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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Daddy Daughter Dance!

My girls are so blessed. I got to help them primp and get ready for the date of a life time...a date with their daddy. We curled their hair, put some make-up on them and got them all dressed up!

Julia and Lydia got to go with their dad, and Saige got to go on a date with me. Saige and I went and had froyo, and then picked up friends to come over and watch a movie with us. It was a good time. :)

Although, from the pictures and videos Dave took on his phone, the big girls and he had an even better time than we had. They really boogied down!

Big Girl Julia
Just look at these precious pics:

 I took these pics on our neighbor's porch because the lighting was better. Don't they look gorgeous?!?
A Bun with Curls
 This was as close to the requested hairdo as I could get!

 The girls danced so hard that the flower in Julia's hair fell right off the clip.

Lyd wanted her hair down
 She looked so gorgeous!

 How are my girls so big?

Sisters!
 Oh course Saige had to get in on the action! I wished I would have dressed her up a little more to take these pictures, but she's adorable anyway.
Saige and her baby blues
 Saige is my kid who always recognizes other people's eye colors. She comments on the colors of people eyes all the time. (I always notice people's lips.) I know that what you notice about others features is supposed to say something about your personality....noticing people's eyes must = mischievousness!
Daddy and his Dates
 The big girls were so excited about their date. They counted down the days for weeks. When they got to the dance, they got to sit by friends for their chicken with all the fixins dinner. They came home with glow sticks and flowery head bands. Everything was fancy and fun. The father-daughter dance is no small event here in Dickinson!
My Sweet and Beautiful Fam!

Just to Prove I Was There Too!
What a sweet way to spend a Friday evening!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope Monday is heavenly!

Love, Amber

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015

I'm sorry I've stayed away from blogging lately. Leaving for a little over a month wasn't my intention! But, I'm here now and ready to share a little bit about our Easter weekend! Because we way up North, we didn't get to see Dave's or my parents or siblings. But, we still had a great time with our little family of five! On Friday we shared the Easter story and went to a Good Friday service at church. Saturday was filled with Easter egg dyeing.
Here are a few of the ones we dyed.

Trying to Fit in the Five of Us
Julia Coloring Her Egg

Lydia Coloring Her Egg

Saige Colored Her Eggs Extremely Fast
One of Saige's Eggs
Another Family Shot
 
The Easter Bunny magically appeared and brought goodies for our girls. :) They loved everything they got, and then promptly forgot everything that was given.
Julia Showing Dave her new Judy Bloom Book
 The weird things in the girls hair are rags. I put them in their hair to hopefully curl it over night. It sort of worked. Sort of didn't. Julia's worked better because I put the blow dryer on her curls. But Lydia took her rags out before I could put the dryer on it. I curled the hair that the rags didn't.

Here are the girls all gussied up for Easter Sunday:
I Love Coral for Spring

Another Attempt at Getting Everyone Looking at Me

Beautiful Lydia at Church
Beautiful Julia at Church
I meant to get a family picture on Easter, but I didn't get to. :( We had our traditional Easter lunch of grilled pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad, and roasted asparagus after church and it was late but wonderful. Before lunch, the girls had a small Easter egg hunt. Saige couldn't hang through lunch, and had to go down for a nap before we had the lemon poppy seed pound cake.

We had a fabulous Easter! The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have spent it with family. Maybe that will be a possibility in 2016!

Thanks for coming by! I hope your Easter was fabulous as you celebrated the Risen King! -Amber