Oh the Pressure

I attended a free class tonight all about canning jams, veggies, and meats! My next home production project will be canning chicken! It looks awful, but will be nice to just go to the pantry and pull out some chicken! I’ll borrow a pressure cooker to do my meats since you can’t use a regular canner. Anyone already tried canning meat and have any tips?

Oh What a Week

Mike and I were the speakers in church today.  Are Mormons the only ones who have their congregation members give the sermon each week?  That probably would be weird, but kind of nice for a person-not-of-our-faith to experience.  I’m glad I won’t have to do that for a few more months at least!  I read my favorite faith promoting story about THE FILE ROOM and talked a bit about food storage.  I love those things! 

On Sat. I’m hosting a Grocery Smarts class to teach people how to use a free website  to help them buy groceries at the lowest price possible!  I love this kind of stuff.  And I’ve had a few people already RSVP which really settles my nerves as to whether people will show up or not.  Why would you not show up?  You learn how to shop smarter and save money!

My mom is making the boys matching St. Patty’s Day ties and Hannah will have a matching St. Patty’s Day dress made from the same material.  I’m excited that she’s excited to do those kind of projects, because I’m just so not in the mood.  I did however finally finish the rag quilt I’ve been working on for 3 years!  It’s washed and delivered to my sis-in-law with a note stating: Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas for the rest of your life!  So glad that big ole pile is out of my closet.

Oh, got diapers B1G1 Free yesterday at Walgreens!  Can I even write a post, have a regular conversation, speak to a stranger without mentioning shopping and getting a good deal?  I’ll get back to you on that question once I finish my shopping trip =o)

We need to do our taxes still!  Pretty sure we’ll owe money, since we prefer to have money collect interest in our bank acct every year rather than someone else’s, but maybe just maybe this will be the year we get a nice hefty check from jolly ole Uncle Sam!  I’m pretty sure I’m dreaming, but it’s a good dream at least.

I need to collect moving boxes this week.  There’s a chance we will be moving an entire house full of furniture/ belongings out this weekend and it falls on us to do it.  We are not moving, someone else already has and left everything behind.  Packing up someone else’s treasures actually sounds like fun to me except that we can’t have any of their stuff.  So basically we’re the free packers and movers.  We should be really good at this by now!

Hannah Bear is scooting.  Not crawling or pushing up off her stomach, but sitting (you have to sit her up) and stretching out and somehow moving across the room.  She really is such a good baby.  I’ve decided that babies at 7 and 8 months are finally wonderful and exciting and worth keeping.  Oh, she can sleep through the night too!  That’s totally worth mentioning, because the other 2 kiddos were closer to 18 months before we finally saw eye to eye on the whole sleeping at night issue.  She’s done it all by herself.  And she only sleeps in her carrier.  I mention this, because I’m sure there’s some new mom in blogger land who’s fretting over her child never seeing the slats of a real crib.  This one’s for you dear fretting mother!  My kid sleeps in a  carrier and not a crib either and I’m going to keep on doing it until she’s too big or I really see signs of flat head and require a baby helmet to shape it back to normal.  She seems fine to me!

Mikey has informed us what he wants for Christmas already!  The kid just had a birthday last month, but I guess when you become aware of holidays and months and stuff then you start planning early for the next big present receiving celebration!  He has covered our entire house in art work from preschool, primary, and his own original creations.  It was bothering me, but now I just embrace this arts and crafts movement and proudly display his creations.  Well, actually he is well versed in tape dispensing so he tapes his work where ever he wants!  And he somehow knows if I’ve removed piece 217 from his ongoing collection spanning in the six hundreds, so I’ve just given up.  They are pretty cute and I’m sure it won’t last forever so if you’re ever visiting our museum, make sure to check out the train tracks that span all over the house and view the art work, hung appropriately at a preschoolers eye level!

Josh supposedly has asthma and now has a nebulizer and does a breathing treatment every morning and night.  He’s fine in front of the tv, but starts hacking up almost phlegm as soon as he takes off to see who rang the door bell, who moved his train, or what Mikey is doing to tease him from the other room.  We’re trying to get a grasp on things, but it’s hard!  You want your kid to be active, but when they cough till they hurt from doing so, and the only thing that keeps them calm is being stagnant, then you start to wonder and worry.  He’s started defying nap time and I have unfortunately caved in and agreed.  Must do better this week…

Well there’s some little amusing tidbits from our life this week.  That reminds me that I need pineapple since I’m down to 2 cans and the whole talk of produce prices rising  50-90% in the upcoming weeks has me nervous.

Albertson’s I’ve Missed You!

I haven’t been in Alby’s in a while since their sales haven’t been too hot.  I went tonight to take advantage of their really good sale that ends at midnight (thank you list makers for posting the following week’s ads so I can preview and see if the sale is running for another week or not!)

Great sale got me 14 pasta sauces, 1 Pam cooking spray, 1 Ready Whip, 6 Chef Boyardee products, 6 Banquet sausages, 14 tub margarines, 3 cube margarines,  and some other stuff.  I did 3 transactions and hardly used any coupons.  This was a sale where if you purchase $25 in certain products (before coupons) then a catalina (coupon that prints out and looks similar to a receipt) will print out that is good for $10 off your next purchase.  Well I used that $10 coupon to help buy an additional $25 of groceries and out popped another catalina.  I then used that new $10 off catalina coupon to buy all my regular items: milk, bananas, cheese, bread, baby food.

Next week I’m shopping at Smith’s in case you want a heads up of the really good deals.  Buy 10 participating items and get an instant $3 off AND a catalina (remember, the coupon that prints out and looks similar to a receipt) for $3 off your next purchase. 

Getting food storage is so much fun!

Smith’s Great Sale 2/2- 2/8

I got all this (100 items including the shrimp ring) for $71 OOP (out of pocket).  I’ve learned the sale cycles so I buy items when they are at their lowest price AND I do a clip-less coupon approach.  It’s easy, saves time AND more importantly it saves money!

I’m hosting a FREE Grocery Smarts class in my home at the end of February AND I’m feeding you!  What more could you want?  (I also have a toy room if you need to bring your little ones).

This trip I got charcoal for $2, bagged cheese for $2 a lb, sliced cheese for 49 cents, hot dogs for 39 cents, baby lotions for $1.50, and lots more!

In the past I’ve gotten jumbo packs of diapers for $2.50, salsa for 9 cents a jar,  tortillas for 10 cents, canned veggies for less than 30 cents each, packs of dishwasher tabs for less than $1 a box,  cases of bottled water for $1.79, hummus for FREE, cool whip for FREE, bags of shredded cheese for FREE, toothpaste and toothbrushes for FREE, deodorant for 25 cents, RoTel for 16 cents a jar, a box of copy paper for $5 (normally $50), a Sonicare electric toothbrush for $9 (regularly $49), and an entire pantry, freezer, and bathroom stocked up with items my family uses.  Oh, and I NEVER pay more than a $1 for a box of cereal (Kashi, Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Trix, or any kind)!

You too can learn the best deals and when to stock up on the items you use most.  Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested and I’ll get you the info.

An October to Remember

I think our family’s favorite holiday is Halloween.  We’ve decided to start a tradition of driving to Knott’s Berry Farm every year around Halloween.  We went last year on the day of Halloween and were greeted by no lines, nice sunny weather, and a fun-filled day appropriate for a 1 year old and 3 year old.   And the end of October just isn’t complete without the wonderful Ward Halloween Party and Trunk or Treat.  We love this time of year!

This year we gave an earlier weekend a try to go to Knott’s and boy was it busy!  Note to self- go to amusement parks on the actual holiday.  Our reason for going to California in the first place was so Mike could do some computer work at the corp. office in LA.  Basically, they pay for gas and hotel and we turn the business trip into a family vacation.

So we drove out Wed. evening and checked into a Hilton, woo woo!  No Paris or celebs spotted, but we liked the room and the outrageous $3.50 candy bars that were loaded in the mini fridge.  We resisted that expensive temptation!

Thurs.  Mike went to work and I played the role of Supermom and took all 3 kiddos to the LA Zoo ALL BY MY SELF!  The zoo has more square footage than the San Diego Zoo, but less # of animals.  And the nice lady in front of us gave me a coupon to use, yay!  I had a double stroller and Hannah was so good the whole day.  She fell asleep a number of times and just let us stroll around and look at the animals.   Mikey and Josh would take turns getting stroller- to- attraction treatment and really didn’t complain about all the walking they had to do.  Mikey’s favorite animals were the zebras and Josh’s favorite animals were the monkeys.  I really liked watching the zoo keeper feed the hippo and I was amazed at how tall the giraffes were and how enormous the elephant was.  We had pizza for lunch and had to dodge the seasonal bumble bees that made their presence EVERY WHERE!  Luckily no stings, just upset boys when the bees came too close for comfort.  We spent all day at the zoo and could have stayed longer, but we were getting exhausted and anxious to see daddy and get some dinner.

Zebras My 1st Zoo Trip Giraffes Baboons All Tuckered Out Open Wide Comparing Maps The Elephant Tortoise

I thought I’d go find a Little Caesar’s Pizza for dinner before we picked up Mike.  I got myself extremely lost and very scared.  Oh, and I really needed to use the bathroom!  We were like in mtns. and no GPS to help me really.  Finally I just exited the freeway, headed back from where I came, and stopped in a Baptist church that was having a craft fair!  I’ve never had to go potty so bad in my life!!  2 kiddos were sleeping so I just took Mikey in with me and we did our thing.   I totally ditched the pizza idea, went to get Mike, and let him google an Italian restaurant. 

 We ended up taking the entire family to a nice classy place where children aren’t normally allowed.  We of course didn’t know this until we got there.  They weren’t busy and said on the phone to come on over and they’d take care of us.  We walk in and notice glass glasses of every shape and size and breakable plates.  Luckily we survived that adventure!  We told them to just put the kid’s food on a paper plate.  I don’t even thing my kids ate very much, but our waiter was so genuinely nice.  He brought out stir straws for the kids to stack into shapes and play with while we waited for our food.  He gave us free gelato and even made the kids some green concoction to drink that was an Armenian drink that his kids enjoy.  I wish I could remember the name of the place!

Friday- We dropped Mike off at work and I took the kiddos to Griffith Park (think Central Park, but on the west coast).  First stop- Travel Town.  It’s a free museum all about trains.  If you know these boys then you know they l0ve their Geo Trax trains and everything relating to trains.  There were real trains on tracks that the boys could climb on and lots of exhibits for their train loving and viewing pleasure.  I packed a lunch for all of us and we ate at the picnic tables in Travel Town.  A squirrel teased us from the nearby tree, but it was a much better lunch companion than the bees from the previous day.  We of course had to ride the mini train that took us all around the park (that did cost $, but so worth the few bucks) and see all the trains and people there that day.

Engine Engine The Whole Crew  All Aboard! Tracks The Most Useful Team Travel Town

Next we tried to find the merry-go-round on the opposite side of Griffith Park, but got lost and came across a huge playground.  We played there a bit, got scraped knees, and got back in the truck to continue on our adventure.  We kind of just drove until we found another train to ride in the park.  At this 3rd stop they had pony rides and train rides.  Mikey had such a blast just riding all by himself on his pony.  Josh had no desire so we just walked around until Mikey finished his ride.  And the train ride was another small kiddie train, but we had fun riding around that little part of Griffith Park. 

  

The kids fell asleep on the truck ride to pick up daddy, so Mike and I enjoyed some Mexican food for dinner all by ourselves when we got back to our hotel room.  We were fans of the food and the quiet time.

Saturday was the long awaited day to hit the park, or farm I guess is more appropriate.  We found some great discounts + an online coupon code to Knott’s Berry Farm before we left Vegas.  It was cheaper admission than the Adventure Dome in town so we were thrilled with our bargain price!  They decorate the entire park with Halloween themed signs, people in costumes, and decor.  The kids each got a bag and treasure map to go search through Camp Snoopy (appropriately called Camp Spooky during October) to get candy at designated locations.  

The weather was much colder than last year and the lines were longer than last year’s trip as well.  Handing off Hannah between Mike and I pretty much guaranteed her getting NO nap that day.  We got smart and as Mike was on 1 ride with the boys I would take the baby and go get in line at the next ride.  The boys would then join me on the ride and Hannah and daddy would head to the next ride to wait in line.  We made it work!   Mikey was tall enough to go on the ferris wheel this year and he really enjoyed that.  He also went on a roller coaster and sat with a nice lady who didn’t mind helping us out by having him ride with her.  We ate the best Mexican lunch and then headed for the train!  We, of course, had to ride the train more than once.  It was a full-sized steam locomotive with train robbers and all!  

        

Before leaving we headed across the street to see the replica full-size model of Liberty Hall.  This was per Mike’s request.  We then headed to my Aunt Kathryn’s house for a nice warm home cooked dinner. 

  

 No sooner do we get inside my aunt’s house and Josh pukes all over Mike.  We eat a bit and then Mike heads to where ever he can find to buy new clean clothes.  Josh pukes again all over my aunt’s favorite chair that’s right in front of the tv!  You know, THAT chair!  They help me wash him down and change him and set him on a towel on the kitchen floor, bc Hannah is crying and hungry and I have no more hands!  Luckily Mikey can fend for himself and Mike makes it back with Toy Story 3 pjs which  cheers little Josh up almost instantly.  I guess the bright side is that puke at a relative’s house is so much better than in a vehicle!  Oh man, what an adventure!

Sunday we thought about trying to be all perfect and attend a ward out there, but seeing as how pukey boy was sleeping in, we just loaded up with no hurrying and headed to the corp office to get the items needing transporting to Las Vegas.  We headed home in decent time and found house nice a clean (thanks Mom!). 

Ward Trunk or Treat- Our ward’s trunk or treat was the first one scheduled of the bunch we wanted to attend.  We dressed up as the Berenstain Bears and invited some friends from our previous ward.  Lees, McGuires, and Jenkins all came to check out our new ward with us and therefore Mikey got to hang out with his fave friends from the old ward.  There was chili, trunk or treating, and fun little games and activities going on inside the church bldg. 

 The Berenstain Bears A Friend-Lee Crew Little Cubs

Ironically, this was the only trick or treating we did this year!  We went to the Lee’s hosue for dinner the day of their ward’s trunk or treat and ended up skipping the whole event!  The kids were having so much fun playing that they chose to stay and watch a movie rather than go trunk or treating.

Pumpkin carving- Uncle Brian’s tradition is to carve pumpkins with the boys.  And now that he’s married his wife Heather can join the fun too!  Uncle Brian and Aunt Heather came over and helped the boys design and carve the perfect pumpkins this year.  Team Brian/ Mikey were going for a spooky look while team Joshy/ Heather were just going for whatever Josh wanted at the minute (it changed from Elmo to spooky, to crazy, to silly).  Hannah was just happy to be a part of it all!

     

Halloween fell on a Sunday so we decided we would only hand out candy this year.  The boys weren’t disappointed at all and actually had a marvelous time giving out pass along cards and a candy bar to the trick or treaters.

  

All in all, a fun October was had by all!  Now to get ready for blogging about Christmas…

All in a Day!

It’s been kind of an off day.  I woke up a bit on the late side, which always throws me off of my game, but the baby was sleeping in so I did too! 

She doesn’t do that so much anymore, the sleep thing that is.  She’s got a really weird burping  problem where she always has to burp.  Just when you think you get all the burps out and get her sleeping she’ll wake up within the hour with real tears and the uncomfortable painful shreiks, because she has to burp.  It’s just become my daily routine to hold her a lot throughout the day to keep her comfortable and happy.  So she doesn’t really take 2 naps like she used to. If I get 1 load of laundry washed AND dried then I feel successful!  Well today she fell asleep on her belly while playing on her playmat!  This is progress!  The first nap was maybe 30 minutes and she’s sleeping again now!  Knock on wood.  Taking down Halloween decorations filled the time. 

I of course thought that kidlet #3 would be so easy to manage and I could soothe my baby all while sitting down and mulitasking.  Not so much!

Dear little Josh didn’t take a nap today.  I didn’t even fight him over it, even though I know he needs a nap.  And he’s the kid who only knows loud and louder which is difficult when the little baby finally gets herself to sleep.  But today while watching tv he busts out singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam and reminds me once again that small and simple things can prove great things!  I don’t give this kid enough credit, but he’s got such a soft sweet side that I usually forget it exists since he wakes up screaming hours before normal people even think about waking up.

And Mikey!  He’s in preschool now and has picked up on  what other kids say and do.  Some of it I’m okay with and others I know it was just a matter of time.  “I’m too tired,” or “I don’t want to.” seems to be his favorite answer to whatever I ask him to do and he’s becoming quite competitive.  Today he’s really tried my nerves.  Note to self- don’t take kids along when donating boxes of their old toys. 

It’s not too often I’m ready to throw in the towel, but today was pretty close.  Being a parent isn’t always easy, but I’m glad I’ve improved my patience a tad and that I was a classroom teacher before I was a parent.  The whole no spanking thing comes pretty easy to me, but sometimes it would be nice to send these kiddos away to someone else for a while like I did at the end of the school day and then greet them happily at the door the next morning =o)

I just wanted to get something out there on the blog to help relieve my tension I guess.  I know I am truly blessed to have kids and to also be able to stay home with them each and every day.  I’m not complaining, just admitting that some days are better (and worse) than others.  Today was one of the more difficult ones, but I do see the good in them.  And would you believe it?  The baby is still sleeping, the kids are finally quiet while they bask in front of the tv watching Cyberchase, and my freezer meal that I didn’t have thawed out is cooking away in the oven.  There’s a bit of smoke in the kitchen- the paper label and tape affixed to the foil top of my freezer meal is burning.  Note to self- follow your first instinct next time to remove the label before baking.  Let’s hope dinner still turns out okay!

Glad the day is almost done and that hubby is on his way home from work. I look around and see so much stuff that needs to be cleaned, fixed, put away, etc. that I just get overhelmed.  We still have boxes to unpack!  Can you believe that?

Labor Day 2010

Mike actually came with us this year to visit Gramps and Grams in Utah for Labor Day.  My mom was staying with us in Vegas so we squeezed like sardenes into the truck and made it safely to my parents’ house. We took it easy for the 3 day weekend and spent lots of time outdoors.  Mike even agreed to camp outside with boys in a tent! 

The cute little tent we got for a wedding present finally got some use in the backyard.  We don’t have any sleeping bags or much else for camping equipment, but we are excited to have a tent! The boys bundled up with flannel pjs and thick blankets and of course some flashlights and experienced the real outdoors. I slept inside with the baby and the comforts of heat and toilet and all those great luxuries.  Coming inside at sunrise was a bit early for my liking, but apparently it was cold out there!

We took the family up in the mountains for a nice little bbq, hiking by the river, and roasting marshmallows.  The boys loved the simplicity of it all and couldn’t get enough of the smores!  They had never roasted marshmallows over a camp fire, so Grandpa initiated them!  It was a bit too sticky and messy for Josh, but he did his best to not get grossed out by the goo!

All in all it was a trip over all too soon for our liking, but very much enjoyed!

Twilight 3 (Eclipse) is coming!

Our Twilight 3 (Eclipse)  Movie Party is set!  Movie is Tues., June 29th at 11:59pm.  I’m hoping we can get a group of 150 so invite your family, friends, and neighbors and keep me posted about your headcount!  And guys are invited too =o)

$18.25 gets you in (no lines), popcorn and drink, AND a pretzel OR hotdog, and we’re all in the same theatre!

OR

$16.25 gets you in (no lines), popcorn and drink, and we’re all in the same theatre!

Spread the word and get money to me before Sunday, May 16th. I will turn in $ and get movie tickets/ badges/ concession tickets back to you around the 1st the June.

 I didn’t even read the book this time, just figured I’d see the movie instead.  Leave a comment if you’d like to join us and I’ll email you the pertinent info.  People from Utah are welcome to come hang with us too!  We won’t discriminate.  It’s summer time, so come to Vegas for some fun!