Friday, June 29, 2018

Frugal Friday 251

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday, Owen took a fall near our fireplace and hurt his foot. He was not willing to walk on it and so we took him to Immediate Care for an x-ray. Thankfully his foot is not broken, just a sprain, but he was in a lot of pain for much of the week. We are thankful that we have a savings built up for medical expenses so we take care of things now knowing we have a way to pay for them.

- Annabeth and I enjoyed last weekend at Camp Lakeview for Mother Daughter Weekend. We paid for the weekend with our earnings from the Spring Consignment Sale.

- I took a bag of shoes to a friend. I had a small collection of very nice shoes I had purchased on clearance, with my discount, when I worked at Macy's. Since having the kids I have gone up a full shoe size but have had a hard time letting go of my nice (Born, Merrell, Sperry, and Chaco) shoes. When Katie said she knew some ladies who could use them I was happy to pass them on finally.

- Annabeth spent her mornings at Shipwrecked VBS at Mt. Olive Lutheran this week. We invited her friend Kinsley and they had a great week together! This is our second year going to that church for Bible school and just love the program that they put on. (Our church does VBS the same week but late in the evenings so this works better for us. Mt. Olive is the church home of Mark's brother and his wife)

Wednesday they had a face painter at VBS!
Annabeth chose to have a cute cat face 

- Owen and I enjoyed four mornings to ourselves this week! Even though we mostly ran errands, played at home, and played at Mt. Olive's playground it was really fun to have him all to myself! Wednesday we went to the post to mail books and a farmer was picking up his baby chicks. He let Owen see and touch them which was so fun! We also had diggers working on our street that day so he and I ate snacks in the shade and watched the machines work.

- We received our last box of freebies from This months samples included mayonnaise, as well as a coupon for free mayo, shampoo/conditioner, and band-aids. I love getting PinchMe boxes in the mail and knowing that I have free goodies coming my way! I also have two magazine subscriptions completely free through PinchMe. Sign up today for yours here

- Thursday morning, Mark and Owen stayed home while I took Annabeth to VBS. I spent the morning out ALONE! I browsed two of my favorite Goodwill stores. My best score was a boutique brand (that I love!!) sweater for just $4! I found 7 shirts for me, 4 for Annabeth, and 3 for Owen ALL FOR $40!!!

We are looking forward to a great weekend - celebrating the wedding of Shelby and Toby and church at Mt. Olive. Mark is looking forward to a weekend hike with scouts.

Happy Savings to All!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mother Daughter Weekend 2018

Annabeth and I spent this past weekend at Camp Lakeview for our second Mother Daughter Weekend.

We went last year and had so much fun that we counted down the days until we could go back. Last year, Annabeth surprised me SO many times by being uncharacteristically brave - choosing the top bunk, doing the zip-line, swimming in deep water, and zooming down the slip-n-slide. When I think back to that week, I am still amazed at what all she was brave enough to do at just five years old! I was SO excited to share camp with her! Both Mark and I grew up at Lakeview, volunteered as JCs, and served three summers on staff. We continue to support camp in our prayers, money, and volunteer service when able. It in so many ways has been such a huge part of each of our individual lives and faith journeys and we have always prayed that it would be a life-changing, soul-changing place for our children as well.

This year was equally wonderful! We were in the cabin of Miami again and had so much fun with some of the same cabin mates that we had last year! We didn't ask to be together so it was a fun surprise to see them again and to catch up.

 I was a camper in Miami for three summers
and it was also my home while on staff for three summers.
Now she loves it too!

AmyKuhn Hair, peace sign, and tie-dye 
Her camp "look" is similar to mine from 2001! :)  

The zipline is down this year after a big storm  and Annabeth was very worried that she wouldn't be challenged. She quickly learned that camp is always full of new adventures and challenges. She enjoyed riding the horses for the first time this year, we had been asked by doctors to skip last year until we had final allergy test results, and she loved riding "Freckles." She also improved her archery skills under the guidance of a counselor that was my camper as a child! That was a really fun moment for me. Annabeth was even brave enough to swim out to the Black Peal in deep water and to jump off! She is so amazingly fearless at camp and I love that God gives her that courage at our special place.

Nearly every corner of camp holds a memory for me. As I walk, I think "Oh...that's where happened..." Some places are obvious life changing places like the campfire or chapel and then some are special just to me like the staff lounge where I very first met Mark. I had fun this year walking to each activity with Annabeth as she said, "Remember last year I did..." or "I love this...." Seeing her fall in love with the Lord and with camp in the same place I did is incredible.

Camp was/is an intergal part of my faith journey, my friendships, and obviously changed the course of my life at age 12 when I really fell in love with God there and again at 19 when I fell in love with Mark there. It, although just a physical place, has been the most meaningful and special place in my life.

I pray daily that my children have a place that means so much to them because of how God shapes their heart and uses them for His glory in that place. If that place is camp then that will be all the more special for me!

As for Annabeth, she cried and cried when it was time to leave. She is currently planning her week long solo-trip next summer and is debating which Camp Lakeview t-shirt she will choose at the Shirt Shack. I am so thankful our girl loves our camp so much!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Frugal Friday 250

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I mentioned in last week's post that the kids and I enjoyed our library's Pioneer Day. We filled out a survey at the end and ended up winning one of the prizes. We won the complete Little House on the Prairie DVD set! I loved watching this show with my Mama and sister when I was little and can't wait to share it with the kids.

We enjoyed watching the Little House on the Prairie movie from this set
on a rainy day this week. Thank you JCPL for this great prize! 

 - My parents were here last weekend for Annabeth's dance recital and Father's Day. We enjoyed lots of free fun at two local parks, the library, our local history museum, and our own neighborhood. We love having them here and were so excited to have three days with them! Owen especially loved getting to go out on a date with them for ice cream with a gummy worm and Mark and I loved being able to go Owen-free to her recital!

Hard to believe this was her 5th year of dance classes and her 5th recital!
We are consistently impressed with her work ethic and dedication to dance!

- Sunday afternoon we went to our friend Sophia's 6th birthday party - which was a beautiful Wizard of Oz themed party. The Sichting Family REALLY knows how to throw a party and we all had fun checking out all of the themed cakes, decor, and food. Annabeth loved playing with her dance friends and celebrating Sophia turning 6!

- After her birthday party, we went up north to celebrate Father's Day with Mark's family. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins and we had a good time catching up with the grown-ups. We had an ice cream sundae bar for dessert which the kids talked about all week!

- Monday night Annabeth had to take a white shirt to dance class to tie-dye for Nationals. We chose to take a shirt we already had instead of buying a new one.

- Tuesday we met friends at the city pool for Twilight Swim - just $2/person.

- Yesterday we enjoyed some free, indoor fun at the library while it poured. After dinner, the skies cleared so the kids and I went out on a long, long walk! It started to sprinkle and we loved walking the rest of the way home in the rain!

We are looking forward to this weekend as Annabeth and I are headed to Camp Lakeview for Mother Daughter Weekend and Mark and Owen have a fun "Man Weekend" planned.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Frugal Friday 249

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked shifts at his part-time job and overtime at his regular job. Mark is also away at a coroner school this week.

- Saturday the kids and I enjoyed the Little Library on the Prairie put on by our county library system. They enjoyed seeing and making all kinds of pioneer things. Owen really loved shelling corn and washing clothes on a washboard. Annabeth enjoyed making her own clothespin doll and doing laundry as well. This was the first year our library has held this event and it was wonderful! We were there two hours and didn't even manage to see or do it all. We headed home because Owen was tired and it was past nap-time but Annabeth and I could have stayed all day!

They each had a great time washing clothes and
then hanging them out on the line. 

Owen thought himself to be quite the cowboy with his
hat and boots.  

- Our sweet neighbor invited the kids over to her garage sale. They each got to choose a few little toys to bring home. Owen LOVES the big truck that she gave him. It's his most played with toy this week - even over his new birthday gifts! She wouldn't let us pay her so I had the kids take her handmade pictures later in the week as a Thank You.

- We have been outside playing every day for weeks. We have two huge bird nests in our backyard. The kids love checking for the birds and looking/listening to them each day. I have been holding onto the Charlotte Mason quote: An observant child should be put in the way of things worth observing. 

- Mark spent Sunday helping one of his scouts with his Eagle Project. The group got lots of work done and the scout sent home extra dessert with Mark. We enjoyed it after Sunday dinner.

- Sunday the kids and I enjoyed our friend Audrey's birthday party after church. Jeanette, Audrey's mom, is so creative and had the cutest party. It was a crafty tea party and the girls made cupcake banks, bracelets, and then decorated their own cupcakes. Owen tagged along since Mark was at scouts and both of the kids had the best time. I also enjoyed a nice chat with some of my favorite Mama Friends.

- Tuesday the kids had their gymnastics spectacular to close out the spring session. Our little tradition has always been to Annabeth out to a special lunch afterwards and since this was Owen's first year we let him choose. We enjoyed the pizza buffet at Chicago's Pizza. Afterwards, we headed down to Camp Atterbury to fish. The kids made it about two hours, thanks to cloudy skies and a good breeze, before Mark brought us home and went back to fish alone.

My favorite fisherpeople.

- As we were finalizing our grocery list for the week, Mark reminded me that one of the items was already in the freezer AND a co-worker texted us to ask if we wanted a couple dozen eggs which were also on our list. I am thankful for the blessing of not only what we need but more than enough! 

- I listed 5 baby items on Facebook. I sold one on Marketplace. It was our jogging stroller and I was able to sell it for what we bought it for! I love coming out even.

- We visited our county history museum (which is free!) yesterday with friends. It entertained the kids for a little over an hour.

We are looking forward to a busy dance filled weekend and Father's Day on Sunday.
We are thankful for the blessing of our earthly fathers and our grandfathers who have since gone Home. We are eternally grateful that Heavenly Father saw fit to make us and to give us the incredible blessing of salvation through Jesus Christ His son.

Happy Savings to All!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

10 Baby Names We Loved But Didn't Use

I love names! I have always loved learning people's full names and hearing the stories behind them.

I had so much fun naming each of our kids and lately I have been seeing some fun blog/vlog prompts and one of them is the "10 Baby Names Loved But Didn't Use" and thought it would be fun to share ours!

If you are curious about how our kids got their names check out those posts here:
Annabeth Sage
Owen Merit

So...10 Baby Names We Loved But Didn't Use:

Girls' Names:
Emerson (nicknamed Emma) - I always had Emerson Beth as my girl name. Mark really loved Emma and I thought Emerson nicknamed Emma would be cute.

Madelyn - We both loved this name and I still do. We know so many Madelyns and I just think it's such a sweet name! This was our "twin name" during Annabeth's pregnancy so if we had twin girls they would have been Annabeth and Madelyn.

Evelyn - This was the other name, along with Madelyn, that we tossed around both times. It is a family name from my Mama's side and just so feminine and beautiful.

Josephine Louise - This was Mark's #1 girl name with both babies. I believe both are family names from his family and he was so hooked on this name. I didn't care for either one (sorry family members!)

Carolina Joy -  I went through a phase while expecting Annabeth where I was obsessed with this name! There was a solid week where I HAD to have this name. Mark thought it was crazy and was never interested in it at all.

Elliott - We both really liked the name Elliott but only for a girl. We talked about it more so when expecting Owen and had a feminine middle name to go with it.

Boys' Names:
Ethan Patrick - From before we were married, this was our boy name. We both loved Ethan and Patrick is Mark's middle name. (We had intended to use our middle names for the kids' middle names)

Isaac - This eventually became our "boy name" during Annabeth's pregnancy. We loved it and the meaning of it as that pregnancy followed our struggle with infertitlity. The name Isaac was given in the Bible to Abraham and Sarah's son and means "God Laughs" We actually know many sons who follow infertitlity and who are given this name for that reason

Everett - We both really loved this name. It was quickly shot down by a family member so we scratched it off the list really quickly. That being said, I loved this name and would have love to use it.

We always had an easier time with girl names as we naturally just liked more of them. Other than Owen we only ever really had one boy name in the running during our second pregnancy. It's the one name "still on the table" in case we decide to name a future pet after a family member it'll be what we use :)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Frugal Friday 248

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Saturday, we celebrated Owen's third birthday. We had a nice, quiet day at home where he opened new books and craft supplies from us and then spent the day playing with them. We had our families over for a Happy Meal Party for dinner. Owen chose this theme months ago and it was a big hit. He also requested a "cheeseburger" cake so I found a cute idea on Pinterest for cheeseburger cupcakes and cookies as french fries. Happy #3 Mr O!

While trying to get family pictures, my Mama caught this look between
Owen and me. I love this picture so much! Hard to believe our baby is three 

Cheeseburger and Fries Dessert for Owen's Happy Meal #3!

- Sunday, the kids and I took my family to Brown County. We owed my parents their Christmas gift from 2016, a day in Brown Co, and my Dad his birthday gift from April, a trip to Rich Hill's Magic Shop. We had so much fun learning some new magic tricks and buying more to learn at home. The kids played on the nature playground and we enjoyed treating them all to a wonderful lunch at Brozzini Pizza. We came home and the kids played out back in their new slide and pool from Aunt Lu.

Helping Grandpa (and Grandmama - see her in the reflection) explore Brown Co

- Mark escaped with a friend on Sunday and took a nice hike. It was only about 80 degrees and he said they enjoyed hiking a new trail. We were thankful he missed stepping on a six foot snake!! Eek! The kids did love seeing its picture though.

- We cancelled our subcription to our local paper. It just went up a bit in price and we really only get it for the coupons. There have been fewer and fewer coupons so we haven't really been saving with our coupons as we spent more money to get them. We have also found that Meijer often has the same coupons online as in the paper so I can continue to clip and use those.

- We also cancelled our cable subscription. (Yes, frugal friends, we have had cable all this time! We went years without it and when we moved to our current house we were debt free except for our mortgage and decided to splurge on something we really enjoyed) Our cable bill has steadily increased over the four years that we have been here and it just isn't worth it anymore. Now that our kids are older, we are looking more and more at taking bigger vacations and we are excited to use the savings from the newspaper and cable to help fund them!

- Wednesday night I got to go to the grocery, ALONE! I spent a bit more than I had planned but Owen's swim pants were skin tight, to the point he was refusing to wear them, and new ones weren't on sale yet but I got them anyway. I did score $.70 leggings for Annabeth in the next two sizes on the 90% off rack. Our bill for the week was still under $95 including those five unplanned buys.

- Yesterday morning, the kids and I met our friends the Peters Girls at our new park in town. We played there for an hour and then as it began to get hot we headed to the library to play for another hour. We also turned in our completed weekly challenge and earned three free kids meal coupons! Kelley and her girls also brought us a big bag of things to use for school. Thank you all so much!

We are looking forward to a really fun weekend with a special event in town, Eagle Scout projects, and a birthday party.

Happy Savings to All!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Owen Merit is Three!

Today, Owen Merit is three!

Owen is by far one of the funiest people I have ever met! He already has great comedic timing, we joke that he is channeling his cousins Addison and Austin who are awesome comedians and performers. He loves to put on a show and if you give him a giggle he'll do it 100 times to get more! He loves to make people laugh and to encourage everyone to "just dance now!" Owen already has a great idea of how to move his face to show us just how he feels about things. He has a sweet dance move involving his "dance face" and a finger point that would win any heart. Again, he'll do anything for a laugh!

He's also super in tune with people and how they feel. He can read my emotions a mile away. He is so sympathetic and kind when someone is hurt or sad. He also has some big, huge emotions of his own! He goes from zero to angry in about three seconds - we are working on that! 

Owen is often cuddly and sweet beyond measure. He loves to rock in his rocking chair with me and to sing our favorite hymn. He will also often cuddle with Mark and Annabeth still which is so lovely!

His favorite song in "The Giant Song" aka Bethoveen's 5th Symphony. You know, Dun-Dun-Dun-Dunnnnn" He loves to tell Knock-Knock-Jokes (missing the punch line of course, he is only three) He also has memorized many of his books and reads to us quite often.

Owen loves taking 'nastics class with "Aunt" Kari Kermode, Miss Emily, and Miss Tiana at Style. He has learned and grown so much this year! They have taught him gymnastics moves but he also has finally learned to jump! A skill he has been working towards for a long time. Here is Owen's "Yes! Jump!" face: 

Owen has also gotten himself into the K-3rd Grade Children's Church class. He refuses to go to the toddler one and insists on staying with Annabeth. Sweet Miss Teri and Miss Clara both let him stay and even humor him by telling David and Goliath (his favorite Bible story) every single week.

Some of Owen's current catch phrases:
"Hey Gaga! We best friends"
"My dad says about Bigfoot"
"No thanks. I good."
"Why you do that?!"
"Bigfoot says 'ooo'"
"We best friends Mama"
"Hey Dad, you my best friend"
"Giant Song! Dun-dun-dun-dunnnn"

My favorite thing about Owen is that he loves LOVES to pray and to sing praise music! He always prays when we hear sirens, before we eat, and before bedtimes. He also sometimes just prays at random, "Wow! Thank you God that geese! That's my geese!" Since I only play praise music in the car he has memorized last year's Bible School CD as well as some classic hymns ("Shall We Gather at the River" to name one) as performed by Reba. His heart is already so full of love for life and for the Lord! I pray that will stay with him always. We joke that he is our little minister in training.

It's hard to believe he's only been with us three short years. I feel like I cannot remember a time in my life before Owen. He is very much one of my best friends and such a source of joy in our lives.

Happy Third Birthay Owen!
We pray that you continue to grow in life and love and you seek to serve Him in all that you do. Amen.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Frugal Friday 247

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Annabeth and I each finished our first 15 hours through our library's summer reading program. We each earned an entry into the Grand Prize Giveaway (which is awesome this year!! It's a weekend getaway that would be awesome to win!) We also chose little prizes - a water bottle for me and coin purse/earbuds for Annabeth. The kids and I did a scavenger hunt while at the library and they each earned a free pencil. Woohoo!! Free homeschool supplies!

- Saturday we made the drive down to Evansville for Memorial Day Weekend. We spent part of the day at the Children's Museum of Evansville with my Dad. My parents got a pass for the year and we had a lot of free fun in the air conditioning! We also took Uli Dog out to Sonic to celebrate her 17th Birthday!

- Sunday after church, we drove down to Owensboro to visit Momaw. She had a little birthday celebration for Owen with a fun card and gift. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch from Old Hickory and spent the afternoon alternating between playing board games and checking chores off her to-do list. We wrapped up the visit with a dance show by Annabeth and Owen.

- Monday we spent the day at my family's lakehouse. Owen didn't remember the lake and fell in love with driving the boat! Annabeth loved driving the boat, sitting with her feet in the water, and fishing. Mark had the best catch of the day a HUGE catfish!

 Anchors Aweigh on Memorial Day!
We enjoyed matching in our coordinating anchor outfits.
The kids' are from last summer, Annabeth's handmade by Kelley at
Heaven Bound HCA, and mine was a Goodwill find (new with tags!) earlier
this spring. 

Mark and Annabeth out on the open water 

Owen, Grandpa, Aunt Lu, and Annabeth out
on the second boat tour of the day

- As always, we stopped by the Lynnville Coal Mine Memorial Day Sale. We have been going to this for nearly a decade and always find awesome things! This year I found three books (a women's prayer book, an atlas for our school room, and a book about America by Thoreau), two brand new with tags Mud Pie holiday towels, and a little set of pilgrims with a turkey. All purchased by Mama making a small donation to the museum so completely free for me. 

I bought the Thoreau book for the inscription:
"To Leroy and Polly - Whose depth of existence can only be expressed poetically - thank you, Sally"
I don't know Leroy, Polly, or Sally but I loved this!

- Tuesday night we met our friends Jeanette and Audrey at the city pool for Twilight Swim. Our pool offers $2/person admission after 5 pm.

- Annabeth and I rolled the change in her piggy bank and took it to the actual bank. I try to do this a few times a year.

- We purchased Annabeth's dance costume for next year's solo. She had a very specific wishlist, despite not having a final song choice yet, and one came up that she loved and well under the budget I had set. I was thankful to find a good deal, shipped for less than I had planned for.

We had a busy week doing some deep cleaning around the house and preparing for Owen's third birthday and little party tomorrow.

Happy Savings to All!