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Category: Family, Fun & Holidays

What I Wore This Week (Frugal Fashion)

This summer, I’m taking the Get Your Pretty On Summer Style Challenge.

So far, I’m loving this challenge and can’t believe how much it’s encouraging me to get dressed in a cute outfit every day, try some new outfit pairings, and just enjoy putting together looks. Plus, I LOVE the Facebook Group where women share their own variation of each day’s outfit. 

I thought it would be fun to share a round-up of my outfits from this past week in hopes that it might inspire you with ideas and or encourage you to take a little time to mix and match items you already have to create some cute outfits!

(Want to see more outfits? See last week’s What I Wore post.)

Here’s what I wore this week:

It was rainy and dark this day, so the lighting is bad on this photo. I love this outfit, except I don’t love the jewelry. I thought I did — until I saw the picture! It’s too much and it doesn’t look like it matches.

Shirt: Amazon — no longer available in blue 🙁
Jeans: Zulily Sale
Shoes: Amazon
Jewelry: Amazon and Kohl’s Clearance Rack

This outfit was so perfect for cleaning, hanging out with my family, running errands, grocery shopping, and a half day of blog/business work!

Shirt: Cents of Style
Shorts: Stitch Fix
Shoes: Amazon
Jewelry: Kohl’s Clearance Rack

I think these shoes are super cute, but I’ve decided they are not super cute ON me. That the style not only doesn’t work for shorts, I just think it doesn’t work for me, period. Which is sad, because I usually have really great success with shoes on Amazon. Oh well. 🙁

I wore a dress again today (something I rarely do!) I love that this style challenge is really pushing me outside of my comfort zone!

Dress: Stitch Fix
Earrings: Amazon
Shoes: Amazon

I’m not sure that I love this dress with these shoes, but I was trying to make it look a little more casual since I was wearing it all day.

This was by far my favorite outfit of the week. I just love it on all counts!

Shirt: Amazon
Jeans: Stitch Fix
Jewelry: Kohl’s Clearance Rack
Shoes: Zulily Sale

This was a different style for me… it was the day I tried to go for a Victorian sort of mash-up look! 😉

I didn’t think I liked this shirt at all, but so many of you convinced me that it really looks good, so I think maybe it could grow on me. I don’t like how easily it gets wrinkled nor how high the neckline is (it almost felt like it was choking me!)

However, after seeing the photo, I know I don’t love the shirt with these shorts. I think it’d look cuter with white jeans or other light colored jeans.

Top: Amazon — it’s just $7 shipped on Amazon
Shorts: Stitch Fix
Jewelry: Amazon
Shoes: Zulily Sale

Do you know what I’ve definitely learned from this challenge? That taking photos of my outfits every day and posting them feels very vulnerable but it’s also incredibly helpful because I’m learning more what styles I like, what works and what doesn’t work, and what an outfit really looks like. This has been fun and stretching for me, but it’s also causing me to step back and redefine some of my long-held style preferences and tastes.

For more frugal fashion tips, read my post on Why I Buy Almost All of My Jewelry at Kohl’s, my post on My 3 Favorite Summer Shirts on Amazon, and My Top 3 Sites to Get Great Deals on Clothes.

P.S. Find out more about the Get Your Pretty On Summer Style challenge here (use coupon code MSM10 to get $10 off!)

My 10 Goals for 2017: June 9th Update

Welcome to my monthly post where I share an update on how I’m doing on my goals for 2017. I hope that this post inspires you in your own goal-setting journey!


It’s time for another goal update for 2017! May was a rougher month for us… it was the last month of school so there was a lot of extra stuff with end-of-the-year projects, we traveled more than usual, and we had some hard things happen personally that took a lot of time and effort and required a lot of emotional energy.

So I gave myself grace this month to just focus on making it through, investing in the most important things, and not stressing about the little things.

I’m sharing a recap of each of my goals + an update on how I’m doing on each of them below. (If there’s no update listed, I have no update to report. Hopefully I’ll have an update next month!)

Personal Goals

1. Run 3 miles in 30 minutes — I took up running again this year — as part of my fitness plan that my nutritionist put together for me. I’ve never been skilled in the running department, but I’ve started to really enjoy it and am wanting to push myself here and be able to easily run 3 miles in 30 minutes.

June 9th update: I’m on a more intentional running regimen — varying between easy runs, long runs, and weight training. My nutritionist is a runner so he is putting together a run training schedule for me each week!

This month, I’m continuing to average about 2.6 miles in 30 minutes. I didn’t have as much time to exercise with traveling, so I just gave myself grace to not try to increase my pace this month.

(I could push myself and do more, but my nutritionist is encouraging me to not push myself too hard, too fast and instead to slowly build up my endurance. So I’m trying to take my time and not get impatient. Because I know that slow and steady wins the race!)

2. Make it to Phase 4 of the nutrition plan — I’m currently working through a 4-phase custom nutritional plan with my nutritionist. I start in Phase 1 back at the end of August 2016. He thinks that at the rate I’m going and progressing, I’ll be able to start Phase 4 by mid-2017! And I guess that when I hit Phase 4, I’ll feel absolutely and utterly amazing!

June 9th update: I started Phase 3 in February! This means I get to introduce back in quite a bit more foods and have more wiggle room as far as what I can and can’t eat (I can even eat one dessert every week now!). Plus, it means that I’ll be eating even more — which is crazy because I feel like I eat so much right now. 🙂

I love how my tastes have changed so much in the last few months. I crave healthy foods almost all the time and rarely have a desire to eat something that isn’t something nourishing. I even like celery now — a food I couldn’t stomach before!

I think one of the biggest things that has changed is that I’ve really made taking care of my health a top priority in my life. And the benefits and results of that are pretty amazing!

3. Read 48 books I already own — I didn’t read as much in 2016 nor did I set any reading goals because I let myself have a lot more time to rest, feel, think, process, sleep, and just slowly go through one or two books at time. I wanted to see what that felt like… and I realized it was good for a year, but now I’m anxious to get back to more reading and having a few books going at once! I decided to challenge myself this year to focus on reading books I already own.

So I picked 48 books — a stack of 12 books that were old Christian reprints, a stack of 12 books that were story driven, a stack of 12 books that were about improving your life, and a stack of 12 books to encourage me in my Christian walk. My plan is to try to read one from each stack each month.

June 9th update: See all 45 books and ebooks I’ve read in 2017 so far here! Yay! It feels so good to be back to reading again!

Here’s what I’ve read so far this year from books I already own:

January: Candles in the Dark, Grace Not Perfection, A Trip Around the Sun, and The Giver. Of those 4 books, The Giver definitely was the one that impacted me the most profoundly. I wrote more about it here.

February: Answers to Prayer, Hope in Front of Me, The Cozy Life, Be Real.

March: If, Lilac Girls, Just Do SomethingUnashamed

April: Thou Givest, They GatherA Gospel PrimerThe Big Leap10% Happier

May: Power Through Prayer, The Broken Way, Hope Heals, DARE: The New Way to End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks

Marriage Goals

4. Go on a 4-day completely unplugged tripJesse and I went to Hawaii last year and it was downright incredible. I left my computer at home and didn’t get online or on social media the entire time. It was BLISS!! We walked for miles on the beach, I fell in love with the ocean, I read 10 books (!), we scouted out the cheapest food options (because the food is SO $$ there! But never fail, we found a Subway we could walk to a few miles away from our hotel!), and we just had so much fun together.

We’re planning to do the same sort of trip of this year, but we’re going somewhere different. We’re currently saving up and looking for deals so that we can do the trip for just a few hundred dollars like the Hawaii trip!

Family Goals

5. Go to South Africa as a family — Our kids have been begging to go back to South Africa and we’ve set a goal to make that happen this year. We’re hoping to find a great deal on tickets like we did last time during a timeframe that works for our friends in South Africa. The kids are already getting really anxious thinking about it (and of course, Jesse and I are, too!!)

June 9th update: So, after quite a bit of investigation and back and forth with our friends in South Africa, we don’t believe that it’s going to work out for us to go this year because the only window of time we have long enough to make it happen this summer (and allow time on either side of the trip to prepare and recover) is the one time when the families there can’t do it. Instead, we were planning a trip to London, but because of a few different things that have come up in the last month, we are thinking of actually doing a stateside road trip to visit some states we’ve never been to instead. It’s still up in the air for sure, but we should know for sure in the next two weeks!

Financial Goals

6. Sell our 3 rental houses in Kansas — So, we loved having rental houses and it’s been a great investment for us (we paid cash for them and have turned a profit on them pretty much every single month we’ve had them!), but we have decided that we’d like to sell them (and hopefully turn an additional profit when we sell them) and put that money into our house savings. Then, once we’ve purchased a house here, we’ll start saving to invest in local real estate.

June 9th update: We sold one of our houses and we got both of our other houses on the market this month! Hopefully we’ll have good news about them being sold very soon!

7. Save up to pay cash for a house here in TN — As I mentioned above, this is something we’ve been mulling over a lot this past year and thinking through and have decided to start saving aggressively for in 2017. By selling our rental houses, we should have at least 75% to 80% of the total amount saved… which will mean, we should be able to save the additional 20% to 25% needed this year if we are careful and strategic.

And yes, homes in this area are much more expensive than Kansas!! We could move about 30 minutes away and homes would go down significantly in price, but we love this area and we love being so close to our church, to the kids’ school, and to other places we go to on a weekly basis. We’ve also decided we’d like to buy something that would be our “forever home” and would give us enough space to have offices + bedrooms for each of the kids.

June 9th update: Since we sold one of our rental houses (see above), we are now at 40% of our savings goal!!! If we can sell the other two houses in the next 3-4 months + save all we can during that time period, we should be really, really close to our goal!!

**Not listed specifically, but very important to us: We decided to take a leap of faith and significantly increase our giving this year. We didn’t feel comfortable listing the details of that as a goal here publicly, but we wanted to acknowledge that this was happening. Because honestly, it’s our heartbeat and one of the main reasons I’m highly motivated to be strategic with what I do online — so that we can give generously to causes and people near and dear to our hearts.**

Business Goals

8. Release 2 online courses. 

June 9th update: We are in the process of putting together not just two courses, but an entire SERIES of courses on blogging that we’ll be slowly launching over the next year. We launched our first mini-course in May and are working on finishing up the next course (a full course) that should release in a few weeks! Check out YourBloggingUniversity.com to see what other courses we have coming soon!

9. Start 2 new blogs — I shared more here about the big changes for this blog in 2017 — including two brand-new blogs I’m launching.

June 9th update: We officially launched YourBloggingMentor.com a few weeks ago and I am having so much fun teaching other bloggers over there! If you are interested in blogging or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to head on over and check out the site. I’d also love for you to follow me over on my Your Blogging Mentor Instagram where I’m sharing daily tips and advice for new bloggers.

Now, with all of the work involved with YourBloggingMentor.com, I decided that I needed to shelve the CrystalPaine.com idea for a little while. I don’t want to overload my plate or bite off more than I can chew. And I don’t want my team to be overextended, either. So I made an executive decision a few days ago for us to hold off on moving forward with my CrystalPaine.com idea until I feel like I have enough breathing room and margin to add something new.

In the mean time, if you’re not following me on my personal Instagram here, I’d love for you to follow me. I’ve been sharing a lot of personal stuff, heart stuff, and real-life stuff… and I’d love for you to check out my daily Instagram Stories, too, because there’s rarely a dull moment around here. 😉

10. Learn YouTube/iMovie — You can watch my recent YouTube videos here.

June 9th update: I’ve had fun editing and publishing YouTube videos and feel like I’ve made a lot of headway in learning tricks and strategies and what works.

I’ve been lax in editing YouTube videos the past few weeks because of travel and end-of-school stuff and life and launching YourBloggingMentor.com, but I did win a $1000 gift card to B&H for an affiliate promotion a few months ago with a company I worked with so I just used it today to buy a brand-new vlogging camera. Which means that I just might be inspired to do more with YouTube — especially since the video quality should be so much better if I’m not shooting with my phone!

How are YOU doing on your goals for 2017? Leave a comment and let us know!

Motivate your kids to do chores with the Homey app + enter to win a FREE unlimited annual subscription!

(Note: This post and giveaway were sponsored by Homey. Read our disclosure policy here.)

I believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is a strong work ethic.

I know it doesn’t feel like a gift when you are training and teaching and explaining and re-doing and inspecting their work over and over again when they are little.

I know it doesn’t feel like a gift when it takes 5 times as long for you to get anything done while they are working alongside you.

I know it doesn’t feel like a gift when they have bad attitudes and complain about having to work while their friends get to play.

I know it doesn’t feel like a gift when you are tired and worn out and it’d be so much easier and quicker for you to just do it yourself rather than having them help or do their chores.


But if you stick with it, someday they will be old enough to do all of the laundry for your family and you’ll just write it on their list and they will sort, wash, dry, fold, and put it away with zero help from you and with zero complaints from them because they just know it’s what is expected of them.

And (hopefully!) they’ll carry this same work ethic into the real world someday and it will take them far in life. Then, all those days, weeks, and months of effort and training will pay off in big dividends!

Mamas in the trenches: I know it’s tough. I know it feels like you aren’t making any headway and that your kids will never be old enough to do anything but make messes and need your help.

But the light is at the end of the tunnel… hang on and keep plodding forward. And you’ll have your own in-house laundry service before you know it! 😉

I’m so grateful that my parents taught me to work hard from a young age. Looking back, I realize how much doing chores as a child prepared me so well for being a wife, mom, and business owner!

That’s why I was excited when Homey asked me about doing a review of their new app that helps teach kids about money through completing chores and working toward goals.

I love that the Homey app not only encourages kids to develop a strong work ethic, but it teaches kids how money is earned, encourages long-term goal setting, instills real life financial skills, and connects the whole family with a fun approach to paid chores.

Here’s how the Homey app works:

1. Download the Homey app here for Android or iPhone. You can access its basic features for FREE, or you can opt to upgrade your account to premium for $3.99/month or $29.99 annually.

They even offer an unlimited feature for $6.99/month or $49.99 annually. {Scroll down to the bottom of this post for an opportunity to win a FREE year of the unlimited subscription!}

2. Set up your household and then a profile for each member within the app.

3. Decide on one device or multiple devices. If your kids are old enough to have their own mobile devices, you can have linked individual profiles on separate mobile devices. If your kids are younger, the individual profiles can all be shared on one family device. As the household creator, you also have the ability to set permissions and roles for each family member.

4. Set up chores for each child’s profile, and decide if the chores will be paid or unpaid. In our house, we have a system of paid chores and non-paid chores, so I LOVE this option!

:: You can choose to set a chore as a responsibility that is not paid to teach your child the importance of contributing to the family without getting paid.

:: If you choose to label a task as an extra paid chore, you’ll need to designate the amount of coins each chore is worth. Coins earned can be traded in for specified rewards within the app.

5. Set rewards for each child’s profile. Depending on your household system, there are options to set up a weekly allowance for chores, wishlist items (toys, screen time, etc.), or extra money.

Regardless, each reward requires a specified amount of coins that teaches children how to save up what they’ve earned from their hard work. Kids can even set up their own wishlists to practice setting long term goals for themselves.

6. Connect your children’s checking or savings bank accounts with the app, if so desired. Homey allows you to transfer the allowance or extra money earned directly to your child’s bank account.

I love this, because I think it’s SO important to teach kids real life financial skills at an early age, and I’d rather them make $3 mistakes now when they are little to hopefully prevent some $3,000 and $30,000 mistakes down the road.

7. Kids start doing chores, working towards their goals, and getting rewarded for their hard work through the Homey app! Each time a task is finished, they just take a photo of their progress or completion so that you know what got done at a glance. It’s that simple!

Go here to get started with the Homey app.

Win a FREE unlimited annual subscription to the Homey app!

The folks over at Homey decided to give away one FREE unlimited annual subscription to a one MoneySavingMom reader ($49.99 value) this week!

Just comment on this post about why you’d love to try the Homey app for your family. I will randomly pick one winner from all of the comments to win the annual subscription.

(In the meantime, you can go ahead and download the FREE version of Homey to explore its features. If you’re a winner, they’ll upgrade your account to the unlimited subscription for free when the giveaway ends!)

This giveaway will run through end of day on June 8, 2017.

Other Resources on Chores for Children:

How do you encourage and motivate children to do chores in your home? I’d love to hear!