat we caught in the cage.
Yes, we are having a baby!
Yes, it's a girl!
Yes, I am sure it's time to go to the hospital.
Yes, I will leave you alone in labor.
Yes, nurse, I will go back in to help my wife.
Yes, she is going to be okay.
Yes, God is so good.
Yes, I will help you recover.
Yes, I will meet you at the ER.
Yes, I will help you apply for your dream job.
Yes, I got my dream job!
Yes, let's move to Franklin.
Yes, stop crying, I am sure it's the perfect house.
Yes, I will help you through knee surgery and recovery.
Yes, I will go to church even though I worked all night.
Yes, let's have another baby.
Yes, we are having another baby!
Yes, it's a boy!
Yes, my wife does want to be induced.
Yes, I will go to lunch so you can labor in quiet.
Yes, our baby is coming!!
Yes, he is perfect!
Yes, I will get up with the kids so you can sleep in.
Yes, I will get up with the kids so you can sleep in since you let me do that yesterday.
Yes, I am sorry.
Yes, I forgive you.
Yes, I will value you and consider you before myself.
Yes, I will forsake all others.
Yes, I will love you more today than I did yesterday.
Yes, I will love you more than I love myself.
Yes, I will continue to keep God first in my life and our marriage.
Yes, I will keep saying yes even when I am afraid, annoyed, confused, tired because I love you enough to keep saying yes. Always.

Happy Seventh Anniversary to my Forever.

Our Wedding Cake Napkins.
Ironic because we never said "I do" 
Our vows were 
"Yes, with the help of God." 

Photo Credit: Michelle Forsche @

Friday, May 20, 2016

Frugal Friday 143

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- We enjoyed a park play day with our Homeschool Group.

- I received a $5 gift card from Starbucks for filling out a survey for their company. I received the survey in my e-mail and it only took about five minutes to complete. When I went to get my drink, I ordered a grande so it would be covered by the giftcard. Somehow they messed it up and I got a venti!! Double bonus!

- We took advantage of two "Kids Eat Free" deals when we ate out.

- I continued to clean out clothes and we took a whole tote to donate. It feels like I have been working on my closet and dresser for a year! I feel like I should not have anything left in either and yet I still have plenty of things. I am really, really trying to let go of things!

- We did only a small restock grocery trip this week. Last week we had a $70 trip which lasts us two weeks with the exception of restocking milk and fresh fruits/veggies.

- Thursday our homeschool group took a tour of the Sheriff's Office. Our family was very proud to show off our JCSO family to our homeschool group. All of the kids enjoyed the tour as well as the coloring books, stickers, and sheriff star badges that they received. Thank you to Sheriff Cox and his staff - especially Deputy Bob Farris for hosting our tour.

"Deputy" Riley right at home in the driver's seat of a Sheriff's car.
She says she wants to be a Deputy like Daddy not work in the jail like Mama. 
(Photo Credit: Betsy Lucas)

We had a busy last week of school and we are SO excited for summer vacation!
We are looking forward to having Mark home quite a bit over the next few weeks as well as looking ahead to Owen's 1st birthday (just 13 days away - how did that happen?!) 

Happy Savings to All! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Last Day of Pre-K

Yes, you read that right, it is our last day of Pre-K!

It is so crazy to think that we have closed the chapter on Annabeth's preschool/Pre-K years of life and that she is moving on to Kindergarten in the fall! It is even more crazy to realize that we are already 3 years into our homeschool journey!

This year Annabeth completed the Horizon's Pre-K books. We really delved into the days of creation as well as Old Testament stories through Noah. She especially loves math and has fallen in love with addition and subtraction by ones. She, reluctantly, really worked on and improved her handwriting this year as well. We enjoyed doing science with experiments and time in nature. We also enjoyed history while reading some of the Little House picture books (thank you Gina for the suggestion) and we completed the Addy and Samantha American Girl books with in depth discussions.

 Last Day of School Picture.
We always take a first and last day of school picture by our little tree out front. 

Last Day of School Survey.
We always do a first and last day of school survey.
It is so fun to see how her favorites change!

Looking ahead to this summer, we will continue with The Reading Lesson. We are currently in the middle of Lesson 5 (of 20) and are going completely at her pace as she learns to read. I have also set the goal to read one of her children's Bibles in its entirety. As we focused heavily on the beginning of the Old Testament this year, her New Testament stories need to be refreshed. Annabeth is currently very into the plagues in Exodus and I would love for her to fall in love with some more uplifting stories. We will also enjoy taking part in our library's Summer Reading Program.

In the fall, more likely in August, we will pick back up with Horizons Kindergarten Health, Math, and Reading/Phonics. We will continue to incorporate art, history, music, and science from other sources.

We have had another great school year but I am looking forward to a summer of play and fun! Late May and June are a very busy time of year here so I am extra thankful to be finished with formal lessons before we head into the next busy six weeks or so.

Happy end of the school year to all our friends!

Friday, May 13, 2016

We Have Pets!

Yes, you read that correctly, we have pets!

If you know me you are probably thinking - what? how? really?!

Yes, friends, I caved.

Mark, and Uncle Luke for that matter, have said for a while that Annabeth "needs" a pet. I have always said no. I have very little spare time and definitely don't have the energy for taking care of a pet. Annabeth is severely allergic to animals so that pretty much left us with fish or reptile - neither of which give cuddles or love.

A few weeks ago Annabeth started saying she wished she had a pet. When we stayed at my parents last weekend, Annabeth spent most of her time inside trying to "train" Uli who is our nearly 15 year old dog. Uli did not learn any new tricks but she did enjoy all of the extra pats and cheesy treats.

Then, yesterday afternoon, while playing outside, Annabeth found a caterpillar. She named it Calli and carried her all around the yard. She spent hours talking to Calli and even took her on a bike ride. She found a container and put leaves in it for Calli to eat. We saved her long enough for Mark to see when he got home. We let Annabeth say good-bye to Calli and put her back in a tree. Annabeth was sad to leave her outside but we explained that bringing her inside would make her die. We explained that God made her outside and wants her to stay outside. Annabeth seemed a bit sad but carried on with our evening.

After she was in bed a while, she came out, teary eyed and said, "I really miss Calli." Annabeth asked me to go print the pictures I had taken so she could see her again. Then she said, "I loved Calli and she loved me. I guess that makes me a 'pet muh-ver' (mother)" I tucked her back in bed, promising we would look for Calli in the morning.

I went back to the living room, told Mark what she had said (that pet 'muh-ver' part really got me), and then said words I never thought I would say:
"Okay, I guess we can get her a fish."
Mark replied,
"I will bring her home one tomorrow!"

So, friends, we are now proud fish owners.
Mark brought home three little orange fish today. He and Annabeth had fun setting up the tank, filling it with pink rocks, cute plants, and even some jewels. The the two of them spent hours watching their fish. They even ate dinner with the fish. Mark said that he has always loved fish and I think maybe he is just as excited as Annabeth.

Annabeth has named her fish Tiana, Snow White, and Aurora. She talked to them, told them stories, showed them her toys, and ran to report every little thing they were doing. The one she calls Tiana likes to swim right next to her at the edge of the tank. She is in love.

 "Cover your eyes we have a surprise for you...."
 Joy! "My own fish!"
 Mark, Owen, and Annabeth watching their fish eat dinner.

Annabeth is so happy to be a "pet muh-ver!"

Frugal Friday 142

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I used items we had on hand to make my Derby hat. I also took advantage of free printables from Polka Dot Chair to add to roses for a Derby flower arrangement for Momaw.

- Owen won $45 off our Derby bets. We added that money to his savings account.

- We gave three handpainted picture frames for a birthday gift and two Mother's Day gifts. We also hand-made cards for the holidays.

- Mark and the kids sent me beautiful lillies for Mother's Day! We have been enjoying them all week!

Yellow and white lillies are my favorite!

- My family sent us home with a box of leftovers from the weekend. We were blessed with a bag of slider buns, a loaf of bread, three boxes of cereal, baby snacks for Owen, and my favorite cookies. Thank you all!

- I received my consignment sale check. I paid my sister-in-law Jenn for her portion, set aside a tithe for church, and put the rest in my 30th Birthday Trip savings. Usually sale money goes to things for the kids but they currently do not have any needs so my trip savings got a boost!

- I received my freebies from PinchMe. I am excited to try and review lots of good looking products this month!
This month's freebies from PinchMe. I am especially looking forward to the mud mask!

- We enjoyed lunch out with friends on Tuesday at Chilli's for kids-eat-free day. We saved $4.99 on Annabeth's kids' meal and ate the leftovers for two additional meals.

- I ordered Owen's big-boy car seat from Amazon. I used a $14 gift card to help offset the cost. I also shopped through eBates for 3% cashback.

- We spent lots of time outside. 70 degree weather is perfect for us!

Annabeth was showing Owen "Calli" the caterpillar she found.
She carried him around for a few hours and then we put him in a tree.

We hope you all enjoyed the Derby, Mother's Day, and beautiful weather as well!

Happy Savings to All! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Derby Day 2016

Last Saturday we traveled to Owensboro for my Momaw's annual Derby Party.

We love to celebrate the running of the Kentucky Derby with my family.

This year, I did not have time to make a fancy Derby hat, mostly because I used these amazing horse designs for my nails by Jamberry and they ended up taking much longer than I anticipated to apply. For my hat, I used a horse scarf I won a few years ago (for best hat) and I also wore my horse earrings that I won one year.  (Thank you Jamberry consultant and friend Sarah for the nail decoration suggestion)

Momaw's 86th birthday was May 5, then Derby was May 7, and Mother's Day was May 8 so I chose to make a floral Derby arrangement as her gift for all of those days. I hand-picked single roses at the florist, added greenery from my parents' yard, and used Derby printables from Polka Dot Chair to make a special Derby decoration for the party.

We had a beautiful 80 degree day for Derby. Annabeth enjoyed playing with everyone, especially her Grandpa and her cousin Ava. Owen enjoyed snacking (he has fallen in love with dairy free yogurt bites) and felt like a grown up with his plate of snacks like the adults. We all enjoyed a good race, with no injuries to horses or jockeys.

Owen, like all of the great-grandchildren, won big at his first Derby!* He won $45 which we will add to his college savings!

Hat Ladies 2016 

Laughing with my Miracle Girl
She looks great in hats just like her Aunt Lu! 

My favorite thing about Derby is spending the day with our family and eating lots of wonderful food!

*Our family generally does not gamble. This is a once a year event when we gamble just for Derby and just within our family. The Bible has many verses that warn about the dangers of being in love with money as well as the pursuit of money and wealth. We want to be sure that our focus remains on Heavenly treasures and not worldly goods.*

Friday, May 6, 2016

Frugal Friday 141

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked one shift at his part time job.

- Saturday we enjoyed the St. Francis Women's and Children's Departments' Grand Opening. We braved the rain for free make-up, ink pens, hand sanitizers, and little toys and stickers for Annabeth. She enjoyed painting a flower pot with flowers in it for Mother's Day and also enjoyed painting a canvas. We all enjoyed a free cooking demonstration and Annabeth was able to help the nutritionist do all of the mixing of the ingredients. We had hoped that Annabeth would be thrilled by the Disney Princesses that were there - she was terrified. But she did love seeing our doctor there; she was a bigger hit than the princesses!
Annabeth and I also enjoyed the fun photo booth:

- I enjoyed reading our FREE copy of Home School Enrichment magazine.

- One of Annabeth's dance teachers has recently become a certified yoga instructor. We had her come to the house to teach a small yoga class for our Homeschool Group. Each child paid just $5 which we thought was a great deal!

- I ordered a few photo prints from Ebates applied an online coupon saving me $.81 and I earned 4% cashback!

- We deep cleaned the schoolroom and kitchen this week.

- We enjoyed a marble paint project thanks to our friends/neighbors. I love spending time with Andrea and Annabeth loved painting with the girls!

- I colored my hair at home for around $5 after coupons and a store sale. I am happy to go back to my lighter, summer hair.

- I cleaned out some more of my clothes and found another 10 items to donate. I keep sorting through things when I am in the mood and am always happy to see some of the clutter leave.

We had a very productive week, the first one of those in about a month. We got quite a few big cleaning projects done as well as lots of crafting for birthdays and Mother's Day this weekend.

Happy Savings to All!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Year's Resolutions: April Recap

We have made it through another month!

We are so thankful that springtime and sunny weather seem to be here to stay!

Here is how I did on my New Year's Resolutions:

We wrapped up the spring consignment sale this week and I was able to add money to my 30th birthday trip savings.

- I made this panko-crusted oven "fried chicken" It was much healthier than fried chicken and a big hit with Mark.

- Mark and I had an at-home date day with Owen. (Mark's parents took Annabeth to a musical that afternoon) We enjoyed a Sunday tv movie (Mark's choice) and a nice walk with Owen (my choice) We also had dinner together at home and enjoyed some good conversation with minimal interruption.
- Mark and I went out alone for a funeral visitation. We took a walk around downtown Franklin after. Walking Franklin is how we spent a lot of college weekends doing the first 8 months we were together. It was fun to take a few minutes to reflect on our dreams from ages 18 and 19 and the dreams we now have at 28 and 29.
- We had an at-home movie date. Mark made a Digiorno pizza and we watched Yours, Mine, and Ours.

"We Are In A Play!"

A few weeks ago, we went to Bloomington with my parents. While there, I saw an advertisement for an upcoming performance of We Are In A Play! by Mo Willems based on his Piggie and Gerald book series. Annabeth and I LOVE to read the Piggie and Gerald books and I knew she would love seeing this play.

We were able to get tickets for the show this afternoon. So, today was our first long Mama-Anna date since Owen was born AND Mark and Owen's first Man-Day since Owen was born.

Annabeth and I drove down to Bloomington and made it in time for lunch. Since the play was at Ivy Tech, just south of Kirkwood St, we had lunch at Trojan Horse (one of my top five favorite restaurants ever!) I enjoyed the hummus plate and grape leaves and Annabeth had pitas and fruit. We didn't have time for dessert there so we got it to go - a vegan Brownie for AB and baklava for me. SO good!

Lunch with my best friend!

We love love loved We Are In A Play! It was SO funny! The characters sounded just like we make them sound when we read and we loved trying to figure out which book inspired which scene. The songs were so fun and the cast was excellent. Annabeth had so much fun and I loved watching her face almost as much as I loved watching the show.

The Cardinal Theater Company in Bloomington is putting on this show the next two weekends as well. Please check their website for ticket information if you are also Piggie and Gerald fans!

 She was very serious about looking at the cast in the program before the show.
She is very unsure about people in costumes/make-up so she needed to see the real
people behind the costumes. 

While the other kids lined up for pictures with Piggie and Gerald,
she bolted for the door but did agree for a picture with the sign. 

Mark and Owen said they had a great day at home playing and making messes with baby food. Mark was really thankful for his first day with Owen to himself. 

Annabeth and I had a great date day together and I am looking forward to the next adventure we take!