Friday, October 27, 2017

Frugal Friday 216

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 had one Usborne book party, and I baby sat for a friend.

- Last Friday and Saturday nights, Mark and Annabeth camped out in our backyard. Friday night they popped popcorn over the grill and both nights they enjoyed star gazing and wathching the meteor shower. Mark downloaded a star app and they did some astronomy as well. We haven't had any weekends to camp for real but Mark and Annabeth enjoy sleeping out back any chance they get!

- Sunday evening we had Mark's family over for dinner. We made salad, ordered Greek's pizzas, and Annabeth and I made desserts (strawberry jam drop cookies from scratch and pineapple upside down cake from a mix) We had enough left-overs to enjoy for two more meals.

"The Watchers" waiting for company on Sunday.
I love them holding hands so sweetly!
Annabeth's fun hair-do was inspired by a braid book we borrow from the library.

- A few months ago, I saw a cute homemade pumpkin idea on Facebook. The pumpkins were made from wood slices. I immediately throught of my sister-in-law Cassidy and her family because last year they made us all cute little cut-wood snowmen as Christmas gifts. I tagged them in a post and then forgot about it. But Sunday when Luke and Cass came for dinner - a pumpkin came too! Thank you all so much! It looks so adorbale out on our porch!

Isn't it cute?!

- I took a load of items to Goodwill. We have been (really) decluttering since I was pregnant with Owen in the spring of 2015 and yet we still have so much stuff! I am getty antsy again so I feel like we'll be doing another big sweep through everything again!

- I finished Annabeth's birthday photo book from Shutterfly. I used a $25 off deal. I also had a deal for a FREE calendar so I quickly finished one I was working on for 2018. Saved: $50!! Thank you Shutterfly!

- Tuesday morning I took a box of clothes to dance class. We were able to share clothes with two families. I love getting hand-me-downs and I love sharing them too!

- I got my flu shot at Walmart this week. Last year, I missed the date to get it through Mark's work and ended up having to pay $40 at our doctor's office. Turns out our insurance covers it through Walmart! Woohoo!

- We made one quick little trip to Meijer for two items. One was less per item in a large box and the other was less per item when purchased individually. I always try to show the kids what I am doing and why I am buying certain things loose and others in bulk. I hope we can train our children to live frugally!

We had a busy week and are looking forward to a busy weekend as well. Mark worked pretty much non-stop this week and is working again tomrorow. We are hoping he will be off on Sunday!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Frugal Friday 215

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked on night at his part time job and I continued to work on my Usborne Books & More business. This week's Usborne paycheck bought our groceries and paid an ER bill!

- A friend was hosting an online Avon party. Since beginning my own work in direct sales, I have become more aware of how important it can be for someone's family to support people who work this way. I made a small purchase to help her party, was able to use a 10% off code, and earned 1% cashback through Ebates. We will give this item as a Christmas gift.

- I won $5 off my Younique purchase through a friend's VIP page so I bought something pretty - for me! If you need a Younique Lady please check-in with my friend Amanda Williams.

- The kids and I spent Friday to Monday at my parents for a mini-fall-break.
Friday: We drove down, played all afternoon, and enjoyed a sushi dinner with Mama, Dad, Lu, and my Uncle John.
Saturday: We did our annual Goebel Pumpkin Patch visit. We went to Owensboro and enjoyed the day at Momaw's house. For dinner we met up with the Kuhns and then had dessert and pumpkin decorating at Uncle Jeff and Aunt Jackie's house.
Sunday: Mama and I attended the Old North 185th Anniversary Celebration and church service (Dad kindly kept the kids so I could actually sit through church). Lu and Annabeth spent the afternoon out at CMOE/Barnes and Noble as part of Lu's birthday gift to Annabeth while the rest of us stayed home. The boys napped and Mama and I enjoyed the Hallmark movie At Home in Mitford. We LOVE the Mitford books (by Jan Karon) and the movie was very sweet. We had a yummy dinner at home and then Dad and the kids had a bonfire and played flashlight tag.

 Owen's favorite part of the farm was checking out all of the tractors!
He loves anything with wheels!

Annabeth loved playing with the grain table. 
She looks so serious here!

- I took a box of hand-me-downs to a friend in Evansville. Jill, Brandon, and I all grew up together (Jill also played flute in band and Brandon and I grew up at Old North together) I was so excited to share some of my favorite Annabeth dresses with their little girls.

- We have a 9 opening cube in our living room that is toy storage. We got it as a wedding gift and it came with four pretty cream totes. Originally we used it in our dining room and it stayed really nice. Then a few years ago, when our china cabinet came from Grandma's, we moved it to the living room for toys. In the last few months, the bins have gotten very dirty and mishapen. This week I splurged ($14 - ugh!) and got four new totes. Annabeth now has two purple and Owen has two blue ones. The rule is all of their living room toys have to fit in their two totes. We got ride of about 15 old books and toys in the process. It all looks much nicer now!

- Annabeth's dance school was on Fall Break so we enjoyed being home together M, W, and TH evenings for dinner (a rare treat!) Wednesday night after dinner and clean-up we had popcorn and watched It's the Great PumpkinCharlie Brown. Thursday night, Mark set up a tent in the living room and we all just hung out talking. I love making sweet memories with our kids!

We had a great week and are looking forward to a busy weekend with family and freinds!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Frugal Friday 214

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I ordered books for my Usborne Books & More Christmas Open House. I also received my September Bonus!

- Annabeth has outgrown her dress shoes from last winter. We bought them almost a year ago so I have to say she really got her wear out of them. I let her pick new ones from Stride Rite. She, thankfully, chose the least expensive of the options that I gave her. We received free shipping and earned 4% cashback from Ebates.
**I have always purchased gold or silver dress shoes. I like that they go with everything - black, navy, brown and work in spring and summer as well. I have saved money this way as I don't need multiple colors to match all of our winter items or new ones just for spring/summer when the old ones still fit**

- Monday we did a pumpkin lesson with friends. Their family sent us home with our own pumpkin, which looks wonderful on our front porch, and a loaf of pumpkin bread! So yummy! Thank you Andrea!

- I took three dance/gymnastics items to the studio this week to try to sell. I had them on Facebook but didn't have any luck selling them so we will try the rack at the studio.

- We had two people contact us about our truck for sale. I am hoping that they are serious buyers and that we can sell it soon.

- Mark has gotten very serious about backpacking and has slowly been building his gear. One of the things he really wanted were some waterproof bags and after shopping around found them to be quite expensive. Then he found that the material itself isn't much at all. His mom was kind enough to make him three bags as part of his Christmas gift. She brought them over Wednesday evening since he is hiking later this month. Thank you Kristi!

And my last bit isn't about being frugal really but it's just about how awesome God is and how thankful I am for Him! We truly have the very best friends and this week was proof of that!
Wednesday the kids and I ran to Meijer (about 1.5 miles from our house) for diapers and some fruit/veggies. When we left, I went to start the car and something happened causing the car not to run. If you know me, you know that I HATE asking for help or appearing weak. I tried for about 20 minutes to troubleshoot the problem and finally called Mark. He didn't answer even though I called a few times. So I debated just walking home but it was chilly, drizzling and none of us were dressed/shoed for that. So I called our neighbors to maybe come jump our battery - they weren't home. So I texted our friend Andrea to see if her husband was home by chance. He wasn't but she had company so she offered to just run over while our friend Danae kept the kids. And she came. She left her company and came out on a chilly, rainy day and helped me try to sort out the problem. It ended up not being the battery so she helped me load all of my groceries, the kids, and uninstalled our carseats and drove us home. Then, on top of that, she offered to help me put the carseats in the black car so Annabeth wouldn't be late to ballet! Once Mark got my messages, he went and checked on the car. He found the problem but couldn't fix it at the store. He called a friend who towed the car home for free! Mark's mom stayed with Owen so I could run Annabeth to dance. On top of those amazing friends, our friend Kelley checked in saying she had seen Mark with the tow truck and did we need anything.
We are so thankful that it wasn't either of the first expensive things we thought that might be wrong but it was an inexpensive part and Mark knew what to do. Wooohooo!
We are just so incredibly blessed with people who love on us so well! We pray that we can great friends to them too! To God be all the glory!

Mark and Annabeth working on the Buick last night.
I love how Mark incorporates our children into his work so they can
learn life-skills. This is a huge reason why we homeschool - we love
teaching our children everything we can about life and love. 

Happy Savings to All!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Reviews and Reccomendations: Carseat Poncho

Over the summer, our dear friend Kelley at Heaven Bound HCA asked if I would be interested in a carseat poncho for Owen. She offered to make him one for us to use and then review. My answer was: "Yes Please!"

If you see us out and about in the winter, 9/10 times you will see my kids in just fleece jackets meaning *gasp* no heavy winter coats! Both of our kids are still in 5-point harness carseats which means they should not wear coats under them for safety reasons. That means that we get to where we are going, get out of the carseat, freeze our tooshies off while we put our coats on, then we walk the 100 yards into the store where my kids promptly rip their coats off because they are hot, then those coats get put in the dirty shopping cart, after wrestling the kids at check-out I then have to wrestle them back into their coats to walk back to the car where we have to take the coats off again. So when someone offered a coat I don't have to take on and off I was SOOOO excited! I love that these ponchos can be worn from house to car to store to car to home - no on and off!!

Kelley sent me all of her color options and I chose a great dark green for O. He was happy with it too. Then when the actual canopy came...he refused to wear it. It was summer and still pretty hot so I wasn't too worried. But even as it has gotten colder he has refused to wear it. Owen is very into picking out his own clothes and will only wear fleece jackets with a hood. So...much to Annabeth's delight she is using the carseat poncho and loving it!

 Enjoying being warm and snuggly in the car while being safe in her carseat!
I love that if she gets too warm she can just pull it over her head.

Annabeth loved wearing the poncho this morning while we worked in the yard.  

Kelley at Heavenbound HCA is offering these items as a custom order available on her Etsy Page and at Heavenbound HCA. I encourage you to visit her sites for these, and many other, beautiful items that can be enjoyed for years to come!

**I received this item free from the seller but was not financially compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own**

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Fun and Frugal Birthday Fun

This week we celebrated Annabeth's 6th Birthday!

We kicked off the celebration a few weeks ago with a birthday lunch with our best friends the Eblings. Rose and the boys came up for a lunch of Annabeth's choosing (hot dogs, fruits, and tater tots) and a donut cake. We had a good low-key celebration.

That weekend we went to my parents for the weekend. We enjoyed a sushi dinner, rock painting, and a vintage bus festival. We took the kids to a garden and for a walk downtown around the Ohio River.

Last Friday, we celebrated with Annabeth's dance and school friends with an at-home donut party. We spent under $50 for decorations, party goods, donuts, fruit, and drinks. It was simple and affordable but also themed.

Last Sunday, we had a birthday cook-out at the park with Mark's brother Luke. Luke and Cassidy generously rented a shelter house and we all pitched in food. We took GF pretzels, pita chips, hummus, veggies, and drinks for our family. We had a great celebration and the kids all loved playing in the park!

Thursday was the BIG #6 for Annabeth!
She woke up early to open her presents. We gave her some new outfits for dance and two Baby Alive dolls. I found everything on her wishlist for around $40 by being patient, shopping throughout the year, and shopping great sales!
After breakfast, we headed up to the mall which was her birthday activity choice this year. The past few years she has chosen the park but she said she wanted a "big girl" birthday. This worked out well because it rained ALL day! She spent a giftcard at Build a Bear Workshop and made a new bear that she named "Stephanie." Then we headed to Claire's where she spent her birthday money ($6) on a little cat stuffed animal. We rounded out the mall trip with a cake pop and decaf coffee at Starbucks.
We came home for lunch (her choice - Lunchables) and she decorated her cake while Owen napped. After nap, we went to play at the library and went to their My Little Pony party. Some of her favorite friends were there too and she had a great time making crafts and painting her nails!
Dinner was a Happy Meal and then "Happy Birthday" and cake at home.

Her annual 8:55 on 10.05 picture.
Celebrating the time she arrived! 

Each birthday we let the kids choose all of the meals (with the rule that we can only have one eat-out meal) and activities (chosen ahead of time and worked into the birthday budget) and we don't do any formal school work on her birthday. I think she had a great day and we didn't spend very much money at all!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Frugal Friday 213

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday we celebrated Annabeth's birthday with her friends with a Donut Movie Night. We had originally came up with the jammies/donuts/movie theme and intended it for a Saturday morning but when we actually looked at the calendar we realized we didn't have any Saturday mornings free. So...we made it a Friday evening party. It turned out really cute! We found two cute donut trucks to hold the cakes ($5 total) and Mark found donut paper goods (invitations, plates, napkins, cups, banner, and treat boxes) for around $15. We served donuts, apples, bananas, and milk/juice choices. The girls all had a lot of fun and Annabeth received tons of fun craft supplies as gifts!

How cute are these donut diplays? We found them on clearance at a Kroger
while in Kentucky! My Mama gave Annabeth these donut jammies as an early 
birthday gift so she could wear them for her party. 

- Saturday morning Annabeth performed downtown at the Fall Festival. We ran home for lunch inbetween events so we didn't spend any money eating out. In the afternoon, she and Mark both were in the parade. Mark walked for Kirby Cochran for Sheriff and Annabeth danced with her dance school. Owen and I walked the Fall Festival and enjoyed seeing some good friends!

- Sunday we celebrated Annabeth's birthday as well as Mark's brother Luke's birthday. Luke and Cassidy were kind enough to rent a shelter house for the family at one of our favorite parks. It was a gorgeous fall day and we all enjoyed cooking out and playing on the playground!

The Riley Four.
We were so happy to celebrate our Miracle Girl!
The Cece doll was one of her favorite gifts this birthday!

- I had one Usborne party and Mark worked overtime. 

- We FINALLY got our kitchen floors installed which means we could install our new dishwasher as well. We did save about 35 dishwasher pods by not having a dishwasher this past month! We feel like the new one has a larger capacity than the old one so we are hoping to run it less than the old one. They also gave us some free dishwasher pods so our first two rounds are covered. 

- The kids and I drove up to Riley Children's Hospital to drop off Cuddle Bear books and bears for the Riley Cheer Guild. I was so happy to be able to team up with a fellow Hoosier Usborne Book lady to donate 14 bear and book sets!

- I wrapped up the Fall Consignment Sale. I sold 80% of what I took to the sale and made $225. I am so thankful for such a great sale and a wonderful sale staff!

- After I brought home my sale stuff, I divided it into a few categories and will pass it along to three families. I buy the majority of my kids' clothing (because it's my shopping weakness - kids clothes) and hate to just donate it to Goodwill.

- My Mama bought my kids birthday/Christmas clothes at Gymboree and earned Gymbucks. She gave them to me but the store near me is closing and won't take them. I looked online and just didn't see anything that we really needed. Their bucks are a $___ off $____ so you have to spend money just to use them. I posted the coupon on Facebook and a friend with three kids was happy to have it! It kept me from spending money on things I didn't need and helped her.

We had such a great week! We celebrated Annabeth's 6th Birthday (Fun and Frugal Birthday Post to come) and I am so thankful for all of our family and friends who helped make it special! :)

Happy Savings to All! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Six Years


Somehow, it's already been six years.
Somehow, our baby is already six years old.
How? When?

Last week, Mark and I had a long (tearful on my end) talk about our Miracle Girl turning six.
Neither of us can look back at her birthday without anger or sadness.
I have wished every day that I could go back to 4 am on 10/05/11 and beg for the c-section. I wish I would have known more, fought harder, been better prepared. Selfishly I wish I had surgery one way that day instead of the way I did. I wish that we could have avoided, changed, stopped all the things that happened during delivery. I meet and speak with women often about Traumatic Birth and about their own experiences. I wish we didn't have a story to tell.

And then I look at our girl. Our SIX year old girl and I think about the complete miracle that she is!
I think about holding her in the middle of the night on her first night on the outside and telling her:
"You are strong. You are a fighter. I can't wait to see where this life takes you."

And she is.

Annabeth Sage is so bold in her choices, she is so confident in who she is, and she has taken everything in stride with such grace.
Her first five years, we went to countless extra appointments and each time she passed with flying colors. All the side effects she could have had from her time without a heartbeat or oxygen never came. We waited and worried and prayed and each time God allowed us to move through that checkpoint without new concerns. Last year, she was officially given the all-clear! Our girl who was born blue, grey, lifeless has become such a colorful, full-of-life person.

I cannot count the number of people who say to me "There's just something about her..."
There IS something about her.
It's called grace,
By the grace of God - by the steady, healing hands of God, her heart was restarted, her lungs were filled with air again.
And this past year, not just once but twice, our sweet girl survived life-threatening reactions to new allergens. God once again protected our girl.

When I look at Annabeth - I just see the complete and utter goodness of our God.
I am always amazed at her kindness - even with others are mean.
I am impressed by her willingness to try new things and to stretch herself.
I am (to be honest) envious of her self-confidence.
I am encouraged by her Christian witness.
I am blessed, so incredibly blessed, to be her Mama.

Today she is six. Today, like every day, we will celebrate her and, yes as many have accused us of, we will spoil her. We know what it's like to have her and to lose her. We have seen her lifeless. We have seen her still. We have heard her heartbeat stop. And yet our incredible God has given us this second chance to have her and we refuse to waste a moment of it.

Happy #6 to our Miracle Girl.

To read all of her birthday posts:
Her Birth Day