Friday, October 28, 2016

Frugal Friday 166

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Owen had a cold last week and then was teething this week. He has been a whiny, sleepless mess! I am SO thankful for the baby carrier that our friend Cynthia lent me! It has been a lifesaver this week as I have worn him and still gotten things done!

16 months and still glued to Mama in the Ergo. 
I love this sweet season of life! Don't ever want to let go O!

- Saturday morning, Annabeth and I enjoyed attending our church craft fair with Mark's mom. I found a neat Christmas decoration (handmade for just $4) and purchased a baby shower gift from my friend Kelley. If you are interested in handmade baby goods please visit Kelley at Heaven Bound HCA. We also enjoyed a morning hot chocolate and treat at Panera.

- I won a book from a blog that I follow!!! I am so thankful to Meghan at Lawyer Mom for the book and look forward to reading it soon! Meghan's blog is a great homeschool blog and she is the author of Under Duress.

- Tuesday evening Mark and Annabeth enjoyed attending his Scout Troop's Halloween Party. Annabeth enjoyed playing with her friends and Mark said a great time was had by all. Owen and I stayed home as he was asleep in bed before the party even started.

- Today we are hosting our Homeschool Group's Fall Party! This is our third year hosting and each year I have worked to make it more and more affordable for our family. This year I purchased all the food and supplies (pumpkins to paint) by shopping at three different stores. I took advantage of sales and coupons and we spent less than $20 OOP! We love hosting but I also love it being affordable.

- While shopping at the three stores (Aldi, Kroger, and Target), we also did our grocery shopping for the next two weeks. We are well stocked well into November.

- I cleaned out some old cards and letters. I ended up with a full tote to take to recycling. I took about 8 weeks off from getting rid of things but have been trying to get back into the swing of it lately with my closet clean out and then some paper clean out.

We had a nice, easy week at home. We had a GREAT school week and are now more than 70 days into the school year. Annabeth is working diligently and we are so proud of her hard work!

Happy Savings to All!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Vote: Election 2016

Election Day is just two weeks away - there is light at the end of the political mail tunnel! I look forward to having real mail in our box again!

A few readers have contacted me asking me to write about this election. 
Who am I voting for?
How did I decide?
What topics are of most importance to me? To our family? 
What political party do we associate with?

The #1 thing for our family this election season is PRAYER! We are praying daily that God would guide voters and that God fearing individuals would be elected on the local, state, and national level.

The most important topic for our family this election season is Homeschool Freedom in Indiana. Indiana is a GREAT state to homeschool in and we enjoy many freedoms. Indiana currently has very few rules in regards to homeschooling and we are not given government funds or oversight. I LOVE that! That being said, the tides of education are changing in Indiana. The brick and mortar schools are to begin phasing out ISTEP and the state is facing a teacher shortages. There are rumblings that changes in brick and mortar schools will in turn create changes, many unwanted, in the homeschool community. We are praying that the State of Indiana will continue to allow parents, not the government, to make educational choices for our children.

As far as other issues - obviously as conservative, Bible based Christians our family is pro-life. We are pro ALL lives! We believe all lives matter - the unborn, black lives, blue lives, whatever other kind of lives you want to come up with. Annabeth and I have been reading and mediating on the book of James this month and have been enjoying discussing James' words on loving all people. I pray that we are raising children who will love all people as we try to do.

As far as being more specific on this election, I am going to chose to not go any further. I know that the sharing of my own personal opinions or sharing candidates backgrounds, beliefs, etc will not change your mind. I know that me saying I am __ or ___ will not make you become _____.

I pray that all eligible will exercise their right to vote.
I pray that a Godly leader will be elected in each race.
I pray that His will be done.
I pray that regardless of the outcome of this election that we remember that this time on earth in fleeting, it's but a blip in time. I know Who the King of Kings is and I know where my real Home is. I pray that our family would not be swept up in politics but rather simply carry on sharing God's light and love with the world. Amen.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Frugal Friday 165

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- My family visited last weekend to celebrate Annabeth's birthday. The birthday girl chose to take them to the Storywalk, to play at Green Park, and to have dinner at Chilli's. After dinner, we all took a tour of our new Kroger Marketplace (we are small town people, it's the little things). Annabeth was so excited to push her kid size cart and to show everyone around. We finished out the evening by eating ice cream cones in the backyard.

- This year, Annabeth's #1 birthday wish was a dollhouse. As soon as she asked, I talked to my Mama about it. My mama is a dollhouse collector and made Annabeth's wish come true. It was so special to watch her receive her dollhouse and even more special that the house and all the items inside came from Mama. So neat!

- My sister and I both cleaned out our closests and did a clothing swap over the weekend. I think we each came away with five new-to-us items. The rest were bagged up and will be shared with friends this weekend. I am so thankful to have a sister to share with!

- Sunday, my parents and Mark kept the kids and I took Lu out for a birthday lunch and shopping day. Her birthday was in September but this was the first time we were able to make it out alone! We enjoyed lunch and a bit of shopping in Broad Ripple. The rain scared us inside and we ended up at the Keystone Fashion Mall. I loved talking with Lu and shopping without kids!

- Our sweet neighbors Ed and Gloria gave Annabeth a pumpkin. She and Owen REALLY enjoyed getting all of the guts out so we could carve it. We also roasted the seeds for the first time. Yummy!

This kept them happy for an hour!
At first Owen wouldn't put his hands in the gunk but Annabeth helped him be brave!

- Wednesday we took a field trip to The Apple Works. Annabeth loved playing with her cousins and her friend Audrey! They checked out the petting zoo, playground, bamboo maze, and we hiked wwwaaayyyy out on the farm to get our pumpkins. We were extremely thankful for the wagon ride back to our car! We had a great visit for under $9!

My cute little pumpkins.

- Jenn and the kids brought us 4 boxes of hand-me-downs for the kids. I was really happy to see grey and navy leggings for Annabeth as both of those items were on my "to buy" list. I am so thankful that they share so generously!

- Mark worked two nights at his part time job.

- I had a rebate check come from the BMV. Made: $2

- I did a bit of Christmas shopping. I found shiny leotards for my nieces at a store where I got 2% cashback through Ebates and had FREE shipping!

- My amazing friend Alysha mailed us beautiful pictures of the kids from Annabeth's birthday party! Mark and I had taken some of the whole group but Alysha, as always, got the most beautiful candid shots of the kids.

- I took advantage of a FREE stylist fee on Stitch Fix. The fee is usually $20 and then is credit towards any purchase you make but if you don't buy anything you lose your $20. I was extra happy that it was free this time since I did not have anything in my box that I wanted to buy. Saved: $20

We had a slower week this week since Owen had a bad cold and had some new teeth come in.
That being said I am really looking forward to the weekend! Tomorrow I am headed to our church craft fair with Mark's mom and we have a bonfire with friends tomorrow evening. What fun!

Happy Savings to All! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frugal Friday 164

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday my sister treated the kids and me to a day at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis as part of her birthday gift to Annabeth. Annabeth saw an advertisement for the Doc McStuffins exhibit and has been asking to go for quite a while! She absolutely loved it! Aunt Lu made the trip extra special with a carosel ride! Thank you Lu! :)

- Saturday we took our car up north to get new tires. We have a place in Greenwood that we trust and like so we always try to go there if we can. Mark found a deal to get $70 off on Saturday and we'll get another $80 back with a mail-in-rebate.

- We received two checks from Lowe's from a rebate we mailed Labor Day Weekend. We painted the trim of our house and Annabeth's room last month. With the rebate, one of the cans of paint ended up being completely FREE!

- Mark's mom watched Owen for us on Sunday so we could enjoy the end of Annabeth's dance workshop without wrestling him. We treated her to a pizza dinner as a thank-you!

- I sorted our consignment sale leftovers into three piles. I was able to share things with three different families and was glad to not take really nice items to Goodwill.

- Last weekend, Mark cleaned out his closet. On Monday I did mine. I took everything out and dusted, swept, and mopped. I was able to part with 14 shirts (one was a Notre Dame sweatshirt that went to Owen's closet) and 3 pairs of shoes. I will let my sister and a friend go through everything and anything left will be donated. I do a deep clean of my closet twice a year and it always amazes me how much I can get rid of during each clean-out!

- We did not eat out/order in all week. Mark even came home for lunch. He usually spends a lot of his day out of the office so he just grabs something on the road. It was nice to see him and to save that money.

- The popcorn came in from Annabeth's dance fundraiser. She was able to sell enough to earn $28 towards her dance fees. This past weekend Annabeth also completed a two-day dance workshop. We are SO proud of her hard work and for learning three dances in just two days! Thank you to everyone who supported her dance through the popcorn fundraiser.

Showing off her Dancewerks Certificate!
She danced 13 hours and learned 3 pieces this weekend to earn that certificate!

- One of Mark's coworkers sent home a box of frozen cookie dough for us to enjoy. Mark and Annabeth had fun making some cookies together last night. 

- We shared some venison roasts with friends to empty out the freezer before the new hunting season starts in a few weeks. 

We had a great week and are looking forward to Annabeth's last birthday celebrations this weekend!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Frugal Friday 163

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.

- I babysat for a friend.

- We celebrated Annabeth's birthday with Mark's family by combining it with Luke's on the first. Luke and Cassidy hosted the cookout and we helped bring sides and a cake for Annabeth. I made a homemade cake, which I haven't done since her first birthday, and enjoyed decorating it with her.

- Sunday we had a friend party for Annabeth. After looking at quite a few options, we decided that her first choice of her dance school was the most affordable. The dance school covers everything but food under one umbrella cost. They provide a one hour dance class, all of the decorations, paper goods, and party favors. It was very affordable. Annabeth and I made homemade cupcakes for this party. We did splurge on Shopkins (her party theme) cake toppers from Etsy.

 Thank you to Nana for the Shopkins shirt.
Shopkins bow by Emma's Bows for a Cure.

 - Annabeth had her followup eye doctor appointment on Tuesday. The good news is that her glasses are really helping! Her eyes are not having to work nearly as hard. We are so glad that we caught her vision problems early as she is SO much happier doing schoolwork! We resisted the urge to stop for lunch on the way home - a big accomplishment since we got home around 11:45 which is way past our usual lunch time and I still had to prepare the food. Both kids were quite grumpy but I was glad to save the extra bit of money.

- We made a quick grocery trip on Tuesday for her birthday foods. (In our house, the birthday person selects the menu for the whole day and I had been waiting on a recipe from a friend so we could do one shopping trip) We stuck to our list, no small feat in our amazing, HUGE, new Kroger!

- Wednesday was Annabeth's 5th birthday! She chose our activities and meals for the day. We enjoyed a Starbucks breakfast, playing at the "snail park," the kids had Happy Meals for lunch with "Auntie Rose" brownies for dessert, and then a restful movie afternoon. We did have our usual Wednesday evening of three hours of gymnastics/dance classes with a quick lunchable dinner in the middle.

Playing at Blue Heron Park 
aka "Snail Park" thanks to the orange snail toy there. 

- This fall I have traded out storytime with the kids. Annabeth went from 6 months - the end of PreK in her own, age appropriate storytimes. After Owen was born, I have just been taking him along to Annabeth's. As he has gotten older, it has gotten harder. He does not want to sit still through the longer stories and crafts. I decided this fall, I would switch and Annabeth would tag along to Wonderful Ones with Owen. He is so cute and happy with kids his own age! He loves all the songs and getting to hold him own board books! I am so thankful for our local library and all of their great programming!

We had such a wonderful week! We are loving the warm, sunny days!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Annabeth's 5th Birthday Shirt: Etsy Finds

Last spring I found Owen the cutest birthday shirt! I fell in love with Kinsey Collection on Etsy and decided to order from her again this summer for a friend's son Henry. When it came time for Annabeth's birthday, I knew I wanted a special 5 shirt and I wanted it to have some gold as well since it is her golden birthday.

I contacted Kinsey to see if she could do a gold lettered shirt. She worked with me to find the perfect pink shirt, the right gold lettering, and even changed my mind from all lowercase to all uppercase letters. I LOVE the final product and I know Annabeh is enjoying having a special birthday shirt again this year.

Working with Kinsey is always a great process. She responds to messages very quickly, completes orders efficiently, and has the cutest ideas!

 Cute Shirt on our Cute Girl
Celebrating 8:55 am the time she arrived! 

Our family was so happy to shop with this Christian, pro-life shop owner! Check out her about page for more information on the good work she is doing with a Women's Shelter to encourage expecting mothers.

*Unless otherwise noted I have purchased "Etsy Finds" items with my own money and do not have a personal relationship with the shop or seller. I also have not been compensated for my review or recommendation*

Golden #5

Today is our Miracle Girl's 5th Birthday, her #5 on the 5th, her golden birthday.

The weeks leading up to today have been so different than her previous birthdays.

In 2011, we had SO much excitement as we counted down the days to her arrival.
Then her birth day came. Our lives were changed forever.
I knew the greatest sadness and the greatest joy in a matter of hours.
I heard her heartbeat on the monitor, I heard it stop, and then was later told it started again.

Sobbing, meeting Annabeth Sage.
She was over two hours old and I was so excited to finally see her! 
Mark had gone to NICU with her and they, thankfully, had taken two little pictures for him to bring me as they sewed me up but I needed to see her, hold her to know she was going to make it.
I knew in that moment that she was a true fighter, so strong, and that God must have some 
HUGE plans for our girl. 

In 2012, I had recovered from two surgeries after her arrival and had just begun preparing for the third.
Her birthday came and I stared at that little one year old girl, not believing that we had all made it.

Birthday lunch at Einstein Bros Bagel
I love the "Birthday" on her shirt and the "Every Day" on the sign behind her! 
Yes, let's celebrate every day!

In 2013, we celebrated her second birthday with a princess theme.
Mark had to have princess as the theme and I think as much as she was his princess that day, she is even more so now. Mark and Annabeth have such a special relationship. I love to watch them together.

Celebrating with her GIANT princess castle cake.
Mark picked out this cake for her: 
if that isn't proof that she is Daddy's girl, I don't know what is!

In 2014, we celebrated with a Hello Kitty party.
She had picked the theme months before and we watched as she planned her whole party - she even included a seating chart. She was only turning three but we were getting a big glimpse into who she really was.

She loves parties and party planning but still gets a bit shy when all of the attention is on her.
She was so cute, being shy, while we all sang "Happy Tutu" as she called it that year. 

Last year, her birthday came after Owen's arrival. I had healed in so many ways, emotionally, after his birth and was able to feel less pain when preparing for her birthday. She chose a Deer Party during her third birthday party and kept that theme until her 4th. She was becoming so sassy and stubborn and, as from the beginning, strong.

Our beautiful girl, in her special Deer Party dress posing with Owen.
She selected his outfit for the day. 
Her love for him is so beautiful!

This year, for the first time, I haven't felt that overwhelming sadness as her birthday approached. I have been able to reflect on her #4 year as she calls it and have looked forward with joy to her "five birthday."

I will live the rest of my life as Annabeth's Mama. I will live my life in awe and in love with her. She is so incredibly kind to her brother. She is so in love with her Daddy. She is growing and learning so much - most of all I love her dedication to praying and studying the Bible with me daily. I feel so incredibly blessed to know her and to love her.

Happy Five Birthday - Golden Birthday to Annabeth Sage, my Nanners, our Miracle Girl