Monday, December 30, 2019

Favorite Monthly Pictures of 2019

Happy End of 2019!

I did a post like this a few years ago and I love reflecting on it each December so I thought I'd do it again this year.

Here are my 12 Favorite Pictures from 2019...

Our BIG Christmas gift for our kids was their first trip to Disney on Ice.
Seeing Owen's face when Mickey skated out was the highlight of the month for me! 

I made the big, firm decision to go gray at 32.
Thank you to my amazing friend, and hair lady, Christy Stearns
for making it so easy and beautiful! 

March 8 we fell in love all over again when our newest nephew came into
the world. We surprised the kids after church one day with a trip
to meet him.  

We celebrated Easter in Evansville.
I love this picture of my parents and the kids.

Niagara Falls has been on my Bucket List since high school and we
made it happen for our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

 Annabeth competed in the Johnson County 4H Talent Show.
Not only did she win her category, she won the WHOLE show!
Her first Grand Champion before she even started 4H!

A swim day with our best friends!
We thought they were moving to Texas so we spent many spare
moments in summer savoring moments with them. In the last weeks before the move,
God graciously provided a job close to home and they didn't move! Praise the Lord! 

The kids started Homeschool Saddle Club and Owen fell in LOVE 
with horses! It has been so fun to watch him grow and learn.  

 A cousins' date at Apple Works.
I love that we've lived close, far, and now close again and that the love
has always carried us across the miles. 

I always wanted to be in love in the fall and I'm so thankful for Mark
who loves me in the fall (and winter, spring, and summer)
He truly is my whole world.  

November had so many wonderful moments but this picture is my favorite.
Cowboy Owen and Cowboy Statue at Old Hickory BBQ in Owensboro, KY  

The kids hugging after their Christmas Canata at church.
I love their love for each other and their growing love for the Lord. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Frugal Friday 324

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last Friday we drove down to Charlestown to spend the day with our best friends. Rose sweetly set up a cookie decorating station, cooked lunch, and the kids all exchanged gifts. I am so thankful for our friendship and now the friendship of our kids.

- Friday Mark attended our city employee lunch. He won a door prize and came home with a blanket, mug, t-shirt, and several gift cards. Thank you to our city for being so generous to its employees!

- Saturday morning we had Christmas at our house. It is SO much fun watching the kids open the gifts we've found for them. Owen especially loved his stuffed pups and Annabeth loved her clothes and accessories for her doll.

- Saturday afternoon we played clean-out-the-fridge for lunch and then headed down to Evansville. We made it in time to share Group dinner with a dear group of church friends. The kids had so much playing with the kids that Owen cried when it was time to leave.

- Sunday after church Mark, the kids, and I went to Owensboro to visit Momaw. We had a nice lunch together and the boys did some work in her garage and took her car to the car wash as a gift to her. She passed on a pair of shoes to me that she had purchased but didn't fit correctly.

- Monday we had a family day. We spent the morning together doing scavenger hunts around my parents' house. Then the boys took the kids out to lunch and to Mickey's Kingdom. The girls ate leftovers for lunch and did some last minute shopping. We all met for dinner at Fuji Yama so we could give our friend Miss Helen her Christmas gift.

- Christmas Eve we got out and enjoyed a few hours hiking, bird watching, and playing at a park. It was glorious to have a 55 degree Christmas Eve.

- We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both sides of my family. We enjoyed seeing many cousins, aunts, and uncles that we only see a few times over the course of the year.

- Christmas Day was even warmer and instead of focusing on presents, the kids spent hours playing Hide and Go Seek Outside as it was nearly 70 degrees in Kentucky! It was so wonderful!

We had a truly wonderful, nearly whole week, in Evansville/Owensboro!
We are so thankful for precious time with family and look forward to more Christmas celebrations this weekend.

Merry Christmas!
Love, The Rileys

Friday, December 20, 2019

Frugal Friday 323

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I am part of the University of Louisville Alumni Facebook page. This year they did a 12 Days of Christmas and I won Day Two! They kindly mailed me a very nice Alumni hat and car sticker. Thank you UofL Alumni!

Proud to be a graduate of UofL! 

- Friday evening the kids and I enjoyed a live animal show at a local library. We saw many animals and enjoyed seeing the reindeer most of all.

- Saturday morning the kids and I treated Mark's dad to Breakfast with Jesus and Santa at our church. This is our annual tradition with his parents but unfortunately his mom was sick this year. I know his dad and the kids still had a great time. Annabeth was even kind enough to visit Santa so they could have a picture.

- Saturday afternoon we went to a wonderful birthday party for some sweet sisters. Each of the kids had friends there and they had so much fun having an indoor snowball fight, going on a candy cane hunt, and playing with their friends.

- Sunday morning the kids offered gifts of song and dance during the church Cantata. They had practice for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and then participated in both services on Sunday. They had a wonderful time and I was so proud to see them praising our Lord.

- Sunday afternoon Mark got back in town after a training and the kids and I were worn out from the long weekend we were SO tempted to pick up lunch but we resisted! We did a quick grocery stop for the week and came home and cooked lunch. Everyone was hungry and grumpy but we did it anyway!

- Monday morning we woke up to snow! After school, the kids bundled up and played for a while. The kids played outside at least one hour every day this week. They came in to warm up before dance and Owen and I made homemade cocoa. Most store bought cocoas are not Annabeth safe so we have been making our own for years.

- If you have been reading for a while, you know that I do a big closet clean out twice a year. I took the time to do it one day and cleaned out all of my clothes. I let my sister have first pick of the clothes and then the rest will go to the Junk Exchange to share with friends.

- Tuesday after some appointments we came home to enjoy an afternoon of snow play and baking. Growing up, my Mama always made the first snow of the season Cookie Baking Day. We had snow and baked cookies last snow but we decided we needed to bake a cake for this snow as well.

- Mark woke up very early both Monday and Tuesday to shovel snow. He shoveled at his work and also for our elderly neighbors. The kids were up early to see him and I love his constant example of Christian witness. He does it early, in the dark hours of the morning and comes home before anyone knows it was him who completed the task. I so admire his willingness to give without asking for, or expecting, anything in return.

- I mended three clothing items. A penny saved is a penny earned and we always try to fix or mend before buying again.

- Three weeks ago I got out a card table to work a puzzle. After we finished that puzzle, I left it out and in since then the kids have been working something on it everyday. Some puzzles, some art, some Legos, some Knex but always building. Who knew simply adding a piece of furniture would spark such creativity?!

- A few weeks ago, a fellow Book Lady shared some pictures of her vendor/school set up. She had an awesome book rack and sent me the Amazon link after I asked for it. It was $180 new/$125 used (plus shipping!) On Wednesday, a teacher store in Evansville posted they were GIVING AWAY book racks much like the one I have on my Amazon list! My sister ran over and grabbed one for me!! Thank you Lu! I am happy to put the money I had been saving for the rack back into my business in a different way!

I cannot wait to get a new Usborne Books & More label for the top and to
fill it for books for sale!

We are looking forward to a busy weekend and a blessed Christmas Week.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Frugal Friday 322

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- I cleaned out my dresser. 15 items went to the Junk Exchange box. It still amazes me each time I clean out my clothes, generally twice a year, that I ALWAYS find more to part with.

- I ordered the last of our online Christmas gifts. I had forgotten (UGH!!!) to use a free promotional coupon that I had but I was still able to wait for a decent sale and free shipping on the items. I saved (between the sale and shipping) about $35 but I would have saved an additional $15 if I hadn't let my coupon expire. Thankfully this sale came in time for Christmas shipping.

- I donated a $30 bag of Usborne books to the Franklin City Police Department's Christmas party. The department kindly offered every family who came to the Christmas Party a door prize. I hope this bag, books, and coupon are a blessing to the family that received it.

- We enjoyed the department Christmas party as a family. We won a salt water float ($50 value!) and a coupon for a free meal at Culver's. We don't eat at Culver's so we passed that along to a friend. Toodleydoo Toys in Franklin also AMAZINGLY gave every single family a $10 coupon! Thank you Debi and staff!

- Mark and Owen used the $10 Toodleydoo coupon to buy Annabeth's Christmas gift. It was one of the last gifts that we needed to buy, we had planned to do it close to when we open gifts so Owen wouldn't have to keep the surprise from Annabeth for long, and this coupon came just in time.

- Saturday morning Mark and Owen met up with Mark's mom to do some Christmas shopping. Annabeth and I had a quiet morning at home as we worked a 300 piece puzzle (she is great at puzzles and I am learning to be patient with my lack of skills) and watched baking shows.

- Saturday afternoon we drove down towards Seymour for a birthday party. Annabeth's sweet friend from summer camp has been her pen-pal all school year and the girls were excited to see each other to celebrate H's birthday. I didn't know that she goes to school with a couple of my friend's children so I was able to catch up with my friend Whitney as well. On the way home, we stopped in Columbus for a Ru Yi sushi date.

She has ALWAYS loved sushi!
That night she had a sweet potato roll and rainbow roll with 5 kinds of fresh fish.

- Sunday after church we did our grocery shopping for the next two weeks. This was our first big trip in three weeks and should last us through Christmas (we get fresh produce delivered weekly from Imperfect) We made Chinese Food at home and then had a triple-show-Christmas-movie afternoon. It was a much needed break before the busyness of the next few weeks set in.

- Tuesday we drove to Shelbyville to deliver books to a customer. We also stopped by the Grover Museum - Shelby County History Museum - for about 90 minutes. The kids always love to see the 1900 town, train room, and at Christmas the decorated trees. Annabeth is in third grade this year so I am making a point to visit all of the local county museums to learn more about our local history.

- Tuesday evening we enjoyed Travel Club at the library. This month was about Italy and presented by an exchange student from Italy. The kids loved learning about his hometown and each asked some great questions.

- Wednesday evening Owen and I dropped Annabeth off at dance and then we drove to Indy for an Advent Service. Both of our nieces and our nephew were reading/singing in a mid-week Advent service and we so enjoyed worshipping with them. Mark picked up Annabeth from dance and they took a fun drive to look at Christmas lights.

- Yesterday, Annabeth had a Riley appointment. Since we were already nearly to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis we headed there after. We enjoyed an in-the-car picnic lunch on the roof of the parking garage. Then we enjoyed over three hours of fun at the museum. We have about six weeks left on our membership so I want to go as much as possible.

- This year Owen's FAVORITE thing to do has been to save the sea turtles at the museum. The one Christmas gift I hadn't found yet was a turtle like the one at the museum so we stopped by the gift shop to get him one. We do NOT usually exit through the gift shop but I really wanted him to have a turtle and members saved 20% so it was the day for it. Annabeth also got a small item.

 Owen saving the turtles. 
He LOVES this area!

Ultimately he decided against a plastic turtle like the museum ones
and chose a plush one. Since it was over 1/2 the price of the plastic one, I agreed.
Hugging "Leo" his new turtle friend.

- Last night Owen and Mark went to a local park to help a friend's son with his Eagle Scout Project. Annabeth and I stayed home to have a low key evening.

Frugal Fail: Last Thursday, a family at church called and offered us two tickets to the Jurassic Quest dino show in downtown Indianapolis. Owen hasn't really gotten into dinosaurs and is scared easily so I passed on the generous offer. Once I saw other people's pictures/videos from the show I realized that he may have really enjoyed it. That being said,I hope they found another family to share with.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Frugal Friday 321

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money -

- Mark worked some overtime and I worked my Usborne Books & More Business.

- Last Friday, we decorated the house and put up the tree. We ate Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch which was wonderful! Each of the kids also decorated a ginger bread house. I found Anna-Safe Mickey Mouse ones at Target for just $5 each. We love doing this each year and I love when I find Anna-Safe ones!

- Saturday I worked the Ladies Day Out Vendor Fair at Style. I had a decent sales day and enjoyed meeting some new book lovers. I packed my lunch and only purchased a $5 item so the day was very affordable.

- Saturday morning while Annabeth was at gymnastics, Mark took Owen out for a date. Owen asked to go to Starbucks and they sat, drank coffee, and talked. Owen has talked about it ALL week!

- Sunday we were the Advent Readers and Candle Lighters at church. Annabeth was so excited that she barely slept the night before! They also had practice for the Christmas Cantata. 

- After church, we finished up our Thanksgiving leftovers (mashed potatoes, cheezy carrots, and corn on the cob) but we didn't have any turkey so we ate it with shrimp. We called it an Island Thanksgiving! 

- Sunday afternoon Mark and I took turns playing with the kids and taking naps. We each snuck in a 2 hour nap which was AMAZING! He played games and built paper crafts with the kids during mine and the kids and I baked cookies and wrote our mail for the week during his.

- Our church has adopted several families from a local elementary school to receive Christmas gifts. We took two wishlists off the tree and the kids selected all of the candy that the kids had wished for. In the candy aisle, they each found things they wanted and it was such a great reminder that it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

- I LOVE getting money back with Ibotta. This month's gift card came just in time to purchase a gift for a Secret Santa exchange I am doing with some ladies I work with. I was able to buy a nice item off her wishlist and ship for free ALL covered by my Ibotta money. Join and Save Here.

- Tuesday after school we enjoyed a bit of play at the library. The kids also found new books for the week as well as our new read aloud. We then spent 90 minutes at our local museum. The kids enjoyed the permanent exhibits, seeing what the revolving exhibit is, and voting on Christmas trees decorated by local charity groups.

- Wednesday we had a bit of cabin fever. We're at the end of the semester, finishing books and testing so we've been home most days the past few weeks. The weather was very warm and since it was around 50 degrees we spent over two hours outside that afternoon.

- Wednesday evening after I dropped Annabeth off at dance, I took 30 minutes and went to Starbucks. I used a giftcard to buy a coffee (decaf always now) and a cookie and I finished a Christmas book. It was  the very sweet 25 Days Till Christmas by Poppy Alexander.

We had a low key week and did not eat out (other than the Starbucks with a giftcard) or drive farther than 5 minutes away as we were trying to save on gas this week as well. Our monthly bills have increased this fall due to some unforeseen medical/dental issues and so we've had to cut back very much on "extras" That being said I am SO proud that we continue to "live like no one else so later we can live like no one else." We aren't in a season where we are paying extra on our mortgage but we are still paying cash and not taking out credit.

Happy Savings to All!