Feed The Pig {Small Savings, Big Reward}

Hey y’all! Do you want to go on vacation next summer? Us too! We can’t afford to make a line item in our budget for a vacation, so we’ve had to get tricky and think outside the box in order to fund our first ever family vacation. Yes, I said first ever. We’ve never been on a real family vacation before, so we’re planning to take one in 2017 no matter what. 

But how will you fund this thing, you ask? We’re feeding our pig! No, we don’t own a real pig. We have a big, chubby piggy bank we’re feeding every time we find a coin or cash in our bottles and cans for money. All of that goes straight into the pig.


Seriously the saddest photo of a pig I’ve ever seen. This pig needs to go on vacation!

How did you ever get such an odd idea, you ask? I got this idea on my birthday when I was thinking up ways to give a gift to my family because they have given me the gift of love everyday. I shared my idea with them and they love it!

Originally, we’d started saving coins in a clear two and a half-gallon jug, but we could see the coins and after years of emptying it every time we had an “emergency” we decided that just wouldn’t work, so now we’re feeding the pig! So far, we have it about half full already! We estimate there is about $50 in there, but to be fair…it was already about 1/4 full when I first got the idea.  I’m excited to crack that piggy open next summer and see what’s inside!

You might be asking “well, what happens when you fill the pig? Will you empty it out and refill it?” Well, yes and no. We’re going to leave all the money in there until next summer. When this pig is full, we’re going to fill another pig. Ideally, we’ll make our own pig out of fun recycled materials. If we do, I’ll be sure to share the tutorial of how we did it. If not, you know me…I’ll fess up and humble myself enough to tell you we broke down and purchased one at the Dollar Tree or a yard sale. 😉 I estimate we’ll fill this pig by the end of summer, but we’ll see!

We have some ideas about what we want to do. The kids obviously want to go to Disney Land, but I am vehemently opposed. I do not fit that into my list of values. There are much more frugal things to do with that money, y’all! Personally, I’d prefer my kids experience a national park or a cool new beach. I want to experience the outdoors and reset our natural clocks…maybe get Anthony to wake up before 8 am for once? (Yes, I am one of those annoying morning people. I wake up happy, want the house cleaned and children fed before 9 am. I swear, I was meant to be an Army drill sergeant. I missed my calling.)

Anyway, this is going to be a really interesting experiment. If we can all keep up with it, we’re going to have an amazing time. If not, well, I hope the kids like beans and wieners cooked over a campfire at a local campground because I am absolutely serious when I say we’re going on a vacation next year and it’s absolutely not going to be funded by our line item budget – this is all to be funded by coins and bottle returns.

What is the oddest way you’ve ever funded a vacation? Have you ever tried to fund one from bottle returns and coins? How did that work out for you? Share in the comments below. And remember – feed your pig!



A random photo of my adorable son enjoying his first BBQ rib last night. Because my sense of humor is nuts and I love showing off my super amazing kids. Enjoy! 


I had completely forgotten about some adorable webcam videos I’d made of my girls a few years ago. They were rediscovered this morning while I was looking for something else. Apparently I’d started a YouTube channel while my husband was on deployment. My favorite of the videos is of the girls having a tea party. So here it is now, revived for your enjoyment!

Big Yellow Teapot

Hobbies {Toy Collecting}

Anthony and I love to shop at yard sales when we can. We’re a really frugal family who hates to pay full price for anything that can be had for less – and most things can be had for less. One of our newest hobbies is collecting old toys, especially well made, wooden automobiles, trains, and little play sets that activate the imaginations of kids. One of our latest additions was a 1972 Mattel’s Putt Putt train set. We bought it for $2 at a yard sale recently, along with a large amount of small wooden blocks. Our kids are ecstatic! They love the blocks, trains and cars and will sit on the living room floor and play with them for hours. Anthony and I join them often and play right alongside them.

Wooden blocks, trains

Theresa playing with blocks, cars, and trains

Honestly, I never saw myself becoming a toy collector, but I’m really enjoying it! It’s so much fun to research where the toys came from, how they were made, what the complete set looks like, and the original cost of the toy when it was purchased new. It’s a delight to rediscover the past this way, but also to embrace well-made toys, rather than some of the “fluff” that is sold in toy stores these days. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly brand new toys will fall apart and break once taken out of the package. Why do we waste our money on these things?  We’re now in the slow process of completing several play sets for birthdays and Christmas. As we collect more of the well made toys, we’re selling some of our kids’ plastic toys (with their enthusiastic permission) because they’re not playing with them. The more plastic toys we sell, the more well made toys we make room for.

Some of our collections include:

  • 1972 Mattel’s Putt Putt train set  (Ebay link for those interested in seeing it)
  •  1981 Bluebird Toys The Big Yellow Tea Pot set (from UK) – yes, it’s plastic, however, it’s high quality and follows higher standards of production and safety than most toys sold in the U.S. (Ebay link for those interested in it)
  • Old wooden, hand carved cars, trucks, trains, etc. We pick them up, knowing they’re hardier and better for constant indoor play than matchbox cars. Also, the larger sizes are easier for small hands to pick up and navigate.
  • Vintage Barbie dolls, clothes, furniture and her more recent friends and pets (we don’t keep the small shoes, accessories and hair brushes though. Those get sold almost immediately, rather than risk getting sucked up in the vacuum or sifted out of the dog’s food bowl.)

What about you? What do you collect?

24 days until Christmas: Holiday Light Show {Opening Day}

Tonight was the opening day for our town’s annual holiday light show in the park. Anthony and I bundled up the girls and took them tonight as a surprise. I wish we’d remembered the camera, darn it! The girls had no idea what we were doing, so as soon as we drove up to the Winter Wonderland, they were excited!

Nature's Coastal Holiday Brookings Oregon

Nature’s Coastal Holiday Brookings Oregon

It was lightly drizzling and there is a fun new to us feature this year. They were giving out 3D glasses that made each light display appear to be made of colored snow flakes when you wore the glasses! How much fun is that? The admission was only $1 for adults and kids over the age of 12, making this a frugal and fun adventure we’re likely to enjoy again and again. (I’ll make sure to take my camera next time!)

What fun, frugal holiday activities are going on in your neck of the woods? Care to share? Let us know in the comments!


26 Days Until Christmas: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!!

Thanksgiving was really fun! We spent the entire day at my parent’s house. (We are so blessed to live less than an hour away from my parents!) Before we started the Thanksgiving festivities, we had to partake in the family tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on TV. Since we don’t allow a television set in our house, we had to watch it at my parent’s house. (We’d managed fine when we were in Seattle, because we just went to the day after Thanksgiving parade outside Macy’s in Seattle.) My grandma Verla started the tradition of watching the parade when I was very young, and it’s something that has always been fun and meaningful to me. As usual, Macy’s did not disappoint and put on a good show this year! I was especially excited to see the Goo Goo Dolls on the Lindt float!

Goo Goo Dolls and chocolate. Does it get any better than this? I think not.

Goo Goo Dolls and chocolate. Does it get any better than this? I think not.


I also really enjoyed Joan Jett, Debby Ryan, Gavin Degraw, Jimmy Fallon and the cast of Sesame Street. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the Cirque de Soleil crew kept from knocking into each other and getting tangled up! What a great show they put on! We were all very impressed.

After the parade, we focused on making dinner and were not disappointed by the effort put into making all that delicious food! We’re all anticipating Christmas and enjoying our time together. What about your family? Any fun Thanksgiving traditions? Let me know in the comments!



27 Days Until Christmas: Elf and Turkey

First of all, I’m sorry the following few posts are late. Our internet was out at our house, so there was little I could do to update the blog, other than continue doing the behind the scenes stuff, like celebrating the season and enjoying my family. I hope you enjoy what we did as much as we enjoyed it!


The day before Thanksgiving was pretty busy! Anthony was off work, but we made time to enjoy each other and to prepare for Thanksgiving. As a family, we cooked a majority of the foods together, played games and watched one of my favorite Christmas movies, Elf. It was Theresa and Chelsea’s first time watching this movie, and they thoroughly enjoyed it! In fact, they giggled and hooted loudly throughout the entire film.The next morning, they started quoting the movie.

Greatest movie ever made

Throne of Lies

While we didn’t make a craft, and the day was a busy one, the bottom line is that we still thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and we celebrated the gift of each other’s company. It was a fun day to remember.

How about you? What fun holiday movie does your family enjoy? Have you seen Elf? What are some of your favorite quotes?

Mistle Toes

30 Days Until Christmas: Mistle Toes


Today we got a little bit messy in the bathroom, as we painted our Mistle Toes! I got the original idea from a Pinterest.com post.


The original Pinterest idea

First, I had the girls wash their feet in the tub. Then I had the good sense to ask them to get naked, so they could take a bath afterwards to clean up the paint. 🙂 I painted Chelsea’s feet a light green and had her step on several sheets of paper. The girls were all wound up and wiggly from a morning at church with grandma, so they had a hard time standing still. But it was still very fun! After Chelsea’s feet were painted and printed, I lifted her into the bath tub for a luxury foot soak, and it was Theresa’s turn. She wasn’t too keen on it until she realized that green feet are kind of cool. Then she realized she had Grinch feet, so it was on from there!

We tried to get a printing of the dog, but Rosie wasn’t too interested in taking part in that. (The dog still got a bath anyway. Poor Rosie!)

When the paint was (mostly) dry, I took a fine tipped paintbrush and dipped it into red paint and drew on the final details. The girls were amazed by how it all came together. I did print some on other colors, but they’re far too wet to complete now, so I’ll have to update this posting later.

All in all, this was a fun craft! I plan on framing them as soon as they’re dry, so I’ll of course update with that, too.

What do you think? Would you kiss beneath these Mistle Toes?