Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas morning unwrapped...

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For the first time in 4 years I was home on Christmas Eve. I was blessed to get Christmas Eve and Christmas off. It was sooo nice!
Grandma and Grandpa dropped off gifts Christmas Eve. The boys LOVED them. Matthew kept playing with his cars even through the unwrapping Christmas morning. We gave grandma a brag book digiscrapped. grandpa got rock yard lights.

While sugar plums danced in there heads we finished up the wrapping. I usually buy and wrap but with Matthew this year I held off on the wrapping. We had more to wrap than I thought. We finished up just before midnight- not too bad. So while sugar plums danced in little heads, and I in my cap, we settled in for a short winters nap. When what distant sound do I hear? I awoke with a gasp and a scream as Josh said, "mom. Mom! MOM! He came, Santa came". (yes he still believes!) What time is it you ask? 3am! 3AM! ahhh, Josh, Go Back To Bed! Ah, mom.

4am, "now mom?" "no Josh"
5 am, "now mom?" alright, I'll get up in a minute.

Thankfully Robin got up and let me sleep a bit longer. Josh tried unsuccessfully to convince dad to let him wake his little brothers, but there was NO Way we were going to have a cranky toddler on our hands by afternoon. They got started around 7 o'clock.We had a wonderful Christmas. Robin got lots of movies. I got an external hard drive. The boys got the usual, legos, bionicles, and cars.

That afternoon we had Robins family here for dinner and gifts. There was sooo much food and goodies. Then Sunday we did it all over again with my family! I had to start taking treats to work so they would get eaten.

I am so thankful for my family and all the blessings that surround me every day. It is the BEST time of the year!
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday house tour.

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...but first I have to share the tote I made my dear friend. I saw this once and thought, I can do that. It's not perfect but for my first try I'm thinking "not bad!" It is for a coupon binder. Now she can be stylish and thrifty!
It folds open to slide the binder in and for when you are looking for coupons. When you are done you just velcro the sides together. They are on sale at Etsy for about $30. I had all the fabric already but it only took about a yard? total. On this inside I put several pockets for notes and other goodies. I hope she enjoys it. Now instead of a zippered binder she can put it all in her tote.
I plan on making one for myself too but that won't happen until after the holidays. I have some fabulous red swirled fabric. Reds my favorite color after all.

Now for the holiday tour. I finally figured out how to get nice night time shots with my camera. Ya have to shut the flash off to see the lights.
First, our tree. We have had this tree for several years, about 10 I think. It is full of all our childhood ornaments. Plus the ones we add each year.Tricks learned from Thrifty Decor Chick...I got these from Dollar tree tonight. I hung them from my cupboards and liked it so well I might go back for some more. What do you think?
A couple of years ago I added garland to the top of my cupboards. It made such a difference.I also picked up this runner from Dollar tree. I am amazed at the difference little things can make. I guess it is all about the details.
This is our tree in the family room. I am not thrilled with the way it is coming together. I meant for it to be more rustic and outdoorsy but...ehh. It's just not me. I am hoping to hit some after Christmas sales and get some more sparkle to add for next year. Call this a work in progress...
This is just a base with red tinsle and lights. I had the garland and just added the bulbs. I was tickled with how it turned out. I plan to add some poinsettas to finish off the top. Mom made the mailbox overflowing with Christmas picks.
And last but not least is my Angel. My grandma made this for each of us girls before. For now this is up in my room. I wasn't sure where to put it that Matthew wouldn't be tempted and it is precious to me so next year it will join the rest of the decor. This year it is for me to enjoy.
I just love the holidays. All the decorations make home even more inviting. How 'bout you. How are your decorations going? Are you ready for Christmas yet?
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Crazy time of the Year

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Yesterday was my day off- nonsleep deprived! I really needed it to be productive but it was anything BUT. Today was better. We shopped all morning long and got quite a bit done. I THOUGHT we were pretty much done. My mistake this year was not making a list. And checking it twice. The boys are in desperate need of real bedding, not just throw blankets, so with Freddy's sale, 30% off kids bedding plus an additional 10% off coupon we did well. I may go back and get a new set for our bed but I will have to see..... I wrapped several gifts tonight. Lets see if Matthew actually leaves them alone. Then we headed over to Shopko. I found a blouse and slacks that were the right size but I didn't have time to try them on so I just got them. Well, they are great! I think I will buy without trying on more often. Seems, this time at least, I had better luck that way. I really need a few more blouses so I was relieved to have one fit nicely. We made a couple more stops before heading home. If you need tri-beads in red or green you are out of luck. They are non-existant in this town right now. I was in charge of a craft for Keegans class. I tried to pick something simple. We ended up on plan 'F' because 'A, B, C, D, & E' wouldn't work for some reason. I almost had to search for plan 'G' but whew we had just enough beads. We made candy canes 2 white for every red. When we got home I had just enough time to put them together in bags. Each child had their own kit. I found this works great by working with the scouts. They worked great and I think the kids had fun. After school I had to lay down for a nap since I was suppose to work tonight. I had called to check on getting put on call but they were pretty busy so it didn't look good. Well, they ended up putting me on call anyway. Hopefully I won't have to go in. I still have projects and shopping to do tomarrow and I don't want to be tired. I would love to have my home a little more decorated. I checked out Thrifty Chick Decor, I love all the great ideas she has. How she keeps her 3 year old out of stuff I don't know but I am going to do just a bit more. I have a couple ideas that were spurred on by her post. We'll see how it goes. I have lots of ideas to watch for during after Christmas sales......I just have an itching to decorate. DEEP BREATH! Christmas projects first then decorating. There just isn't enough time to do all I want to do. Interesting how sometimes we say life is too long then other times it's too short. In reality THIS life is very SHORT! Keeping the Eternal Perspective- Hey, I think I will do that up in vinyl lettering.....gonna have to ponder that idea.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Pictures

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I thought we would wear red but everyone had blue, not red. I am really glad though. I think they turned out great. LMPhotography! Lennie, you rock!
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Ahh, the Holidays....

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Rebekah gave me this recipe also, for homemade Oreos. YUMMY! Didn't I say today was a good day? Bread, muffins, cookies.... the boys were in heaven. Too bad the cookies were for work. They each got one but they will have to suffer with just muffins and fresh bread.

For dinner we had fresh bread and home canned stew. Quick, easy and good on a cold winter day. We canned lots of stew this fall. It's chock full of potatoes, carrots, pearled barley, celery onions, you know all the good stuff. Then when you are ready to eat it you add a can of tomatoe soup and, if you want, ground beef. Tonight we had left over taco meat which ended up added a bit of kick to the stew. There is never any leftovers of this. Keegan was hoping to take it in his thermos for lunch tomarrow. Oh well, he'll be having a sandwhich like Josh.
Last week I made these caramels with pecans. Oohey gooey delicious. I must say I was hoping to make my friend jealous after she shared her yummy truffles. (I think it worked ;-)) I made a double batch but they still don't last long.
(whoops, deleted the tree. I will have to add it tomarrow when I get home)
And last but not least, Our Christmas tree. It's a bit eclectic with all our childhood ornaments plus those since we've been a family. Each year we get an ornament from our vacation destination. Some are classic, some handmade, and others tell a story of the years events. We used to have colored lights but last year switched to white. I like both. The white tend to be more classic/elegant. Don't worry, if the flash was on you would see were Matthew added his own touch to the bottom of the tree. It is more like removing his touch.

We had empty boxes wrapped for decorations for the party last Friday but Matthew quickly unwrapped them. I guess it is a good thing I haven't wrapped anything this year yet. I think we will start with a few benign presents. You know the underware and socks types...... I'll let you know how that goes.....

Christmas morning in 10 days and counting. It is the BEST TIME OF THE YEAR!
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A great day!

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Nothing extra special happening, just a good day. Robin woke up not feeling well so he stayed in bed a bit longer. Josh asked for an egg for breakfast so I fixed egg sandwiches. It was a nice treat for Josh and Keegan. Matthew had scrambled eggs with the toast on the side. No more bread meant hot lunch, for which they were excited and mom was relieved to not have to fix lunches. Before they even left I had bread batch #1 going and the washer started. I 0got the big boys off to school and Matthew dressed. Tyler had decided to sleep in today too. Now it was my turn but dad had to get up first. I don't quite trust Matthew on his own while I shower ;P. I can't go without a shower for too long. It just starts the day right ya know.

A great morning just makes for a great day. The laundry is half done (love my new super washer!), boys are fed. I've made 4 loaves of bread, cranberry muffins, oreo cookies, cleaned the kitchen and worked on laundry. Now I get to unwind and take a nap. Yep, take a NAP! Don't get too jealous, I will be up all night working. I will think of you as sugar plums dance in your little heads at 2am!

I made muffins for the boys afterschool snack. I froze some for later too. It is yummy. I will have to post the recipe. I got it from Tina, Robin's sister, who got it from someone on Pinching your pennies. We went to Tina's for a birthday dinner last night and finally got her started blogging too. Click on her link to the side for amazing thrifty ideas. Remember all the tricks Grandma knew but you thought were lost forever- NOPE! Tina is my go to gal for those things. Anything from laundry tips, canning, freezer goodies, recipe adjustments you name it. In fact, I challenge you all to find a household problem she can't solve on a tightwads budget! Go ahead, check it out. Learn all the secrets of living on a 1950's budget in 2010!

Here is the bread I make. I use my kitchenaid. I am hoping for a Bosch one day but this No Knead Bread is yummy and doesn't overwork my Kitchenaid. Rebekah gave me this one....
Here is the recipe. Try it, you'll love it:
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 packages yeast
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
6 cups flour divided

Heat your oven to 200 deg. with a bowl of water in it. When it gets to 200 shut it off. Disolve your yeast in the warm water. Mix in butter, salt, sugar and 3 cups flour. Mix for about 2 minutes until well blended. You may have to scrap the sided a couple of times. Then add the remaining 3 cups flour. Your dough will be sticky, more like muffing mix texture. Place in the warmed oven to rise. I like to rise my dough in the oven so my house doesn't have to be as warm and the cool breezes won't mess up the rising dough. Let it rise for about 30 minutes until double. Stir down, about 25 strokes. I just put my mixing bowl in the oven then turn the mixer back on for a minute. Pour dough into 2 loaf pans. It will still be sticky. Smooth evenly in pan. Place back in oven to rise a second time for 30-40 minutes until double. Then turn oven on to 350 deg and cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove bread from oven and cool on wire rack. YUMMY! We have been going through about 6 loaves a week with lunches and what not. The boys just love it!

We had the Cardiac Care Christmas party on Friday. It was a great success. I made thank you bags for the committee members who helped with all the arrangements. I got this idea from Little Birdie Secrets. They are Holiday Potpourri bags. I must say this is yummy. It is a subtle holiday scent with just the spice that I love. Robin thought it was great too. It makes you house smell great.Saturday afternoon we took the boys to the mall to see Santa. Josh decided he was too old to sit on Santa's lap, Keegan didn't want to either, Tyler was bubbling over with excitement just to talk to Santa and Matthew was in awe of the tree, lights, and hustle and bustle going on around us.
Call me crazy but one of the things I love about Christmas is the crazy shopping trips. I am usally done by Thanksgiving except homemade goodies so going to the mall is fun to just relax and browse. We usually shop a bit and get a few things but this year we could only go in, see Santa, and leave. I had to get ready for work and our budget was gone this week. Even so, you can't help but feel the spirit of Christmas when you are out 2 weeks before the big day.
Tyler was so excited to see Santa. He almost forgot to ask for something, rather he just did his usual jabber, jabber. You would have thought he was talking to his best friend. I love to see this. The twinkle in a childs eye is worth its weight in gold. I think Santa was getting tired. It was almost dinner time and we were near the end on the line. Poor Santa, never a moments rest at this time of year......Matthew wanted nothing to do with the man in red but perhaps next year.......

So, the other day Ty says, "Mom, Isaac says Santa's not real". UGH! I love that my kids believe in Santa. It is pure childhood. I think so many lessons, GOOD lessons, come from believing in Santa and all he represents. What do you say to this? Our friends leave it up to their kids to decide for themselves if Santa is real or not. They don't say either way except to say the have to pay Santa for the presents he brings.....I don't agree with this but ok. Well, when Ty ask me I had to think. I truely believe in the spirit of Santa. I love the book "I Believe in Santa". It talks about all the things Santa does and what he represents then likens that to Christ. SOOO, we read this story before I left for work. I told the boys that no matter what others might say, I believe in Santa. They seemed satisfied with this. I guess it was an opportunity for me to share my testimony of Christmas and the Spirit it brings with my boys too. Before too long they will be too big to believe, but I hope deep down they always keep the Spirit of Christmas with them. I believe in Santa, he comes in red, he comes at night, he loves little children and wants us to be good. I believe in Christ, he comes in red, he comes at night, he loves little children and KNOWS we can be good. I BELIEVE!
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Speech Therapy...

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Now on to Matthew. My handsome baby! I will have to post our newest family pictures. I LOVE my boys. You'll not find any more handsome boys.

In May, Matthew was starting to take off jabbering. He said lots of words including: mom, dad, 'osh, 'ee'an, 'y, and bye. Then sometime through the summer he stopped. We are not sure why. His hearing has checked out ok so now we are working with the Children's Develpment Center for Speech therapy. EIRMC's ST department was full up until this summer. Ummm, yeah, that's tooo long. So we got connected with the infant/toddler program which is what Keegan had his ST through in Pocatello. We are teaching Matthew basic sign to help with frustration. I have become rather adept at learning/guessing what he wants so now I am trying to get him to say or sign it more. The older boys think this is great, sometimes even offering help a little too much. And no, Matthew's big brothers don't just talk for him. They are gone a good portion of the day. Besides, this is not an entirely new road to us. I have always been adament about the person the question is directed at answering. "MATTHEW, do you want......" means for Matthew to answer not Josh or Keegan or Tyler or even Dad.

Between this, Keegan, extra work for me, no work for Robin, the holidays, and catching a cold I am feeling a bit wooped at the moment. I know everything will work out and I just have to take it one day at a time.....that's just easier said than done. KWIM? Ever wish you could just crawl in a hole and stay for a while? Yep that's me tonight, but alas, my boys need me...........
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Aspergers Syndrome

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Keegan finally goes in for his neuro testing for Aspergers Syndrome today. We also found out that the insurance won't pay for this. UGH! This is the climax of 1 year of Dr's visit, counseling, and testing of various sorts. Any further steps will be based on these results.

A little history: So at 2 years Keegan was still not talking although he LOVED stories. When he would cough mom would always say, "ah, quit your barkin'" to which Keegan said, "I'm not barking, I'm coughing". He still cannot tie his shoes despite numerous lessons from mom and dad. He is frustrated and lost in groups bigger than 5 or 6. He doesn't understand body language. He used to have frequent outbursts at school, even throwing supplies. Some of these outbursts resulted in the teacher removing all the other students from the class. I would get calls from the school almost daily and often (2 or 3 times a week) would have to physically go to the school to help Keegan. He was also just sent home sometimes. He sleep walks and HAS! to have his bright lamp on which he sleeps directly facing all night long.

Last year, Ms. Prindle was awesome to work with us and Keegan. By Decemeber she suggested talking to our Dr to rule out some medical cause of his struggles. We eventually ended up in Dr. Stephen Meyers office. He is a pediatrician that specializes in neuro and behavioral disorders. We started Keegan on Risperidol for mood disorders. This made a 75% improvement. Finally, we were making it through school. He still had outbursts but other interventions were helping too. Keegan met with the school psychologist, had various testing done including speech therapy, occupational therapy, and IQ testing. Through the summer we were hoping to wean Keegan down on his Resperidol but never could. By September Dr. Meyers was convinced Keegan has Aspergers Syndrome. We called for an appointment with Dr. Lindsey to have the definitive testing done. After this adjustments and plans can be made for school education plans and counseling. It takes 3-4 months to get into Dr. Lindsey! In the meantime we also started another medication: Strattera to help Keegan process information that most of us do without a second thought. In October he even earned 2 special awards; one for being respectful and one for being kind.

So what is Asperger's is usually the next question I am asked. In short it is high functioning autism. WebMD has a great summary of this disorder. Most of those listed Keegan has to some extent or other: No pragamatic language skills (nonverbal), thrives on routine, takes everything said literally, delayed motor skills, delays speach etc. Asperger's was only recognized in the early 1990's so it is still a new disorder. Children with Asperger's can cope very well but need to learn coping skills and other language skills. They tend to excell in math and sciences. Einstein and Eddison are thought to have had Asperger's. It also tends to affect boys more than girls- 3:1.

Soooo, we will see what tomarrow, uhmmm I mean today, brings. I am thankful Keegan has great teachers. This year he has Mrs. Zarranik. She has worked with boys with Aspergers before so has great insite and tips. Hopefully friends and family will also learn about this and help Keegan to cope, learn, and grow. Keegan is such a loving child. Sometimes I wonder if he feels he will burst with affection. He quick to give mom a love and simply say, "I love you mom!" It makes my heart sing! I love you to son!
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ahh quiet time

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So a couple of weeks ago we started having 1 hour of quiet time after church. We have lunch then the boys have to go to their rooms for 1 hr. Matthew naps and the other 3 get to nap, read etc. The only rule is QUIET! Robin said today, "I'm glad you started this quiet time thing." It is really nice to have a bit to nap or catch our breath ourselves. More often than not if the boys are in need of a nap they fall asleep. Then the rest of our Sunday is much better. Plus, mom and dad feel refreshed too. I try to do computer projects or sometimes nap myself. The only caveat to napping for me is then my body thinks that I will be up all night as this is my routine when I have to work. I got to take a nap yesterday and I must say it was LOVELY! Robin is so awesome to let me rest and to manage all the boys (and often neighbor boys too). It's no small feat to keep a house of boys quiet. Boy, do I love that man!!!

This week I am planning on getting a crashing start to my Christmas projects. They have been on hold that last little while as I finished up other projects like the Christmas tree for the hospital which I think turned out great. What do you think?
I still have several projects to do for family and the boys. I am making suits of armour for the boys but and still needing juice lids. Send them my way if you have some. I am also going to make blankets for them. They could use some bedspreads so I am hoping to have enough time but I need to get a move on or it won't happen. I have to let go of my moms project. I have a less time consuming project and hopefully will get the pedigree chart done for her next year.

Next, Saturday we are going to take the boys to see the lights on Temple Square. I need to look for other fun, inexpensive, things to do. We talked about staying over night but that will depend on what kind of hotel deal I can find. They have never seen the lights and it has been a while since we were down there so I thought it would be a good time. Maybe we can attend a meeting on Temple Square Sunday morning. Anyone have suggestions of "don't miss" kind of activities?

Last night we went to the Forgotten Carols. Josh got to go for the first time. He loved it! He said he almost fell asleep a couple of times because of it being dark. He was right on the aisle so he had a great view. I have been to 18 of 19 years and never tire of this great story. It is truely the kick of to Christmas for me. Last night was the first time I have seen empty seats. I thought it spoke volumes of the tough times.

Robin still hasn't found a job. He remains hopefull but has moments of discouragement. Last week I had to arrange a "playdate" for him. He went to lunch with a friend. They had a great time and both commented on how nice it was to get out. Jason works from home so he needed an out too. We had been talking about how good women are at social networking. Men tend to have that social network at work but that is sometimes thrown ary. Robin felt better and was able to deal with the boys again. He has commented several times "I don't know how you do this everyday! I'm so tired of dishes, and wiping. I just get things cleaned up and have to do it again...." More than anything I think that we will both learn empathy for each others situations. He wants to work and I want to be home. I don't think he will ever complain about needing to help clean up when he gets home and I will be slow to complain about staying home......It has been a lesson in perspective.

Thanksgiving was great. We went to my sisters house after I had slept a bit. I went to work later. Friday morning I stopped at a couple of stores before going home. Then I crashed for 2 hours before we took the boys out. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was beat (and a bit cranky). The boys were good and got to find gifts for the name they drew. It was great. Leftovers meant no cooking too. YEAH!
I made 4 loaves of bread prior to Thanksgiving. I must say I am getting pretty good at bread making. The boys devour it and already we are out. I will be making more. We probably go through 5 or 6 loaves a week because of sandwiches. We had egg salad sandwiches for lunch today thus using the last loaf. But when I can make it then the cost is pennies! Now, if I could just get my wheat grinder, then the cost would be unbeatable!

Our Christmas decorations are almost completed. I am working on our mantel but it is still a work in progress. What do you think? Any suggestions. I love to get great ideas for home decor.
This is the best time of the year!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving preparation

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Being a nurse has it's downside as much as it's perks. Thanksgiving is my holiday to work this year. Since I work nights I will be working the night before and the night of Thanksgiving. This presents some challenges to getting the dinner with family in but the benefit of working nights is that it is still doable. Tuesday I got the baking done before coming to work. I made 4 loaves of bread (a Bosch is on my Christmas list); rolls, pies, and baked beans. Tonight I wished I had made pumpkin cookies too but alas T-I-M-E is a 4-letter word. I had wanted to make more pies but my pie dishes have dwindled. I need to mark them so that I get them back after family dinners.....

Mom seemed disappointed that we would not be on time to dinner. I tried to explain to my mom that dinner at noon would not work for me. She seemed surprised when after getting off I couldn't go home to sleep for a couple of hours then be over to meet with the family for dinner on time. After explaining the limits of 4 or less hours sleep, eating Thanksgiving dinner, then returning to work all night she seemed to understand my statement "we'll get there as soon as we can". It is hard to understand daytime sleeping unless you have worked nights. We are definantly NOT nocturnal creatures.

Last week I was informed that I needed 16 hrs of continueing education credits to qualify for a professional bonus at work. The good news was I had done all the volunteer stuff. Bad news was I had 3 days to complete 16 hrs of education. UGH!! I am so glad I finished school before having children. I wanted so badly to do something- anything but study. I am proud to say however that I got it done! Horray! I spent Monday getting signatures, finishing tests, and turning in all the neccessary paperwork. Now we get to look forward to an unplanned bonus just before Christmas. How cool is that?!!!

I also finished the tree and wreath for the hospital charity auction. It will be held Dec 11 I believe. I am excited about how they turned out. I will try to post pictures soon. Now, I can focus on regaining control of my house. I love to decorate at Christmas but my decorations are suffering this year. I plan to do a bit of shopping on Friday then hit the housecleaning- which is mostly organizing- hard. Then Saturday I can finish putting all my decor up. I have some great ideas to try this year. Hopefully, I can stop at the craft store on Friday too. Anyone know of great deals??? I will be scouring tomarrows paper for home decor ideas right along with the toys!.

Robin has only requested movies for Christmas. Without cable or and tv for that matter, he is watching lots of DVD's. He has rewatched most everything and is feeling it. We don't watch a lot but you know......If you see some great deals on movies let me know.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Charity Auction tree

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I need some suggestions. I am trying to finish this tree for the hospital charity auction but I'm stuck. I think it is missing something but I'm not sure what. I was going for the homemade theme (any title suggestions?). We made the ornaments and the garland is going to be cinnamon sticks with red beads and (maybe) pine cones. The lights are white. It is simple which is maybe my problem..... I'm stuck and I know there are great ideas out there. Please help......
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Organize those sacks

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My sis-in-law and I have been talking about frugality lately. We are both trying to pinch our pennies in more was than one. Some out of necessity, some out of practicality. She is an inspiration to me in how she can decorate and cook, etc on pennies. I love her decor and she pays so little for it. I usually have great ideas but the cost too much for me to accomplish. Anyway, I have been looking for useful and stylish ways to reuse stuff. I love to organize and just don't do well with chaos. My drawer of bags- you know the Ziplocs, trash, bread, etc is out of control! I love my reusable grocery bags so I don't have many of them but they tend to get crazy too. Well, with this in mind I came across a great idea. You know those clorox wipes containers?- this is what I did!Take the label off the container and glue your own on. I used 6x12 on both my containers. The red one is a little short but the labels don't go all the way around themselves. I love how the blue and green one looks.
Now, I plan to fill them with sacks. Grocery sacks will fill the one under the bathroom sink for a quick refill of the garbage. Bread sacks will no longer roam free in the sack drawer. VOILA! Instant organization. What do you think? I can't take credit... like most ideas I'm not the original source but I definantly know how to reproduce a great idea.

My other project of this weekend is scrapbooking. I scanned some of the LDS papers into my computer to work with. I haven't found a lot of LDS themed digi scrap supplies so I took matters into my own hands. Our friends little boy was baptised last month and they forgot their camera. We took lots of pictures for them and I planned to scrapbook them into a mini book. Plus, this spring I will be ready when Keegan turns 8. I can't believe it's coming up already!
I got my outside Halloween decor down but not the inside. I will hit that later this week. I plan on getting the outside lights up this week-maybe tomorrow- too. I love this time of year! We hit the Toys R Us sale this weekend. I think our shopping is just about done. I just have several more projects to make. I need to get sewing and MORE crafting, oh, the horror ;-).......
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Halloween

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I am finally getting to posting but Halloween was great, BUSY! but great. I was so excited for Josh and Tyler's costumes. They were Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy I made the robes and the scarves. What do you think? I was rather proud, I thought they turned out FABULOUS!
Keegan wanted to be Commander Cody again and Matthew got to be a bat although he would have prefered to just eat the candy and watch the other boys.

I plan on making Jedi robes and the other house robes for a dress up box for Christmas. I think they will enjoy it. I never thought of that type of dress up for boys but they have had fun this summer with the neighbors dress up stuff. I just didn't want to pull our Halloween costumes out since we still have Tyler and especially Matthew to go through. Friday before Halloween I spent all morning sewing Tyler's robe. I finished 15 minutes before leaving to go do Josh's class party, which I was called about just a couple of days before. That turned out to be a huge success. Then it was home to crash for an hour, then off to the school carnival which I left early to go to work! WHEW! I work harder at home than at work. Saturday was Josh's birthday party. Dad was in charge of this since I just couldn't fit another thing in. It was AWESOME! Dad is just a kid himself. The boys said it was the best party they have ever been to. HMMMM, yep sounds to me like dad should be in charge of ALL the birthdays from now on. We had a short breather before getting ready for the chili dinner and trunk-or-treat. Love this! Then we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house. By the time we got home the boys were just starting to settle down but at least the neighborhood trick or treating was done. With all the party's and trick or treating I had boughten lots of candy but we ended up with LOTS left over. Now my chocolate cravings will be taken care of for a while.

I love fall because of all the great baking and harvest smells. Josh always asks for pumpkin pie for his birthday. I guess we are not big cake eaters but pumpkin pie is always GONE! I also made a pumpkin roll which was a hit. Needless to say, we spent Sunday relaxing but we did enjoy ourselves.

Now, it's on to Christmas. Yes, I love Thanksgiving too! But Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love laying by the tree with the house lights of and just the Christmas lights on, sipping cocoa, and listening to Christmas music. I have a good start on my homemade Christmas gifts and I think we are just about done with the boys stuff. This way, I will be able to just enjoy the season without all the rush. Ohh, I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it. Oh- and if you enjoy the holidays as much as I do, you can listen to the music of the season online at ">KLCE
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Online deals

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With Christmas just around the corner would you like to know how to have all your shopping done from home, delivered to your house AND get great deals? Just check our the Screaming deals online thread at PYP. I did most of my school shopping this way. I still love to shop in the store for myself but for my family- especially the boys- online is becoming my favorite way to shop. Besides, I get to do it in my jamies! I have gotten some amazing deals, toys, clothes, shoes, and lots more from online deals. Most of the time there is a code to get free shipping.

Check out this thread for awesome thrifty ideas. Tina, you are my inspiration and go to gal. Whenever I need to cut spending or just a thrift idea I know right where to turn. I have never seen someone mix thrift and style the way you do. You are truely amazing. Let the kids think all they want about the "cheap police", they will one day thank you. My thrifty idea for tonight is to take your empty clorox wipes containers, remove the cover and recover with at 6x12 sheet of paper. Add a ribbon or other embelishment and VOILA! you have a stylish bag holder; you know for your recycled bread bags, sandwich bags, or grocery bags. I am going to make several for the bathrooms, to keep garbage sacks in and one for the bread bags that make my drawer a disaster. I have also cabbaged onto baskets or containers left at the hospital with old flowers in them. Dump the flowers, add confetti (gonna try shredded comics), some candy and hand sanitizer, wrap and VOILA! a great teachers gift and I only bought the hand sanitizer. Oh, wait, I can make the sanitizer now too!! Even less $! I am loving this. I only wish I had more time. But alas, T-I-M-E is a 4-letter word!

One more, okay 2 more threads ya gotta check out.... Albertsons Sale and the Smiths Sale. They are both great. Smiths is left over from last week. I stocked up on Welches, canned tomatoes (gonna plant more of these next year), personal products, and Flintstones vitamins for the boys. Who knows what I bring home from the hospital so I have been pumping them full of immune boosters. Albertsons is a great deal this week too. From there I got soup, broth, yogurt, paper towels, chex mix and more. Great sales, now if only Lowe's would have a great sale on shelving so I have more room to put all my great finds. We are really starting to need more shelves.

I am trying to decide whether or not to can my left over pumpkins... I have heard the pumpkin crop was not good so the canned pumpkin is gonna be in short supply. We love pumpkin stuff.....Hmmmmm, perhaps on Saturday. I will be sorting clothes tomorrow and finishing laundry (is it ever REALLY done) tomorrow and then I work tomorrow night.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Laptop MIA

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I sooo miss my laptop. They were backloged and hadn't gotten it finished when Robin called last week. I can't believe how dependant on technology we become. The pc is ok but now has mostly Robin's settings. *sigh* Hopefully we will get it back today. In the meantime I have been working on Josh's costume. He will be Harry Potter this year. I made his robe, black with red lining and a button front. Robin ordered a Gryffindor patch so hopefully that will come quickly. I was so excited. I think it turned out fabulous. Now I have to get Tyler's Slytherin robe done. Can you just picture it- Tyler as Malfoy? I think it will be great. I am also crocheting scarves of the appropriate colors. Josh was excited I think. At almost 10 you are becoming too cool to google over mom's handiwork. Tyler loved it and can't wait for his to be done. He changes his mind each day as to which costume he wants to wear. I gues that is the glory of being boy #3, you have more choices. Once again, when I get the laptop I will have to post pictures.

Then it will be on to Christmas projects. I love Christmas!! It is my favorite time of the year. I try to keep it simple. My favorite thing is sitting by the Christmas tree listening to Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa! No other time of the year gives me the warm fuzzies all over like the holiday's. Next week we be getting ready to put up Christmas decor. Yeah, I'm one of those. I don't really skip Thanksgiving, I am very thankful each year for family, friends, bountiful harvests, and that I can put Christmas up any time I want. I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!

Saturday we canned 50 some odd bottles of applesauce and I still have 3 boxes left. We are going to store some through the winter and I am going to make some pie filling out of the others. Mom, I will get yours to you. You will love it! The apples were so sweet we hardly added any sugar. Robin's sister Tina was awesome. She spent her day with us and let me use her Victorio strainer; would never do applesauce without one. We get along so well she should be a sister instead of a sis-in-law. Robin loves this. He enjoys seeing the 2 of us laugh and joke and simply enjoy being together. I hope Tina enjoys it as much as I do. Josh, Keegan, A.J. and Nate all had a blast too.

Ok, this weeks coupon tip: ever notice the cycles of sales? Once you learn these you will be able to plan your shopping and stocking up based on these. For example, Quacker oatmeal products go on sale in February-ish and again about September. I know when it will be on sale again and thus am able to judge how much to buy. Also each September there are the "spagetti sauce wars" between Prego and Ragu. PYP has a great list of these cycles. Last year when we were looking to get our laptop we noticed all the sales at Christmas but it wasn't in our budget. We talked of getting one then to not miss the sales. Well, I checked out the cycle on electronics and computers and saw that it went into the first of the year. Yep- come January we were still able to get a great deal AND we did it within our budget plans. Gotta love it! Check out the list here: Sales Cycles , or just print it out. I have mine in the front of my coupon binder. You won't realize how often you will refer to it. Happy Shopping!
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Albertsons shopping

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This weeks coupon tip: When printing coupons online you can usually print 2 copies per link per computer. Smartsource has 3 sets of coupons, Group A, B, and C. Plus there are lots of other online sites for coupons. Here are some links within PYP...
Printable coupons
So I have a pc and laptop so for each link I get 4 coupons. I love this because usually you online coupons are higher value ones. It's great. In fact all the coupons I will use for this weeks sale are online ones. Dang I miss my laptop....

Our laptop is getting some adjustments and my pc doesn't read my SD disc. Don't get it but Robin is working on it so for now I have limited pictures to post. I soooo need my laptop back. Isn't it funny how quickly we depend on technology. Not to mention all my Christmas projects are on it. Hopefully it will be back next week. Keep you fingers crossed for me. In the meantime I am working so much that it may not matter. With the flu outbreaks and staff shortages there have been a lot more needs at the hospital. I am really struggling on how to balance home projects and self reliance with being the sole breadwinner at the moment. Robin is FABULOUS at helping around the house but there are just somethings that I was taught as a young girl to do to help our home while he was taught to work and provide for the family. This is our biggest challenge in relation to having our roles reversed. My kitchen floor needs stripped and rewaxed, there are Halloween costumes to make, and Christmas projects to get in full swing. Christmas is just around the corner you know. So when you all figure out the answer to this proverbial question of balance PLEASE let me know.

This week there is a great sale at Albertsons. Did you manage to get your shopping lists off PYP? Here is the list on PYP: Albies Shopping List You can always call me too and I can easily walk you through it if you need. I am still stocked on most sweets but I plan on getting some Cinnamon toast crunch for $0.65/each, Betty Crocker Potatoes- great for Rob's night to cook, and some Green Giant Steamers- yummy and quick. when you spend $25 you get $10 on your next visit so I will make sure I spend in $25 increments.

The other day I went to Walgreens and got: 8 jars Skippy PB, 2 jars Nutella, 3 Snickers bars, 5 bottles hydrogen peroxide and 4 jumbo packs of diapers. My total $38.46! Take off the diapers and I only spent $6.30! Yep, I was a happy shopper that day. Diapers worked out to be about $0.16 each I believe. I really needed some more Huggies. They seem to be the only thing that work for Matthew.

I also got some clearance toys at Shopko for Christmas. They didn't have any more of the sale items I wanted like a 5 pack of hotwheels cars for $3.88 so I got some rain checks. I had to make sure she knew I had a house of boys so that I didn't feel like I was hoarding or something. Most people don't get 8 or 10 of the same toy. :p

Josh is going to be Harry Potter for Halloween and Tyler is going to be Malfoy. Can you picture it? I am making Josh's cloak and hoping to make one for Ty as well. He will be happy in anything though, for which I am very thankful! Boys are easy!

Now I am looking for deals on Legos. Anyone see them please let me know. We have tons of Legos but they are great toys and the boys, even Tyler, love to build for hours. Dad is the biggest Lego fan but he will probably be getting another pair of work gloves. He has loved the ones I got him last year and asked for another pair. I think this is the kind, at least this is what they look like....

They keep his hands warm and protected without a lot of bulk. He hasn't given me any other ides so I will be on the look out. Maybe just a quiet night out just the 2 of us for Christmas.... I miss falling asleep in front of the Christmas tree- just the 2 of us......

What are you doing to have a thrifty Christmas???
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shopping list

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So now it gets exciting! You have your coupons; you've got them organized now all you need is a nice list that matches all those coupons up to the sale items right?!? Well, here you go. Go to pinching your pennies (click the blinkie is on my blog). Under the deals by state forum you will find Idaho deals. Click on the store that suits you and print your list. Here is the link"

Reading through the forum is helpful too because people will post the unadvertised deals they find. I have made additional trips back to the store just based on the comments posted. Also, the Utah forum is usually busier than Idaho's and you can get the Albertsons list on Monday evening. This may change though with Utah Albertsons being sold but for now Shelley usually has the list up by Monday evening. I love this cuz then I can plan my shopping budget for the week and whether or not to take advantage of the current sale before it changes Wednesday morning.

PYP teams up with Grocery smarts to provide shopping lists to other stores as well. I haven't used this option as much but I think it has great potential. Click on the grocery guide tab at the top of the PYP page. Then just follow the instructions to getting the list for your area. Try these links. (hopefully I did it right)....

Once you get your list all you need to pull your coupons for what you want. On the list you will see a star rating, the sale item, sale price, coupons available if any both in the newspaper and online links, and the end price. 3 star ratings are Walmart type prices, nothing big. 4 star is a good price but 5 star is a great price. The 5 star items are what you want to stock up on. Buy everything you want and can. Now you will have 10 boxes of quacker hot cereal and won't have to buy it again until it is on sale again which with Quacker won't be until February- ish. I can handle $0.75 a box much better than $2.50 or $3. What about you?

How easy is that? Really, guys, I work full time nights. I don't have time to sink into coupons but when someone else is helping make the list- THAT I CAN DO! Before long you all are going to realize how plan ordinary I am. I am giving away all my secrets.....I guess it's ok, you're all worth it. Let me know if you have questions. Next time I will give you tips on the internet coupons....
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Saturday, October 3, 2009


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So did you get your coupons coming? There are lots of ways to collect them if you don't decide to get a subscription to the paper. But, now you need a way to keep track of all the great coupons you are getting. It doesn't do much good to get the coupons if you can't ever find the one you need when you need it. There are several ways to organize your coupons. 2 of the most popular ways is the file method and the binder method. The file method: take your inserts and band them together and write the date on it with a black marker. The benefit here is you don't spend time cutting them all at once. The downside is you won't have them with you for any unadvertised deals you may run a crossed, rather you only cut the ones you need for your shopping list.

I prefer the binder method. The benefit is having all my coupons with me, but I spend about an hour on Sunday clipping my coupons. I don't clip everything, only the products I use. I love this. There have been several times I forgot I needed something or else I run into a great deal unexpectedly. It's great to already have them. I take my binder to the store almost every time I go.

It's best to use a binder with a zipper to hold in any loose coupons. In the front, I have a zipper pocket for pens, scissors, calculator etc. Then there are dividers with stores and categories. I use trading card sheet protectors to place the coupons in. This way I can see what the coupon is for and usually when the exp date is. I also have a list of typical prices which you can find on Here is a picture of mine to give you an idea.

Now decide which system will work for you and get them organized and get ready for the next tip. It's gettin' good!
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