Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: InStyler Wet to Dry Tool

Last month I took a short beauty survey and was later contacted by Kendall Viewpoints to try the new InStyler Max Wet to Dry hair tool. The tool came this week and I was able to give it a try this morning.

I always love things brand-new, out of the box!

The Instyler tool is designed to dry and staighten or curl damp hair. It's purpose is to eliminate the blow dry and then style process by combing them into one tool.

I took a shower and allowed my hair to air dry, heavily towel dried my hair for 15 minutes.

Damp - part dry, part wet hair
Not my best look. 

I spent 10 minutes using the tool, after carefully reading the instructions. I decided to test the tool for its straghtening ability. I have naturally curly hair and can achieve great curls with little effort with any curling tool. After the first ten minutes, I got pretty fed up. My hair was slowly drying and was slightly straight but mostly it was getting frizzy and poofy. I was unhappy with how long it was taking for the pieces to be dry. 

Not impressed.
Parts were very wet, parts were very poofy.

The tool had promised quick results but as I was working, the kids decided it was lunch time. I cooked, ate, and cleaned up lunch and then decided to try the product again. Now I had been out of the shower for over an hour and my hair was almost all the way dry. I worked with the tool for about 10 more minutes. This time, with my hair almost completely dry, I was able to achieve straighter, sleeker hair. It did not give me the results I love from my straightening iron but it did turn out okay.
 The end result.
This is roughly what my hair looks like after blow drying it straight
before I run a flat iron through it. It was quite a lot of work to use this tool
to get to this point. I can do this with a blow dryer in about 20 minutes vs the 90 this took.

Overall: I feel this tool would work much better on someone with thinner hair. Thinner hair would dry faster coming out of the shower and would work in fewer passes of the tool. It was almost 90 minutes between my shower and my final hair-do. That would not work on any day as I am busy teaching school and chasing little people. I think I will stick to my blow dry/flat iron routine (approx. 20 min) for special events. 

Thank you to Kendall Viewpoints and InStyler for this opportunity. 

*Disclaimer: I was contacted by Kendall Viewpoints to complete this review. They sent me, free of charge, the InStyler Max Wet to Dry tool to review. I am allowed to keep the product for my own, personal use regardless of my review. I was not financially compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Friday, August 26, 2016

Frugal Friday 157

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last week I mentioned that Annabeth had an eye doctor appointment. She had been complaining of "wiggly eyes" during reading and phonics. Our friend Dr. Jenna Liechty was able to get us in right away and after a thorough exam it was decided that Annabeth does in fact need reading glasses. We have now had two school days since her glasses came in and Annabeth is so happy. The first day she sat down, read a story, and said, "Oh Mama! I can see these words!"

Our sweet girl in her new glasses. 
She said they had to be purple and she loves wearing them!
She will just wear them for reading but needed a photoshoot in good light :) 

- We had an at-home pizza and movie night Friday night. We ordered Papa John's and watched Zootopia. It obviously would have been a money saver to eat frozen pizza but sometime we just "need" Papa John's.

- Saturday we were up north and decided to use a gift card that we have had for YEARS but never gone to the store to use it. We were able to get six Christmas gifts, two craft kits for Mark and the kids to work on, three stocking stuffers for Owen, and a small item for each of the kids that day. We only spent $3.15 OOP! What a deal!!

- While up north, we only made the three stops we planned on making and did not eat out! This was a huge accomplishment for us as we finished our errands at 4:45 and had some hungry, angry kids in the backseat. We came home and I cooked dinner for the kids and Mark and I finished leftovers.

- Sunday afternoon we stopped by Mark's older brother's new house. Mark helped them pull up carpet and laminate to help prepare for the new floors they will install this week. We enjoyed visiting with the family and Mark helped them get quite a bit of work done. While I was on the house tour, I found that the previous owners had left quite a few wire hangers!! Matt and Jenn said they didn't need them so I was able to take them to use in a few weeks for the consignment sale.

- I redeemed a FREE Starbucks item.

- Mark helped put hay up for some friends. The money he made was added to our savings account.

- Tuesday, the kids and I drove to Warsaw, IN to visit with friends. We left their house at a time that was GREAT for missing Indianapolis Rush Hour traffic but not so great dinner-time wise. We had well over an hour left to drive and the kids could not wait for dinner any longer. We ended up spending $7 on McDonald's so we could make it home. I had packed lunch for the kids and our friends fed me lunch so I figured $7 wasn't too much for an all day (5.5+ hours of driving) outing.

- Wednesday evening we were invited to a friends house so the kids could enjoy some time on their farm. We were able to meet the farm's newest calf, just one day old. The kids both LOVED being outside. Annabeth loved feeding the cows and Owen loved "woofing" at their dogs. We took the family some sausage and some deer meat as a thank you. They were kind enough to share some fresh veggies with us.

 Owen had fun with the corn and tomatoes.
We all enjoyed some farm fresh popcorn when we got home. 

We had a great school week and enjoyed some wonderful visits with friends. We are so thankful for all of the opportunities and people that God has put in our lives.

Happy Savings to All! 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Frugal Friday 156

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark has worked pretty much non stop for 3 weeks now. Our family is missing him but we are thankful that the Lord has provided part time opportunities and over-time. We pray that we will be good stewards of the paychecks that come.

- Sunday morning, Mark picked up breakfast for all of us. Neither of the kids ate theirs so I was able to have one for Sunday dinner and one for Monday breakfast. That made the splurge feel like we got more for our money!

- Sunday we did our Aldi and Kroger grocery shopping trips. On the way back from Aldi, we passed a lady with a little farm market stand. Mark and Annabeth got out and got about $30 work of fresh produce for $7+tip. I think we are going to check back next weekend to see if she is still there!

Owen doing some his own "grocery shopping"

- I received a free magazine offer in my e-mail from PinchMe.com. I redeemed the offer and will be sending a fashion magazine subscription to my sister as part of her birthday gift. Happy Birthday Lu!

- We took Annabeth to the eye doctor this week. We do not carry vision insurance since Mark and I never have to go to an eye doctor. Thankfully this office did offer 20% savings to those paying cash without insurance.

- We had quite a bit of rain here Saturday - Tuesday so the kids and I worked on cleaning out their closets and dressers. It seems this is a task that needs done every few months as they are growing so quickly. Some items were tagged for the fall consignment sale and others were put in a box to donate.

We had a good but busy week. I got some big cleaning projects done, encouraged by the Amish novel I read this week. It was filled with stories of joyfully hardworking women and I decided it would do me well to follow their example.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Frugal Friday 155

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday we enjoyed taking 10 year anniversary pictures at Lutheran Lake. Ten years ago, at the lake, I asked God to let me be Mark's wife. I am so happy that He said "yes" to that prayer and that we have been together for the past ten years and married for more than seven of them. I had saved for a professional photographer, who backed out on us, and thankfully our friend Sarah was able to step in and take them for us! Since I did the photo planning and editing, we just paid her for her time and pictures taken. This was a considerable savings over the professional shoot I had planned for.

Photo Credit: Sarah Stair

- After our pictures, we stayed at camp and visited with the Stair Family. We also enjoyed a short hike and creek stomp. We loved showing our kids our favorite place.

- Sunday we hosted the Rileys for dinner. We served chicken with peppers and onions as well as Mexican rice. Mark's mom brought her awesome cheese dip and we enjoyed a great meal. We were able to eat the leftovers for four meals!

- Tuesday morning we took Starbucks, homemade cookies, and a hand-me-down brother/sister matching outfit to friends. They just welcomed their little son, after three girls!, last week.

- I ordered 4x6 prints from Shutterfly during a 101 FREE sale. I just paid shipping. I was able to print all of June and July for FREE!

- Mark purchased 10 lbs of meat from a friend. We will keep half and half is going to a family that needs it.

- Wednesday night, after work, Mark went and helped a friend put up hay. We are thankful to be able to help friends and family when they need it. We are also thankful that they were kind enough to let Mark pick and bring home some fresh veggies!

- I received my ebates check for this quarter. I added the money to Owen's savings account.

We had a great, more relaxed week this week! We are enjoying school and fun!
Hope you all had a great week too!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Frugal Friday 154

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Owen WON a $50 Visa giftcard at the library's Summer Reading Program! We will use it to buy his Christmas gifts!

Mr. Big Winner picking up his summer reading prize!

- Saturday we helped Mark's brother and his wife move into their first house. Mark helped move furniture and even did some painting. They have helped us move three times now so we were happy to return the favor and happy to see their new house! They generously treated us to a pizza lunch.

- Mark worked one night at his part time job.

- My friend Alysha sold clothing to Once Upon a Child - she brought us what did not sell. All of it will work for Owen and some of the items will work for Annabeth. Anything that was too small on Annabeth got added to a box we are handing down to a friend.

- I have been slowly sorting the kids clothing as we look ahead to fall. I listed a free box of girls' clothes on Facebook and are taking them to a friend today.

- After visiting my friend Ann, I got motivated to start on fall consignment sale stuff. I have entered 115 items into the system. I still have more girl stuff to sort and all of Owen's so we have a way to go!

- I redeemed my Star Rewards points at Starbucks for a FREE venti coffee!

- I redeemed my eRewards money for a $25 Starbucks card. I usually do Amazon and buy things for the kids but decided that maybe it would be okay to do a little something for me.

- I colored my hair at home. Good-bye grey hair!

We had a wonderful week and were able to spend Monday - Thursday mornings playing with friends! We were so happy to have so much fun with people we love! We had four great school days this week too! We thank God for the special people in our lives and that we live in a state that allows us to homeschool how we choose!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ten Years Ago Today...

Ten years ago today, in the very early hours of the morning, I layed in the middle of Lake Rd. and told Mark
"I think I am in love with you. I mean, I am in love with you."

Weeks before, on another lake walk, while Mark told a story I thought "this is who you will marry." Then I thought, "really?! I don't even know him. At all." I prayed on the thought for weeks and as I prayed it became more and more clear that God was asking me to get to know Mark. So I did.

We walked. We talked. I watched him as he worked. I watched the way he took directions and instructions from his boss. I watched the way he talk to junior counselors and campers. I watched the way he dealt with long, hot summer days working outside. I watched the way he treated his friends. I watched the way he treated his brother. We talked some more. I didn't like everything I saw but I was sure I could change those things ;) wink.wink.

By the annual lake firework show, I knew I loved him. As he walked up the hill and I walked down it, I prayed: "Dear God, please let me Mark Riley's wife."

Then, as summer came to a close, I knew that I couldn't let how I felt slip by. And so, on August 3, I put it all on the line.

"I think I am in love with you..."
to which Mark replied
"Franklin and Louisville aren't that far apart."

I learned, a week later, that was his way of saying, "Okay, let's do this, I love you too."

And so it began. We began.

10 years later I am sure that he is the one God had for me.
No other friend has ever accepted me as freely as Mark.
I am thankful that he loves me for me, that he gently corrects me when I am wrong, and that he has pushed me to do more than I ever thought possible.

10 years -
9 months of them courting
nearly 2 years of them engaged
and 7+ married.

I am so thankful for these 10 years and excited to see where we are in another 10.

On the dock at Lutheran Lake - watching the 2006 lake fireworks show.
This was the night I prayed that God would let me be Mark's wife.
One year later, after the fireworks, he asked me to marry him. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sometimes Our Mess Is Okay

I tripped over plastic food while cooking breakfast yesterday.
One of my number one rules is no toys in the kitchen.
But this week, like a lot of weeks, there were toys everywhere.
Even the dining room table had toys as it was a "store" this week.

I cleaned the kitchen Thursday morning while Owen destroyed the living room by pulling down all of the toy baskets from the shelves. At the same time, Annabeth took nearly every toy food item out in her kitchen. Once that was all picked up, she moved on to her room, and then later the school room. Meanwhile, Owen tore apart a book in his room.

Many days I hate the mess. I dread picking up toys or fighting the battle to get the kids to pick up toys.

Mark cannot stand the mess either. At the end of a stressful day the last thing he wants is to come home to a living room of My Little Pony craziness.

That being said...some days...many days...our mess is okay.
Many days I love our mess.
Tonight I write this, surrounded by Palace Pets, play food, and trucks that were not picked up because Mark is at work and the kids were so sweet and cuddly in their jammies that I needed to read to them more than I needed to pick up. 
Tonight I sit next to the mess and I love it. 

Our mess is okay because for so long I came home from work to a perfect house.
I always had floors that were vacuumed, swept, and mopped. I had furniture without dust. I had windows without fingerprints or noseprints. I had less than five loads of laundry a week. I only had one bed to change. And in all that time, I had many, many nights when Mark was at work and I sat in the middle of my perfectly clean house and cried. I wish and prayed for a child! I begged God for someone to make a mess in my house! I wanted to change diapers, wake up all night long, and to trip over toys! I wanted to wipe handprints off my fridge and to wash sheets all day long. I wanted tiny socks to fold and little hands to wash. I wanted more than a perfect house, I wanted a family home.

So tonight, sitting in my messy, lived-in home, I thank and praise the Lord for my sweet littles who made this mess. For our Miracle Girl and for Mr. O who make the best messes!