How We Installed Hardwood Over Carpet Part 2

After getting so much positive feedback and tons of interest in our little laminate wood flooring installation project we decided to do a follow up along with a little time-lapse video of how the floor removal process went. For part one click here.

Our little experimental project consisted of laying a floating floor over the carpet in our apartment. We like the aesthetics, but mainly the dining area was carpeted and we knew that wasn’t going to work especially with three small children! So we laid the floor down over it and that definitely simplified clean up after eating (and potty training for that matter).

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Still, we were unsure at the time exactly what the carpet would look like after years of being smashed under our layers of flooring. It turns out it looked great! WAY better than if we would have been living our daily lives trying to spot treat that area!

In the video you will see J removing the planks, followed by the removal of the subfloor which was OSB, and then vacuuming the carpet underneath.

Since we didn’t really document the original process we thought this video would be a nice way to see how it all came together. Even though it is of the removal, just reverse it to see how the installment would work.

A lot of readers have questions over the past couple years including-

“How long did it take?” It took about 8 hours once we had the materials ready

“Did it end up being damage free for the carpet underneath after removing?” YES!

“Is it strong enough to use as a dance floor?” I don’t know. Our three kids ages 2,5, and 7 have used it as a dance floor in some ways. It’s held up pretty well, but it had some minor evidence of wear and tear after a while.

“Would this work for an upstairs apartment? How is the sound for the downstairs neighbors?” If you are really concerned about the noise you can add a layer of floor muffler underlayment in-between your OSB and laminate planks. We did live in an upstairs apartment so it’s definitely doable, but I guess it depends on how much of a priority the volume control is for you.

That’s pretty much it. In the end we got our full deposit back after we moved and the carpet looked like new. I can assure you that would not have been the case had we not laid down the floors. And the best part is we didn’t spend all that money just for those years in the apartment, we got to take the floor with us and we are reusing it where we live now.

Our only regret was not continuing the flooring into the hallway because it is also such a high traffic area and it took a lot of abuse. If you are interested in doing a flooring project like this in your own house or rental property and you have any other questions please feel free to ask. If I can’t answer them I’ll get with the handy man that works behind the scenes here and I’m sure he can get you some info.

Good luck with your project!

By | July 30th, 2015|Frugal Living, Projects, Simple Living|18 Comments

The Seven Year Flip

When we bought our first home we did a complete overhaul to the house, but it wasn’t exactly a flip. It was never meant to be. We weren’t looking for a quick investment.

We just wanted a home that we could afford and that pretty much narrowed our search down to fixer uppers, which was fine because J is so handy and we always wanted our first house to be unique. Of course, we didn’t plan for the remodel to take 7 years, but hey life happens and we were living it!

This post is just a tiny little glimpse at some of the before and afters of our first renovation. I’ll post links to the extended version of the remodel for anyone that wants to see more, but this will be the first time I am going to share just how much we bought it for, how much we put into it, and what it sold for. Which, I hope will be inspiring for all the DIYers out there.

The Living Room

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The Dining Room 

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The Hallway

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The Kitchen

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The pictures were taken at opposite angles of the room, but you get the idea.

 

 

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The Master Bedroom

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The House

 

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It was winter grass for the record

 

So that’s most of it other than the two other bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry room. I don’t know if any of you like to watch “Flip or Flop” or any of those HGTV shows for that matter. I love that stuff, and so how can I not show a final tally of how this investment turned out for us financially? These are not exact numbers by the way, but they are pretty close.

We purchased the house in 2004 for $77,000

We spent a little over $35,000 on renovations. Not all at once! Remember this was a 7 year project. I also thought it would be worth mentioning that the kitchen was by far the biggest expense coming in at a total of $13,000! That includes gutting the entire room, putting up new walls, laying slate floors, getting all knew custom built cabinets, crown molding, granite counter tops, the booth, the lighting, and all new energy efficient stainless steel appliances. So it was a whopper, but it could have cost a lot more had we not done most of the grunt work ourselves.

Lastly, we put the house on the market the week of Christmas (talk about bad timing) but miraculously received an offer days later for our asking price of $139,000. How cool is that?

In the end we spent 112,000 (77,000+35,000). We sold for $139,000 giving us a $27,000 profit. Instead of paying to live somewhere we made over $3,000 a year off of our property. Not too shabby, although keep in mind most of the time we were somewhere in-between the before and after. So it wasn’t a classy situation believe me, and I can assure you that there was a ton of physical labor involved. Let’s just say we earned our keep.

Not that it’s anyones business what happened to that money, but we were able to pay off all of our debt including student loans, a car loan, medical bills, and credit cards. It has been such a blessing to be out from underneath all of that! I am really happy with the outcome of our “7 year flip” even though it’s not realistic for us to be home owners right now, I look forward to the day we can do something like this again. I say that looking at all the pretty pictures. It’s kind of like childbirth though, you forget how much effort it took!

 

Have you ever done any major home renovations? Would you do it again?

By | July 28th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Projects|4 Comments

Home Improvements

If you asked me what my blog was about I would say motherhood, family, crafts, homemaking, faith, natural living, frugality etc.

Keeping that in mind what do you think my all time most popular post is?

A Very Veggie Birthday?

Heart Art?

Oh Be Careful Little Mamas What You Pin?

Nope. Nothing about crafts or motherhood. Those are some of the runner ups, but the Messy Mom Blog post with the most views (by a landslide) is…

How We Put Hardwood Over Carpet

Yes. Hundreds of people come to this site everyday not to see cute pics of my kids or find out tips for natural birth. They have come to read about home improvement. The How to Install Hardwood Over Carpet does not only hold the record for all time hits, but on any given day it is usually the most viewed post even when I have something new that is somewhat of a hit.

I am not bitter about this at all, but I am a little jealous of my husband who I hope starts his own blog someday when he has time. Because even though I wrote that post, it’s really all him.

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He is the mastermind behind it and not only do people want to know more about our flooring projects they want to know where or how to make the furniture that he comes up with! Like the coffee table that can slide under the entertainment center.

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My Lots of Hope in a Little Home is definitely the most successful series I have ever published and a lot of it also has to do with J’s genius. He has a knack when it comes to taking something that looks kind of hopeless and turning into greatness. It’s okay for me to brag on the hubs for a bit right?

J has renovated a house, a coffee shop, an apartment (which were all temporary upgrades since it’s a rental. More on that later), and now he is working on getting us settled into another rental property. In order to get geared up for this next big undertaking I want to take some time to look back at some of the work he’s done and also reveal some of the outcomes of those home improvement projects. I know I am not a remodel blog, nor do I want to be, but it’s been a big part of our marriage up to this point and I do love to save money by reusing, reinventing, repurposing, and remodeling. So that’s what I plan to write about this week. I’ll be picking J’s brain and diving deeper into some of the messy details of just a few of our greatest Home Improvement projects. Stay tuned.

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By | July 27th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Projects, Uncategorized|2 Comments

Free Signing Time Video

I have great news for you all today! Signing Time has a released a  FREE Back to School Video Download. It’s hard to believe that one of the stars of the show (little Leah) is now going off to college in real life! She was 4 when they started the series and so this free download is in celebration of that wonderful milestone.

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This video is perfect timing to prepare your little one for school while teaching 30+ signs as a bonus. I want to do everything I can to spread the word because I love Signing Time so much and if this video reaches 500,000 new families by October 1st then they will realease a second FREE download.

Downloads are great because sometimes you need that a quick movie available on your phone or tablet when you don’t have wifi access (like on an an airplane). Some of you moms of littles know what I’m talking about!

Just to give a short personal background story, the Signing Time series has been very instrumental to my family and will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only have they helped all three of my children to learn some of the foundations of ASL, but there was a season where I watched the videos over and over, pausing and rewinding parts until they stuck when SJ was first diagnosed deaf. My husband, my parents, and I would all gather around for our Signing Time lessons and we are adults! That was a big part of how I was able to final speak with my baby girl for the first time.

I won’t go into all the details but SJ wasn’t diagnosed until she was 2 and she didn’t get hearing aids until she was 2 1/2 and even then they didn’t help. It was a year before she began to hear via use of cochlear implants! So the first three years of her life sign language was how we communicated.

If you are interested in your child being exposed to sign language for any reason at all (and there are many benefits by the way) then this is a great time to check out Signing Time because the video download is absolutely free. There is no obligation to buy anything and it’s really fast and easy to get on your computer or other electronic device instantly.

Our family owns several Signing Time videos, we also have checked them out from the Library for ones we don’t own. We’ve seen Rachel and the gang on Nickelodeon and PBS as well as Netflix, but coinsidentally the school episode is one that is NOT on Netflix and we don’t own it. SCORE!

If I had to give one critique (it’s not really a critique at all, it’s just a personal difference). We use all the signs from Signing Time except for some of the finger spelling ones. For example there is a video where they teach the sign for “Toy” and they finger spell it “T-O-Y”. I own a signing dictionary and have local deaf friends that sign it the same as “play” but with the letter “T”. That doesn’t mean that finger spelling it is wrong AT ALL, I’m sure it’s more accurate to some degree. ASL is complex in that there are many different regional dialects and acceptable variations.

For SJ we used sign language as a practical bridge for communication and she still is not at a place where any fingerspelling has worked for her. So we are more likely to use what is called a “home sign” before we would learn a bunch of fingerspelling words. From what I understand this is not uncommon for young deaf children the same way hearing children have variations of words that they use before they are able to articulate. I mention all of this because the “Back to School Video” finger spells “Glue” and “Pen’.

Sorry, I’m rambling now, but I really do believe in this program and I’m thrilled to share this awesome deal with all of you. Again, the full length video is “Signing Time Back to School” and you can watch it instantly and download it to keep as your own. Just go to

www.signingtime.com/free-video

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Oh, and don’t forget to share this special offer with all of your friends.

 

 

 

 

The Lego Americana Roadshow

The one good thing about my computer malfunctioning was that when I brought it in to the Apple store at the Kenwood Mall I happened upon The Lego® Americana Roadshow- Building Across America.

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I brought my kids back to experience it today.

Z LOVES History and LEGO® so this would be perfect for him! Here is a photo he made me take of his latest creation. IMG_7627

I have hundreds of these photos because he always wants his buildings and designs documented. Like most kids, Z just LOVES building. Unfortunately he is away at camp this week so he didn’t get to go with us, but the younger two still really enjoyed the event. Even J and I loved it. You don’t have to be a kid to like LEGO® right? I know “the box says it’s for ages 8-14” but “That’s just a suggestion. They have to put that one there”. That’s a LEGO Movie quote for those that haven’t seen it and if not, I suggest you do.

As far as a really brief overview of what to expect from the exhibit, there are several different historical USA landmark structures on display throughout the mall made completely out of LEGO® bricks.

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There is a huge White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Old North Church was really pretty, and we especially loved the Lincoln Memorial because there was even a LEGO® Abraham Lincoln  statue inside, just like in real life.

Throughout the mall you can easily pick up a map that shows where all of the displays are and there is a question and answer section on the back that can be completed and returned at the LEGO® store for a LEGO® American Roadshow poster.

Pretty cool and very educational.

On top of that there is a hands on activity center by the food court.

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Children are encouraged to build with LEGO® toys and even race their own LEGO® car creations on a derby track.

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Everyone there was having such a great time and the staff were really friendly and helpful too.

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I am not getting paid to say any of this I promise. This is just a little tidbit of info from one LEGO® mom to another because it’s such a great opportunity for some FREE summer fun that also encourages creativity and learning about our nation at the same time.

The LEGO® Americana RoadShow that we visited was at the Kenwood Towne Centre Mall in Cincinnati Ohio. It will only be there through this Sunday, July 19th though. Then they’re off to the next stop which is Hoover Alabama. All of the details for their schedule can be found at LEGO.com

I’m telling you, if you have a chance to go and you are lucky enough for one of the stops to be in your area then you should definitely take advantage of that. From what I understand it’s something new that they are still developing. Let’s show LEGO® how much we love community events like this and maybe they’ll add more locations to future tours!

Check out their Facebook page for more information.

I know Everything is Awesome, but The LEGO Americana Roadshow is really REALLY awesome.

By | July 15th, 2015|Creativity, Family, Frugal Living|2 Comments

Paper Plate Cow Masks

 

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My family LOVES Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation day. I can never remember to dress my children in green on St. Patrick’s Day, but not a summer goes by that we don’t participate in a holiday made up by a fast food chain that allows you to get free food!

Whether you are looking for an easy way to get a free meal on July 14th, or you have a school play to dress up for, or maybe you are just looking for a fun craft, these DIY paper plate masks are so simple. You may have all of the supplies on hand, if not they are cheap and easy to find.

supplies

 

Supply List

Paper Plate

One sheet of pink, black, and tan/brown construction paper

Scissors

Hole punch (or just use scissors or something sharp)

Black marker

Glue/and or tape

String (preferable elastic)

 

First cut out a 5 inch triangular shape out of the plate for the mouth. It will be close to a fourth of the plate.

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Next cut an oval out of the pink paper to be used for the nose. It will be slightly smaller than the widest part of the mouth. About 4 inches. Then draw two ovals for the nostrils.

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You will also fold the tan paper in half to cut out two identical horns about 3 inches long. Then some ears made of black paper that is a pointy oval shape, along with the same shape in pink that is about an inch smaller.

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Cut holes for the eyes (put the mask on to pencil in the approximate width) and punch holes for the string.

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Lastly, glue or tape all the parts into place and tie your string into the holes.

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Now you are ready for the fun to begin!
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Enjoy your new mask!

By | July 7th, 2015|Crafts, Frugal Living|9 Comments

Real Life in a Small Space

I have had such an overwhelming response to the “Small Space Living for Big Families“. It has been awesome! I have had the opportunity to connect with so many other families from ALL OVER who are also making the most out of living with less. The Facebook comments have been… diverse. Most of them are extremely positive, but I did get some feedback from skeptics because all of the photos I shared were of the apartment empty. They couldn’t imagine what “real life” in 800 square feet with three small children would actually look like. For most people the concept is a nightmare.

Just to be clear, if you can afford and manage a large or even average home that’s fantastic. It’s a personal choice. Some people do it out of conviction, for us it’s necessity. Either way the idea is to find satisfaction despite what our culture says we must have. Our children don’t have to live a solemn life of deprivation, just because they don’t have their own bedroom and playroom.

For those that follow my blog, I post pictures of my family in our apartment all the time so you know we are real people and you’ve seen most of this before. For everyone else I have gone through some old photos that show how we manage year round in less than 800 square feet. Get ready for an overwhelming amount of snapshots.

We’ll start with January.

Nerf darts. I did a whole post about this and it’s even been featured on other blogs.

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We definitely go sledding and stuff, but the kids can spend hours out in this little patio throwing snowballs at the sliding door and building snowmen in the winter. It’s basically turns into a giant sandbox when it snows which means I get stay warm behind the glass!

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Here is a pic of the kids filling out their class Valentine’s.

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My daughter’s birthday is in March and I wrote two posts about how we had the ultimate tea party for her birthday.

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The kid’s share a room for now and as you can see they consider it “Fun Land”

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This is when Ezie was still in a crib and they didn’t have bunk beds yet.

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and this isn’t the best pic, but it’s the new setup. The swing chair is from Ikea. There is a small trampoline in the other end of the room. There is a toy box and a book shelf hanging on the wall with tons and tons of books. They share a closet too.

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Here is Z is posing in front of the apartment with his end of the year school project.

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Fun with food.

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Our one little bathroom seconds as a salon.

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Bubbles on the patio is always a great choice for summer.

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The guys having fun making race cars and a track out of paper.

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Living on the third floor of an apartment means lots of stairs everyday.

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Another successful birthday party. This one was camping theme! Check out the whole post with all the details here.

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Floor puzzle
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Dancing and dress up time
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Checking herself out in the master bedroom

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Building a model car with dad
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Building a pinewood derby car with dad

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Winning a trophy for pinewood derby! The suitcase is significant because my dad came in for the event and he spent the night. We have had many guest sleepover on multiple occasions!

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More playtime

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Crafts

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We are always out of town with family for Christmas so we don’t do any big decorations, but we do Truth in the Tinsel and some other fun traditions.

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Our one piece of furniture to sit on.

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Many, many meals have been made in this tiny kitchen.
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We love playing cards and  board games.

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Reading time!

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They don’t usually sleep in our bed, but there are mornings we wake up like this!

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The truth is we aren’t home that much. Thanks to generous gifts we have had annual memberships to the nature center, the sports and fitness club, and the science museum. We also frequent parks and libraries, along with play dates and road trips. So I am not trying to imply that we just love being cooped up together in our small apartment all the time. What I am trying to prove with this post is that we are a REAL family that has a lot of fun and shared memories using every last inch of our little space.

I feel like God has brought us to this place for a reason. We’ve learned and gained so much from this season of our lives. If I could change the past and give my children a bigger home and a more luxurious or glamorous lifestyle I wouldn’t do it. My dream house wish list is longer than my weekly grocery list, so don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of amenities, but for now it’s the simple life and I SIMPLY wouldn’t have it any other way. 

By | July 1st, 2015|Family, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, Simple Living, Uncategorized|11 Comments

Free Donuts!?

I have been working hard to cut back sugar for our family this year. Each month another sweet treat is eliminated from the menu in our home and will no longer be restocked, but one thing I don’t think I will ever make completely off limits is donuts.

Did you know that National Donut Day is TOMORROW!? I didn’t, but it turns out it’s a thing.

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 Be sure to stop by your local Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts to get a free donut Friday June 5th!

I know that Dunkin’ Donuts will require a drink purchase, but they have excellent coffee. I will be ordering my favorite, which is the cool and sweet Iced Caramel Latte with Whipped cream.

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There is a party in my tummy. So yummy. So yummy…

 Speaking of parties, a lot of the party ideas that we implemented SJ’s 4th birthday would be perfect for donut day or a variety of occasions.

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Check out the party post HERE to see how my DIY donut invitations, donut hole fruit kabobs, and donut piñata turned out.

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You can also head over to my donut party pinterest board for even Donut fun like:

Donuts for elves (they are actually cheerios). So cute!

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Or stamping colorful thumbprints for donut sprinkles.

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“If You Give a Dog a Donut”  might be fun reading material for your kids this weekend.

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There are so many possibilities! I realize we have a health epidimec in our society so maybe I shouldn’t be promoting a day that celebrates what is possibly the least nutritious snack of all time disguised as a breakfast food. But there are actually a lot of alternative recipes out there for vegan, gluten free, paleo, and keto donuts. Because regardless of your dietary needs I think every one deserves something sweet from time to time, “donut you think? “

Do you have a favorite donut?

By | June 4th, 2015|Crafts, Creativity, Frugal Living, Parties|5 Comments

Our 5th Annual Cow Day

Chic-Fil-A time, cow day, dress-like-a-cow, free food, cow appreciation day- whatever you want to call, it it’s a fun time and something that is starting to become one of my favorite days of the year!

This year I was saddened when I realized Z would be out of town for cow day. I had already planned on painting the kids faces this year and almost considered changing our whole summer schedule around  the event just so that he could be a part of the action. That was unrealistic though. So instead I decided we could still dress up and take pictures like we do every year, but we would do it before cow day at my aunt’s barn.

The weather was gorgeous and the children really ate up the chance for some extra special pretend play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then later they ate up the free food when all but Z went in dressed like cows on July 11.

On the left is my niece for her first cow day wearing the same dress SJ wore 5 years ago on her first cow day (pictured right). It was so sweet! 



Between all the free meals we’ve gotten over the past 5 cow appreciation days, my family has ordered at least $75 worth of free Chic Fil A. That’s a pretty sweet deal. I am cheap, so I usually just get a couple kids meals and share with the kids. I don’t mind because it’s still delicious, but on cow day you better believe I get myself in full garb and I order a chicken sandwich meal with a LEMONADE all for me. YUM.

The whole experience just makes me smile! I’ve decided at this point it’s worth it for me to come up with a permanent costume. Every year I dress in white and tape black spots to myself, but I think next year will be different. Yes I am already planning for next years cow day. I am a true CFA fan. Moo.

 

 

 

By | July 28th, 2014|Creativity, Frugal Living, Uncategorized|1 Comment