Monday, July 27, 2015

Mt. Rushmore (Back-up Blogging)Ly

Well, this summer has been awesome. And we are just half way through. I can't keep up with all the places we've been and the people we've seen. I've never taken so many mini-vacations in my life! Here's one short vacation we took last month:
One of the many Car tunnels near Custer State Park
 Camping in Custer State Park with a stop to see Mt. Rushmore first is a great way to spend a weekend! Especially when your sister and her family comes to enjoy the weekend with you!
Stewarts with the Presidents
 Oh, did I forget to tell you we adopted a little boy? Just kidding, my nephew is pictured with my girls below.
Cousins!

See the little chipmunk? Cute.

Just in Case You've Never Seen a Picture of Mt. Rushmore

Stewarts and Presidents From a Different Angle. 

Saige, her Sass, Dave, Cousin Josiah, My Sis Aubrey, My Bro-in Law Andy

Custer Campground with a View

Cousins Frolicking on the SD Grasslands

Half of Josiah, Julia, Saige and Cousin Madelyn
 On the Saturday of our trip, we got to drive around Custer State Park. We visited and fed the donkeys in the park.
Lydia, Saige and Donkey

Donkey and Julia
 It was fun, and the girls loved feeding the donkeys. But to be honest...babies feeding donkeys (that are huge in comparison to babies) makes a momma stressed. (Not me. Just some momma. Somewhere.)
Cuties Hiking Around a Beautiful Lake in Custer State Park Near the Custer State Park Needles

Saige Loves to Wear Sunglasses. :)

Stewarts With Our Adopted
 On Sunday of our trip, we visited Bear Country. The following pics of animals are super close. But we were in our car the whole time. Bear Country is a drive through, animal viewing attraction.
Big Male Buck

White Wolf

Big Bear

Bigger Bear

3 Little Cubs

Me and a Very Hot Bear (He Was Metal)

Stewarts at Bear Country
Memories are everywhere! And I thank the Lord for them all! I can't wait to do this trip again. Thanks for the good times, Hazelets!

Love to all, Amber

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

In Summer! (Olaf Voice Intended)

Julia and My Grandma picking Iris' with my Dad and Grandpa in the back

Our summer is off and running away from us! I've decided the best way to catch my blog up is to write the traditional "Christmas letter" to you all in the middle of June! So here's what we are up to:


We've been on a week long trip (a 17 hour drive) to Highland IL for my cousin's wedding, went to a funeral (that was 13 hours from home) due to the passing of my Grandpa Mitchell, been to the local pool, worked on our yard, started a pitiful garden, had a garage sale, traveled to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and are currently hosting Dave's mom, Ruth. We have had a fantastic and ever so exhausting last couple of months!

Great Grandma Daiber (My Grandma) and Julia and Lyd

My Mom, My Grandma, Me and my three sweeties

My Mom, Lydia, Saige, Julia and My Dad


We still plan to go camping for two weekends, take our older girls to Kanakuk Kamp in Branson MO, and take a trip to Houston to see friends and family. (Of course we have more pool time, park time and popsicle time also scribbled in....) We are so blessed and so crazy! We've noticed that packing-in the trips in the summer is very common in North Dakota because the winters are so long and cold. And I guess we are following suit!


I'm still working on getting my real estate license in ND, but the red tape is long and the snail mail is slower than ever. Hopefully I will have it by the end of summer if not before!


Dave is still loving his job! Deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines. He always has them, but the challenge is exciting for him, and he just keeps on keeping on. He gets to do a sleep study soon to see if he is one of the lucky ones who gets to wear a mask when he sleeps...boo bah buh do.


Julia and Lydia are still loving and excelling in gymnastics. I can't even tell you what all they can do now. Cartwheels, bridge kick-overs, and acrobatics off the furniture are all normal parts of life.


Saige is still trying to adjust to being the youngest sister. Her and Julia stay in a tug-of-war about who is "top dog". While my three beautiful daughters fight like cats and dogs at home, they are also all very defensive to the outside world should anyone try to cross their sister. They are three wonderful little messes.


We are very thankful to have seen a lot of family already this summer. It's a difficult thing to do because we live so. far. away. from all of our family, but we are thankful for the time we have had and will have all the same!


After summer, more adventures will begin for our family. Namely, homeschooling. I am excited and scared and overwhelmed and claustrophobic (I know this word isn't really an adjective, but to me it fits) about it all at the same time. But, hopefully hitting the books together will prove to be awesome and will continue to bind us together as Team Stewart. We shall see.


Our new-to-us dog Lulu has been adjusting well, and the girls are loving her. She has attended some of our trips with us and stayed with friends on others. The girls wake up calling for her, and go to bed wanting one more puppy snuggles.

Team Stewart at my Cousin's Wedding

My Parents, Siblings, Niece, Nephews, Kiddos and Hubby

I guess these are our main (In Summer!) highlights so far. I know there's more...but these are the main goodies.


Thanks for stopping by!
More Stewart fun to come!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Online Thrift Stores

Have you ever heard of online thrift store shopping? I hadn't until a few weeks ago when my good friend, Amy Roberts, decided to do an experiment of sorts, and was kind enough to let me in on it!

So, Amy shopped and shopped on three online clothing sites (2 thrift store, and 1 personal shopping website). And here are some of the results we found:

The Lot of Clothes
The first site I'd like to introduce is one called Stitch Fix. (It's the line of clothes on the far left. To access their website, go to: www.stitchfix.com.) This site is not a thrift site, but a personal shopper site. You get on the site, and answer questions about yourself, and then the site somehow chooses "your style" and sends the clothes to you. The initial fee for submitting your style is $20. If you don't like any of the clothes, you can send them all back, but you lose the $20. But, if you buy all 5 items they send, a discount is applied. According to Amy's receipt, she would have gotten a 33% discount, but I do not know if this is standard or not.

 So, the total for all five tops: $292.00
 subtract the $20.00 initial set up fee
And if you buy all 5 items: -$68.00
And the total comes to: $204.00

Some Pics of the items sent by Stitch Fix. Prices are located in the captions.
Blue Jacket by Market & Spruce - $68.00 (unzipped)

Same Jacket, But Zipped

Dark Green Market and Spruce Knit Top - $58.00

Teal Green Market and Spruce Tee - $44.00

Grey Staccato Draped Front Cardigan - $48.00
 Amy, and I (And our other committee member, Kayla) decided that the gray cardigan in the pic above was super cute.
Light Grey Market and Spruce Terry Moto Jacket - $74.00 (Zipped)
 Our committee also loved the look and feel of this jacket, but in the end, Amy decided not to purchase it. $74.00 is a little steep. We decided to keep our eyes open for a similar jacket elsewhere (like at an outlet store on online thrift shop.)
Same Jacket, Unzipped
In the end, Amy decided to buy only one item from stitch fix. She purchased the gray and white Staccato Draped Front Cardigan. It was super flattering, and by spending just $28, she didn't have to lose the initial $20 she originally invested. She sent the other 4 items back. Stitch Fix was a good experience for her, but I don't think she will reinvest in the "styling fee" again. (But never say never, right?)

Now to the middle block of clothes. This block was purchased from an online thrift store called ThredUP. To access their website, go to www.thredup.com. (Or to get $10 off while adding $10 to my shopping cart, shop by clicking here.) You can also download a free app for your shopping convenience. Here is what a lot of scrolling time on the ThredUP website earned Amy:

 Gap Sleeveless Silk Top - $14.49

Lida Baday Jacket - $20.49

H&M Sleeveless Top - $12.99
Amy bought this top.
Navy J. Crew Cardigan - $29.49
Coral J. Crew Cardigan - $14.99 (Not the dress)

Amy bought this sweater. It's a beautiful color!
Juicy Couture Wool Blazer - $31.49
The rest of the items from the ThredUP lot were sent back. Either they didn't fit right, or they just weren't Amy's style. The neat thing about ThredUP is that you can share their site with others, and if the people you send the site to order using the link you sent, you both get $10 off. (That's why I shared the link above). Neat huh? I like them.

The last online thrift store Amy checked out was Twice. It is the block of clothes on the far right in the very first picture. You can access their account by going to www.liketwice.com. They have an App too. You can also find online coupons on Twice. For Amy's order, she applied a 40% coupon to her entire order. Awesome!

Here is what she ordered from their store:
Pink Sweater by New York and Company - $12.95 (plus a 40% off coupon.)

Pink Sweater by Ann Taylor - $14.95 (plus a 40% off coupon.)
 Amy kept this darker pink sweater and sent the coral one above back. She liked both, but the committee voted the coral sweater from ThredUP was more flattering.
Striped Gray Long Sleeve Sweater by Ann Taylor Loft - $15.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 Amy didn't feel that this sweater was her style, but I felt like it was mine! She didn't send it back, and I bought it from her.
Long Sleeve Blue Jacket by Ann Taylor Loft - $16.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 The same scenario applies to this jacket. I bought this from Amy. Love it!
Blue Striped Sheath Dress by Ann Taylor Loft Outlet - $18.95 (plus a 40% discount)
 Amy looks so cute in this little dress. She kept it! Yay!
Purple T-shirt by Under Armour - $14.95 (plus a 40% discount)
 Amy didn't keep this one.
Pay no attention to the greenish top...this pic is for the blank tank underneath. Black Tank Top by Coldwater Creek - $7.95 (plus a 40% discount.)
 I forgot to get a picture of just the black tank! Amy wore it under all the other clothes she tried on. She did not send the black tank back. It's just too cute and practical!
Grey Striped Cardigan by American Eagle Outfitters - $12.95 (plus a 40% discount)
Amy liked this sweater, but felt like it was too short on her midriff. So it went back.

All in all, the experiment was a lot of fun! We enjoyed taking pictures and I'm thankful Amy let me buy some of the sweaters from her, because as I'm sure you know, thrift store shopping can be time consuming! And, it can also save a lot of money! I asked Amy which store she liked best overall, and she had to go with ThredUP. They seemed to have the best deals without needing to find an online coupon. (I'm also thankful I wasn't the one sending merchandise back. Amy said it wasn't too difficult though.)

Please let me know if you've tried any of these stores, and if you have, how did you feel your experience went? Have you consigned to either of the thrift stores? I am by no means advocating or advertising any of these stores, but I just wanted to share our findings and hope you got something out of it. We had fun. I would love any tips or other good online stores that you've come across.

Thanks Shopper, Amy! Thanks Committee member, Kayla! Thanks readers! Love, Amber