Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Friday 170

Happy Frugal Friday! Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

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

- We had company for lunch on Friday and breakfast on Saturday. I made enough for each meal that we were able to eat the leftovers as our next meal on each day.

- Last Friday afternoon, we had a washer repairman out. He said that the washer had three major problems and that he would have to take it back to the shop to fix it. Total cost for that - around $1000! Whew! No thank you! We had already looked at new washers and knew that they were about half that much. We did not want to invest $1000 into a 7 year old washer. So, Saturday afternoon we went to get a new washer. We shopped at the same store that sent the repairman so we were able to credit his visit ($80) towards a new washer. The washer came Wednesday afternoon and after a week without being able to do laundry at home I was so happy!

- Saturday afternoon, after washer shopping, we stopped by Matt and Jenn's and they kindly let us do 2 loads of laundry to hold us over until the new one was delivered. Thank you!

- A few weeks ago, Mark was in the church nursery with Owen and he noticed that the TV that shows the church service was not working. This means that nursery workers/children were not able to view the service. We have a TV in our bedroom that we have never used so we donated it to the church nursery this past Sunday.

- Sunday afternoon Annabeth attended her friend Madi's bowling birthday party. She enjoyed bowling with her friends. Thank you to the Sherry Family for the fun afternoon!

- I ordered some items for school from Amazon. I redeemed a gift card from eRewards and saved $25.

- I made a quick trip to Target and saved $19 on diapers. I combined a manufacturer's coupon + store coupon + gift card. We got 224 diapers for less than $30!

- We redeemed a FREE pizza from Papa John's!

- I have been cleaning out the schoolroom as I have time. Over the years, I have been given LOTS of school books and papers. Originally I kept them all, not sure exactly where our homeschool journey would lead. Now that we are in the middle of our fourth year, I am quite sure of my teaching style and Annabeth's learning style. As a result, I have been able to part with quite a few books (some traded with friends, others donated) and lots of paper resources. I took a huge tote to recycling this week.

- The kids and I took our Christmas card photos at home this week. The best deal I found on a local photographer was $50 for just 15 minutes. I don't think so! We like our free pictures just fine!

In BIG family news - Owen learned to walk this week! We are SO thankful! We have been really praying for this. The doctor's estimate was 20 months, based on his physical milestones so far, so he was 9 weeks early on this one!

Owen, walking at 17 months, 3 weeks.
Here he was modeling Daddy's shoe and Annabeth's umbrella. 

We had a great week and are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving Weekend with (some of) the people that we love.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

My Three Wishes (at age 16)

While cleaning out some old pictures, I found a fun journal that I was given in high school. Each page posed a question. I apparently was not very interested in it as I had only filled out a few pages but one of them really caught my eye!

The page read:
If you had THREE WISHES, what would they be?

At age 16 I wrote:

1. I wish to always be a person that I can be proud of.

2. I wish to be the kind of person that others love and respect.

3. I wish to keep an open mind and to be a person that loves and respects others. 

Wow! I was quite impressed that at 16 these were the wishes I chose to write down! They are just as true at 29 - I hope I am living in a way that would make high school Amy proud of me! :)

Me, at 16, a page from my scrapbook.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Frugal Friday 169

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday, we headed to the Indianapolis Zoo. Our fall has been so busy that we needed a day for just the four of us. By waiting until November, we were able to save nearly $40 off the cost of admission thanks to the zoo's low online prices when you buy early. It was almost 60 degrees so still plenty warm for all of us to enjoy the day. We all especially loved seeing the baby orangutan.

Owen Bear with the bears.

 Annabeth loved that we were able to see some of the Christmas
zoo decorations. We were happy to get a picture with a real smile - not the cheesy one!

- Saturday the kids and I hosted a "We're Not Hunting Party." We had two friends and their combined seven kids over for lunch and play! It was a great way to enjoy some fun time with people that we love while all of the daddies were out hunting.

- Sunday we took dinner to Mark's family. It was the first time we have all been together in almost two months due to busy travel and work schedules. Mark made homemade chili and I made yellow cake cornbread and brownies. We had a great time catching up with everyone.

- We had leftovers from the weekend for Monday's breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This meant that we did not have any food waste this week.

- I cleaned out our playdough station. We spent $3 to get some new colors and got rid of all of the old. I asked a family member to get Annabeth some for Christmas but we needed some to hold us over. We play alot of playdough!

- Mark worked one night at his part time job.

- We cleaned out the living room toys as well as the schoolroom bookshelf. We found many items that needed to be thrown away or recycled. We also weeded out 20 toys that will be either donated now or sold at the next consignment sale.

- I purchased a Christmas gift using a Shutterfly code. Saved: $24.99

- Our washer started acting up on Monday, the kids and I spent 3 hours getting it fixed. I found a paper, zipper pull, three pennies, and lots of lint in the drain. It worked Monday and Tuesday fine. Thursday it started acting up again. I finally, after 4+ hours working on it Thursday, decided to admit defeat and we have a repairman coming today.

We good week and are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Frugal Friday 168

Happy Frugal Friday! Happy Veteran's Day!

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

- Last Saturday, my best friend and I had a girls' day out. She treated me to lunch (my belated birthday gift from February) and I was supposed to get dessert (her belated birthday gift from April) but we were too full so I treated us to bottled water while we talked for 3 hours at a bookstore! We enjoyed the Downtown Franklin Holiday Open House and each did a bit of shopping. We also headed north to Greenwood and I used up a Toys R Us gift card to finish Annabeth's Christmas gifts from Mark, Owen, and me. We had a great day together!

- Mark worked two nights at his part time job.

- My friend Anna sent me a book about raising boys. I am in the middle of The Power of a Praying Parent and then I look forward to starting in on that one. Thank you Anna!

- The kids and I spent most of the week visiting my family in Evansville. We finished quite a bit of food from the pantry and fridge/freezer before we left. Mark was able to do a very small grocery trip for things just for him.

- While visiting my Momaw, she sent us home with some GREAT Kroger coupons and a box of fun holiday kitchen items. She has been cleaning out and it was our gain.

Playing "Bird Watch Tour" while touring Momaw's Gardens

- While completing a order, I needed a few more dollars to get to my coupon code/free shipping amount. I added two books for our homeschool (The Ten Comandments and The Apostles' Creed). When they came I realized they were sets of 10 books each. They were also Catholic. I put a post on Facebook and shared them with our Catholic friends. Our loss, their gain.

- A family at Mark's work sent home a laundry basket full of hand-me-down clothes and shoes for Owen. Thank you to the Talley Family!

We had a wonderful week visiting my family! Even though it's November, it was so beautiful out! We spent a ton of time outside - Annabeth and my dad even camped out in the backyard.

I hope you all had wonderful weeks as well! Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What I Told Our Children About The Election Results

This morning we woke up to a country with a new President Elect, Donald Trump.

We were at my parents' house so my dad gave the newspaper to Annabeth and pointed her to me to explain. The cover of Evansville's Courier and Press had a giant picture of Donald Trump next to a giant picture of Hilary Clinton. We had this conversation:

Me: "Who did we vote for?"
She pointed.
Me: "Who won?"
She pointed again.
Me: "Who do we serve?"
Her: "Jesus."
Me: "That's right. More than any of this, all that matters is that we serve God."

In my mind, that is all that needs to be said.

Later in the morning, I took the kids' picture in front of the TV. History was made today and I wanted them to know that they were part of it.

Annabeth and Owen, waking up to a country with a new President Elect
November 9, 2016 

I did the same thing almost four years ago while Annabeth and I watched President Obama on his second Inauguration Day.

Annabeth, enjoying the 2nd Inauguration Celebration of President Obama
January 20, 2013

This morning's Facebook feed was filled with people writing "What will I tell my children?" and "How will I explain this to my children?"

I will tell my children the same thing I tell them every day. Our family will continue to love God. We will continue to love His people, all people. We will work to share His light and love with the world. I will show my children that love and respect for all people matters above all else. I can do those things no matter who is president. I have been alive for many presidents and not one of them has made me stop loving God or people. Not one president has made me change my beliefs. I will encourage my children to respect all people, despite their past mistakes or their current shortcomings. I will help my children to see past color, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Most importantly, our family will pray. We will pray for our leaders and we will pray for our country. Amen.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Frugal Friday 167

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- After we hosted our homeschool fall party, we enjoyed the leftovers for an extra meal. Two families also left us brownies and muffins which we were able to enjoy as snacks. Thank you all!

- All of the children painted pumpkins at our fall party. We used up all of our paint for this event. Now we will be able to start over with new paints instead of storing 15 partially full bottles. I am very excited about that!

- Annabeth had asked for some yogurt smoothies at the grocery. She ended up not liking them. We sent the remaining four home with a friend. They are fairly expensive and I did not want them to go to waste.

- We attended a free Halloween party at our friends' church. The church was a 30 minute drive down south and it was a gorgeous fall evening! The drive was beautiful with all of the fall colors. The kids enjoyed playing Halloween games and the ladies of the church made some incredible, and creepy looking, Halloween treats. This was a fun new Halloween event for us this year.

- I finished Annabeth's birthday book and ordered it on Shutterfly. I used a FREE code from Pampers Rewards and just paid shipping. Saved: $29.99

- We continued to clean out the deep freeze as we prepare for the new hunting season. We took deer meat to some friends in our homeschool group.

- Coworkers/friends sent home a HUGE bag of hand-me-downs for Annabeth. She is between their two girls so she will wear them and then we will pass them back. Thank you Love Family! We cleaned out some of Annabeth's baby/toddler hairbows and sent them to their 18 month old as a thank you.

Modeling her favorite shirt from the hand-me-downs.
She thought it needed a cheetah belt too! :) 

- We filled a box for a little girl to send through Samartan's Purse. We put in some items we had on hand - a new box of markers, notebook, coloring book, and stickers. Then, I took Annabeth to Dollar Tree and she chose a pony and doll for the little girl. We also added school supplies (calculator, pencils, pens) and hygiene items (hairbrush, headbands, ponytails, toothbrush, and toothpaste). We added a nice size water bottle and princess jewelry and tiara to finish out the box.

- I shopped the wholesale site for the first time. I found their prices to be lower than our local stores on dishwasher pods, snacks for Owen, and his baby wipes. I had a coupon for $10 off a $35 order so I added three very affordable books to get me to the $35. The coupon code worked for $10 off AND the site still gave me FREE shipping since my original total was over $35. With the $10 code and free shipping I was very pleased with how little I spent on these items. I was also happy to see that most of them will arrive in just 2 days! I may be using this site again as the coupon code was good for three purchases.

We had a very busy week and enjoyed working on school this week!
We are taking next week of school and we are both excited for our first week long break since July!

Happy Savings to All!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

HeavenBound HCA: Etsy Finds

Last year, while shopping at our local toy store, I noticed some very cute handmade baby items. Owen was past the age of needing most of them but I loved the cute patterns. Fast forward to this year...I met a great homeschool family and found out the Mama runs her own small business hand-making baby items. Those baby items? The cute ones I saw a Toodleydoos!

Kelley runs HeavenBound HCA. She chose HeavenBound as the name because of her family's foundation in Jesus Christ and the promise of a place in Heaven to all those who believe in Jesus Christ. It is her hope that the items she makes can bless and encourage others.

Kelley is a stay-at-home-homeschooling Mama to four girls and uses her business as a great way to encourage them to all be creative. I love that because Kelley is in the process of raising her own family, she is committed to keeping the prices of her products reasonable so that every family, every child can have something special and homemade just for them! 

Check out this beautiful chevron car seat canopy.
Avaliable on her Etsy page for $25 
I wish I had known about hers when we bought ours. I paid $30+ for one made in China :( 

How cute are these?! The cloth wipes wrap up around the little booties and become a cupcake set! You can find this one and more on her Etsy page for $26.

 Hat ($12) and Cacoon ($25) both on her website 

I have purchased her cloth wipes and love their cute designs as well as their durability and softness! 

Please shop from Kelley by visiting her website HeavenBound HCA and/or her Etsy Shop HeavenBound HCA on Etsy.

**I do have a personal relationship with this seller. I have purchased her products and asked to feature her on the blog. I was not given product or financially compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own**

I Am Thankful I Voted Today

I am thankful I voted today.

I am thankful to vote in a well organized county with many available polling places. We waited behind just two people to vote. I am thankful to vote in a community with the sweetest election workers who always take time to talk to the kids and ask how my day is. I am thankful to vote in a safe community where I do not have to worry about violence as I make my way to vote.

I am thankful to vote in the State of Indiana. I am thankful that Indiana is a state where we had choices on the ballot for people who understand that life has value. I am thankful to have people to vote for who believe that a child's education is a decision the parent, not the state, should make - leaving the decision of charter, homeschool, private, or public up to the parent. I am thankful to have candidates to vote for who understand that as a homeschool parent, I do not want, or need, the states funds or oversight.

I am thankful to live in a place in time in our country where, even as a woman, I can vote. I am thankful for the candidates we have and pray that a Godly leader will be elected into office.

Now I can rest easy, my job is done, I have cast my vote.
I can rest even easier knowing that regardless of next week's election outcome - I know who the King of Kings is. I know whose rules I follow and I know who rules my heart.