Friday, August 25, 2017

Frugal Friday 207

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I had one Usborne party and Mark worked two nights at his part time job.

- I received my Ebates check for this quarter. As always, it was added to Owen's savings account.

- We spent Friday-Wednesday visiting my family in Evansville and Owensboro. Here is an over-view of the (mostly free!) fun we had:

Friday - The kids and I drove down after a doctor's appointment. We spent the afternoon playing in the backyard with Mama. My parents treated us to sushi dinner at Fujiyama (Annabeth's very favorite)

Wheelbarrow Rides from Grandpa after our sushi dinner

Saturday - We drove down to Owensboro to spend the day with Momaw. Annabeth enjoyed playing at the Owensboro library and the kids also enjoyed the playground and splash pad at Legion Park.

Sunday - After church, we headed to the mall to use free carousel ride coupons sent to us by a friend, and blog reader!, Miss Scarlett. While at the mall Annabeth got her ears pierced and we shopped three stores using coupons to save lots of money!

 Monday - We drove to the Cache River State Natural Area (just outside Vienna, IL) to view Totality of the total eclipse. I will say that watching through the glasses was kind of "oh, okay..." but then Totality happened and it was just incredible! My Uncle John had suggested us going to this nature preserve and we were there with just around 100 people and it just went quiet. Everyone was literally awestruck. What an awesome moment - thank you God! We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the nature center and made two little stops on the way home to see some unique Illinois trees. Neither of the kids had been to Illinois and it was special to see such an incredible display of God's power with our family (we went with my parents, sister, and two of my uncles)

My dad captured this moment of Totality.
While I have seen many incredible pictures,
none have actually done it justice. God is so good! 

Tuesday - We had a Transportation Field Trip Day. We started off the day at the Evansville Regional Airport. We looked at the ticket counters, baggage claim, and security. We were able to see one plane land and one take off. Then the kids had fun playing on an indoor play-gym on display. That night we went to Red Bank Library to enjoy a presentation by the Evansville Fire Department. Owen is REALLY into fire trucks so he was in heaven! He loved the truck!

Owen loved the fire truck! Much to his LEO Daddy's dismay he is a total fire kid! 

We are back home and looking forward to a great weekend!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Frugal Friday 206

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday morning we visited the Downtown Franklin Farmer's Market for some fresh green beans and peaches. We also stopped by our new Pet Smart store for fish filters and the kids loved watching all of the fish.

- I bought a $10 Starbucks giftcard on Groupon for only $5 OOP. I also went through eBates for 3% cashback.

- Saturday afternoon Mark and I each took turns taking Annabeth out one-on-one. Mark took her to lunch at 'Sun and Moon Mexico' aka the Mexican restaurant closest to our house. She was so excited to have Daddy all to herself. Owen and I enjoyed a quiet lunch at home together. Then in the afternoon, we switched, I took Annabeth grocery shopping and out for Lickity Split snowcones and Mark and Owen played at home. Mark works so much so when we have the chance we really try to split the kids up so we each can have some one-on-one time with them.

So happy to be out with Mama!
She had a Wedding Cake snowball and I had a Birthday Cake one.
We filled our punch-card so our next one will be free!

- Sunday after church we drove up to Trinity and Mark worked and the kids and I attended a fundraiser for one of Mark's scouts. This young man put on a BBQ rib dinner to raise money for his Eagle Project and we are happy to report it is now fully funded and he is ready to move forward! God is good!

- My sister sent the kids and me back-to-school gifts! She sent Annabeth a book signed by the author about interesting creatures, a firetruck book to Owen, and a beautiful "Guide and Inspire" necklace to me. Thank you Lu for making our 5th back-to-school so exciting!

Shop Simply Joyish on Etsy for your own custom necklace! 

- We received a free sample of mouthwash to use and review.

- I received a free magazine subscription and used it to renew the Vogue Magazine subscription that we give my sister.

- We bought laundry soap for the second time this year. We only use Purex and we only buy it when I can get a coupon for each bottle + buy 2, get 1 free at Kroger. We have spent a total of $12 on laundry detergent ALL year!

- I also ordered our dishwasher pods for only the second time this year. I order ours from and each box lasts about 6 months. 

We had a great week, although it felt very lllooonnnggg, because I am SO looking forward to this weekend and for the solar eclipse next week! 

Happy Savings to All! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Frugal Friday 205

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday we took a huge box of paper to a community recycling/shred day. I was glad to get it out of the schoolroom and to have some records securely shredded for free.

- I finished my summer babysitting job this week. This job allowed us to add quite a bit of money to Owen's savings account and paid the deposit for Annabeth's dance for next year. The Black Family gifted us a beautiful family watercolor made by my friend Olivia - thank you to all of you!

- I hosted an Usborne Book Mystery Hostess Party. My Mystery Hostess earned $20 in free books and $25 in 1/2 price books!

- Saturday evening we hosted a pitch-in dinner. We had a great time with some of our closest friends. We at leftovers for two lunches and Monday night dinner.

- Annabeth and I have been doing facials at home. She is so girly and loves things like this! I love spending an extra 5 minutes with just my girl!

Facial Ladies. 

- I placed an order with Click my referral link for $15 off your first order! I have ordered from them a few times through Zulily but this was my first time actually ordering from their site. I signed up as a new customer and got 15% off my order + free shipping! I also earned 2% cashback through Ebates. We also got three freebies with our order - a package of pasta, a granola snack, and (much to Annabeth's delight) Annie's gummies.

- We spent most of the week outside. It has been beautiful, especially for August, so we have taken advantage! We have also been enjoying the park and pool being pretty empty since our local schools went back to class on Wednesday.

- Last night the kids and I enjoyed $2/person admission to the city pool. We had a great time swimming!

We have had such a good week! Everyone in my house is pretty happy when we can just live outdoors!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Seeing My Daughter's Allergist Changed MY Life!

Last month I posted about being a Food Allergy Mama.
What I wasn't quite ready to write about was how seeing our daughter's allergist changed MY life.

As a young child, Annabeth has always reacted (with hives) to peanuts and over time her reactions to dogs/cats have worsened (to more severe hives and difficulty breathing). But this summers reactions that sent us to the Emergency Room two times totally changed the way that I viewed her food allergies. They went from something we worked to avoid to something I was losing sleep over.

We had a 7 week wait to see an allergist and so in the meantime we avoided what we thought the trigger foods were and asked family and friends to do the same. Everyone else was so calm, "Okay. We'll be nut free when we see you." And that was that.

When I talked to Mark and my family everyone said, "Okay. We'll check the labels again" or "It's okay, we'll figure it out." But I was FREAKING OUT! I think maybe my parents and Mark could sense that and thought I needed them to be calm for me. But I didn't!

Both of Annaebth's reactions happened when I was alone with the kids. I was the one ripping her clothes off, washing her skin, giving medicine, trying to get shoes on everyone and to herd them out the door, watching her choke-vomit-wheeze, and I was the one who had to make the drive to the hospital - keeping her talking to me so I knew she was okay. It was me, alone. And it was terrifying.

We saw the allergist and he was the first person who said the things I needed to hear:
- This is serious.
- This is life changing.
- You will have to change how you grocery shop, go in public, visit other people's houses.
- He gave me a new protocol for how we should eat out or visit places like the Children's Museum
- Avoidance and also carrying two epi-pens are her two best chances at surviving another exposure to her worst allergens
We spent hours in his office as he walked me through all of the things we needed to change. He validated all of the precautions I had been taking and also all of my fears. He was the first person who really listened as I talked. He was the first one to completely agree with all of the changes we had made. He was the first person who seemed to understand how I felt and for that I am so grateful.

The first grocery trip after seeing the allergist, took over an hour and ended with me sobbing in my car. Our allergist said it is now necessary to watch for "may contain..." items in addition to items that do contain the allergens. It completed changed the way I grocery shopped - especially because Owen is gluten free and many gluten free items are made with almond flour which we are not to have in the house anymore. It took twenty minutes just to find a pancake mix that everyone could have.

I have stayed home a lot this summer out of fear. Because we still are not sure of what caused the reaction at the Children's Museum (a reaction that within 20 minutes had her covered in hives and struggling to breathe) every time we go somewhere I worry. I wash things, I wash her hands, we don't eat in public and yet the fear is there. Is it going to happen today? What will cause it?
If you don't have, or your child doesn't have, life threatening allergies you may think this is crazy.
It's not - it's life saving.

I share this because I need the people in my life to know how I feel. I need people to understand that the responsibility I have for her safety is huge and it is mostly mine. I am the one who reads the labels, who gives the medicine, who has to change her clothes/shower her/do her breathing treatment just so we can visit someone who has a pet. It's exhausting and it's not going to change. This is her life, her reality and having the allergist say to me: "You're job just got really hard" was the best, most validating thing that anyone could have said to me. It changed my life to have someone take me seriously.

If you are interested in more information I think this page is quite thorough and helpful.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Frugal Friday 204

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I closed out my first Cards for a Cause fundraiser with Usborne. This fundraiser raised $425 for the ladies that did it! Please let me know if you or your organization would be interested as I would love to help you earn money for your group as well!

- I continued my summer babysitting job and had one Usborne party.

- Mark worked one night at his part time job. He also worked National Night Out - an event focused on putting police officers and the public together in a peaceful, positive setting. This event felt very important this year as just last week an officer was killed in a neighboring community.

- I finished a sewing project last week and added it to our wall. I love how it turned out!

 This is the first sewing project I have completed in years!
We do in fact love where we live!
I paired it with this great coordinates Franklin, IN sign 
by Charming Willows and purchased at Vintage Whimsy  

- We did a bit of back-to-school shopping for Annabeth. As we have worked on cleaning out her closet for the fall consignment sale, I quickly realized that very little of what she wore last winter will fit again. We hit a sale at Kohl's + 20% off coupon and got her three long sleeve shirts, two short sleeve shirts, and one pair of leggings. Since she has an October birthday, she usually gets fall/winter items then as well but I wanted her to have the fun of back-to-school shopping too!

- Saturday evening we worked on cleaning out and organizing the garage. We found one item to sell and I got it photographed and listed on Facebook garage sale pages.

- Sunday evening we had a cookout with Mark's parents. We took chips and dips, corn on the cob, and squash casserole. They did the meats, fruits, and dessert. They were very kind and sent home tons of leftovers which we enjoyed for several meals. Thank you all!

- Monday evening Mark went and help a friend put up hay. He brought home 4 ears of corn, 3 onions, and 1 green bell pepper as thanks for his work.

- The kids and I participated in our library's summer reading program and I won the Food and Fun prize! I won a $10 McDonald's card, $10 Speedway Gas Card, and a $10 Starbucks card! Woohoo! Thank you JCPL! 

- Wednesday night the kids and I enjoyed a swim at the Franklin Pool. After 5 pm it is just $2/person to swim.

We had a great week and are fully back into our school schedule. It feels so good to be back into a good routine again!

Happy Savings to All!