Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary! (to us)

We  have been married for 7 years now,  we are   now a family of 6,  we  have had 5 addresses,  we  have 4 beautiful children,  we have bought 3 cars,   we are 2 people completely in love,  and I have 1 awesome husband.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Flashback Friday

During the summer of 2002 Chase completely stole my heart and made me love him.  When he first said he loved me, I said thank you.  I took me a little bit longer to fall.  But thankfully he persisted, and by the end of summer I knew there was nobody else for me.  I have a whole months worth of  sweet mushy love letters, 1 for every single day he was serving on the Hill Cumorah Pageant work crew and even after all these years they are good enough to make me get all teary eyed that someone could love me that much. He was an extremely sweet boyfriend, and somehow this is one of the many many things that did me in:fire

His fire-breathing abilities made me fall in love with him just a little quicker.  It also won points with my little brothers when they saw this picture.  It's nothing I want them or my children to ever attempt now, but I loved knowing that my boyfriend could do this.  Maybe it was just knowing that if all else failed he could join the circus to support me? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have such silly kids

As I was making dinner tonight Brad surprised me by saying "Oh man- I have a foot crap!" I replied "you mean a foot cramp."  "oh yeah- that's what it is all right- and when you have one in your back it is a back crap! And when you get craps you do this!" and proceeded to hop out of the kitchen on one foot...    i think it was probably something that was discussed at school- I certainly haven't discussed foot or back "craps" with my children! 

DSCF2806   Brad loves these cut pajama pants that Grandma Clement made, and he always has to wear them with the FuelMaker shirt that Grandpa Clement gave him.  Thank you so much for helping to clothe my children!  I could post about a million pictures of the girls in all the dresses Grandma C has made them. And even knowing that they have a closet full of special things made just for them they had a hard time with Brad getting something made just for him- that doesn't happen so much!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back to school

I would love to be one of those moms that just treasures their time with the kids at home, that can hardly bare to leave them to go on vacation and that are sad when kids go to school.... But I am not.  I am so happy that the big kids went back to school this week.  I feel like there is so much less noise, and I might actually have a chance at getting the house clean. (not keeping it clean- just focused on getting there right now.)   It was a long 2 weeks out of school. Thankfully it started out nice with the trip to Disneyland,   and then I was able to take a time out for me last Saturday when my mom treated me to Time Out for Women. 

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Hannah had a hard time understanding why I was going with grandma to "time out",   especially when Chase added that he could just put mommy in time out at home.  

I am not a morning person,  so I was a little apprehensive about needing to leave my house at 7 am to get there in time- but it was so worth it.  I spent my day in the presence of 1,800 LDS women Listening to 4 very different presenters- Emily Watts, Emily Freeman, Wendy Ulrich and Kris Belcher.  The 1st and last were extremely entertaining and very funny, and the middle 2 were more serious, but all 4 had very spiritual and uplifting messages to share. And interspersed among them all was Kenneth Cope performing inspirational songs.  It was a very nice day, and i felt I had put the reset button and was prepared better to shift back into mommy mode.  Plus I got a fun new bag to remind me of my fun day.  

And this is way off topic but very cute.... Sam seems to think that every toy we own should be a ride on toy. This is a little caterpillar with a pull cord on it, but Sam was having so much fun riding around on it he wouldn't hold still for a good picture:DSCF2820 DSCF2821 DSCF2822

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

24 Hours.....

Of not paying for air conditioning!  I am so excited that it's finally cool enough to open the windows and let all the fresh air in.  I am always in a better mood this time of year- or maybe it's just that windows open I keep my voice down with the kids  since I know the neighbors can hear me more.     The kids have been happier too since I haven't let them go anywhere they have been able to hang out on the back porch and play on the  one small plastic slide we have out there. OK- so most of the time they either tip it on it's side and pretend it's something other than a slide, or they shove it up to the walls and spy into our neighbors yards despite how much I tell them not to do that.   And on the subject of not letting the kids go anywhere- I am pretty sure that we all just have colds- nothing serious like swine flu- and I really don't care that much if other kids at the park or the library get sick, but I really really don't want others to think of me as that mom that exposed everyone to swine flu.  So regardless of my reasons- my sick kids have not gone anywhere since they got home from grandma's house last week.  Well- except for Hannah= the one healthy child in all of this.  She went to wal-mart with me once to get a birthday present, and she went to her bestest friend ever's  7th birthday party, which was a fake slumber party.  They had all the girls come over in there pajamas and did slumber party-ish things  but crammed it all into just a couple of hours instead of an all night party.  I was really happy with it- I don't know if I am ready for my kids to be spending the night at anywhere but grandmas house.       My kids have been getting along with each other about as much as you can expect when they have been confined to our house for the last week,  but every once in awhile I catch them being so sweet to each other. DSCF2818

I had been sitting at the computer checking e-mails when I turned around to this!  Bekah was all cozy watching our usual PBS morning kids shows and somehow Sam decided to join her.  And Sam was sitting next to her= not ON her, and Bekah was actually not screaming that Sam was in her space and using her pillow .  It lasted all the way until I decided to take a picture, and you know if you take a picture of just one or 2 kids, then the others want a picture too- and they came jumping onto the couch as well:

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And after that the moment was lost and Sam was moving on to get into who knows what.  

Monday, October 5, 2009

4 weeks since last post

Wow- I had told myself that if I was going to do this blog, I would update it lots and lots- not be one of  those moms that  get you hooked then leave you hanging without any current posts.  And yet it has been 4 weeks since last post.  Most of that was that we weren't doing anything exciting- we were getting into a pretty good routine with school and work schedules and everything was pretty dull around here with  not much to blog about.   Until the last weekend of September.  We spent 3 days and 2 nights in California while the kids stayed in Arizona!   And yup- we went to Disneyland.... without kids.  Amazingly the kids didn't mind at all that they didn't get to go-  the kids seemed to have the same excitement level for sleepovers at grandparents' houses  as I did for Disneyland.  Our kids spent the first night at the Thurston's and the second night (and half the 3rd night- we got home later than I had planned) at the Clements.  And we drove over to California with my very best friend Rae and her husband who drove down from Utah to drop off their kids at her parents house and met us for the drive over.     We had a super fun weekend that seemed to end way to soon.  All went well- we got nothing but good reports from both sets of grandparents when we got back,  and the only close to bad thing that happened to us was Rae and Scott's big huge wooden headboard fell off the wall the first night- (they swear they did nothing to cause it)  nobody was hurt and they got free breakfast for it.    We were able to do all the big kid rides over and over and over- Tower of terror was the most at 5 0r 6 times I think.  We had decided that we would do this trip every 3 years, and this was our 2nd time going- but if things work out for Rae  moving back to Arizona soon I think we may need to  bump it up to every 2 years.    When I woke up extremely sore and tired the day after we got home I was very thankful that it is Fall break for our kids-and i could just relax that first day- but that 1 day turned into several and I still wasn't feeling better, and soon it turned into a week and I was feeling even worse ,  with 4 out of the 6 of us (including me) having horrible colds and the kids running amok in our messy messy house and  they were wearing the same pajamas for 4 or 5 days.  Thankfully Saturday finally got here and Chase took charge and got the house cleaned up and i felt good enough to bathe the kids and make sure they work clean pajamas to bed.    Now we are into week two of  fall break and hopefully we can all get better and maybe do something fun before the kids go back to school.        

Friday, September 4, 2009

I said his name was Trouble

And now he seems to have the need to live up to his name... Sam pulled a bowl of dry cereal off the counter, and proceeded to do a stomping dance thing all over them. 

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And then he would lean over and eat a few off the floor.

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Then back to stomping all over them.

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He continued this routine (stomp, eat, stomp, eat)  till there was nothing big enough for him to pick up.  It was hilarious to watch, and I never was able to scold him for spilling the cereal. I guess we need to be more careful about where stuff is on the counter- it's hard getting used to him being tall enough to reach everything!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blessings

When we only had one child I decided to go to massage therapy school.  it was supposed to be a 7 month program but Baby #2 came during that 7 months and pushed it to a year program for me.  It was a lovely experience- getting 2 massages a day while pregnant- but also lots of hard work,  a full day of school, plus homework, and being a pregnant mommy took its toll. But- i am very glad I did it.  Since then we have been dutifully paying off my student loans.  I always tried to pay extra on it when we could.   We got very close to being done with it but have only been paying the minimums for the last couple of months since we are planning for 2 road trips and Christmas in the next 4 months.  Well- i got the letter in the mail on Wednesday  from the company that manages the loan:

"Dear Elizabeth Thurston:

We are pleased to inform you that the remaining balance of your student loans listed in the table below has been forgiven as a way of thanking you for taking care of your loan obligation in a diligent manner." 

They had erased the last $838.80 that I owed.  I was all smiles for the rest of the day- it was only a $31 monthly payment  currently,  so it doesn't have a huge impact on our monthly budget- but the total does free up a lot of cash for savings and paying off other debt that we have.   029

It makes me happy- just like this old picture of Brad makes me happy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

stuff

   Hannah's little bit of bangsDSCF2766

Sam loves cars

DSCF2773DSCF2774   And cookies- he was to impatient and got the glass pan of cookies down all by himself- Hannah pulled him out of the kitchen before I got to him- but he was still trying to eat a cookie he picked up out of this mess- amazed that he wasn't hurt. DSCF2777

Monday after we got ready for bed we realized it was raining really good outside. It doesn't happen often enough for us so we postponed bed time and had to get ready for bed all over again when we were done playing.

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And Bekah insisted i take a picture of her tower chair she built on the couch.  DSCF2780

Monday, August 31, 2009

Creative writing

So, everyone loved my post on my history of soda pop.  I loved it.  I thought I was able to convey my feelings on the subject perfectly.  Which is rare-  I have kids playing and screaming and fighting and laughing and wanting attention in my life at all times.  So putting out a post that is completely what i want it to be is rare.  I start typing and everything goes awry from my intentions as I am distracted by life.  I want to write good stuff that will be entertaining to read- but my father-in-law sent me this quote today "Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain."-Martin Mull    and I want to thank Martin for expressing exactly what my head feels like today.  So instead of creative writing- just quick updates on the kids:  Hannah got bangs cut in her hair because she wants to look like her friends and loves for me to curl them each day.  Brad had an all green week last week (cards go from green to yellow to red, and in the past almost every other day was yellow instead of green).   Bekah told me "I need a large Dr Pepper from sonic today" after we dropped chase off at work today-  I think she has listened to me  order at the drive through to many times!  And Sam is still determined to just say Dada and grunt and point for all other communication.   Chase has ot at work today and won't get off till 7 (yes- that's his normal time but he went in at 8 instead of 10:30.  And Liz is on her own with the kids till 7, but at least 2 of them are at school till 3.    And that is all.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nap time is to short

I had BIG plans today... I was so excited- today was the day i was going to sweep and mop our big kitchen, the 3 bathrooms, the entry way and our hallway.  I knew we were out of pine-sol, so I ran to the store before I took Chase to work.  I had it all planned- i had already cleaned the spaces yesterday so all i had to do was pick up any stray laundry and toys and sweep and mop to my hearts content during Sam's nap time.  To bad nap time is to short.  Or I am a really slow sweeper and mopper.  But either way, I only got done with the Kitchen before Sam woke up.   I guess I will try again next week.  After I got done cleaning the huge mop bucket out in our shower I went to get Sam up and change his diaper, And Bekah claimed her shopping cart and has since gone to several different stores with her baby and picked out lots and lots of toys to buy.   DSCF2770 DSCF2771

Sam was happy for the picture, but soon after he became very grumpy when Bekah refused to share her shopping cart. But i gave him lunch and he seems to think it's a fair trade (at least until the food is all gone).  And oh yeah- he is chomping away at his food with 3 teeth today instead of just 2.  I am really hoping he starts getting them in faster than this!   And he is also insisting on saying one word- only one- and it is Dada.  He loves his dad- he chants it on the way to get chase from work, he screams it when Chase walks into the house after dropping off kids at school.  He absolutely refuses to say mama, when he gets up from nap time he says dada- i will say no, I'm mama! and Sam will just shake his head no and continue to say dada while looking for his dada. 

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Soda Pop

So.... I really like soda,  a lot. Dr.Pepper, Pepsi (any variety)Cherry Coke, Mr. Pibb, even wal-marts generic Dr. Thunder.  And I know I am not supposed to, but I do anyways.  I know that it would be healthier for my body to not drink it- it is the source of most of my calories through out the day, and it would be healthier for our checking acount as well if i just drank water instead.  But it is not a recent thing- this is a life long love of yummy bubbly fizzy cola.  As a young child me and Nate would come running any time my parents would pop the tab- hopeing that we would be the one to "get the can"  that last tiny bit after my parents would pour it into a glass.  When my parents owned Clement towing,"the office"  we were often employed to stuff and lick and stamp envelopes- the reward?  2 quarters for the pop machine.  Another job was to fill the pop machine- i felt so proud that I would get the key and open up the huge door to the machine all by myself and fill it up with all the soda my mom or dad had gotten from the store in bulk- huge stacks of soda on carboard flats that seemed as tall as me.  It was a fine job for a hot summer day since the machine stayed running while you stood in front of it, leaning against the cold metal interior.  And the reward?  of course it was a can of pop.    Another favorite treat of ours was to go see Grandpa Clement at the garage- Clement motors that used to be on university and extension.  We would beg for quarters for the pop machine and the candy machines - (not modern vending machines, more like square gumball machines that had various candies in them)   I even vaguely remember the old soda machine that had a door to open and you pulled out glass bottles instead of  cans.  I maybe remember a debate of wether or not to get rid of it once the new machine for cans came in.   We also went for visits to grandma Clement at "the shop"- Paint-N-Things that was right next to "the garage"  (it's still in the same spot- but a new QT gas station has filled the garage spot).  We loved to go see grandma as she taught her painting classes and ask for a soda out of the fridge.  I also got my first job there- dusting the displays afternoons a week for 3.50 an hour- plus a soda. As i went through highschool and dealing with jobs in movie theaters and hard classes at school and drama with friends and boyfriends and my mothers scary health problems and surgery my senior year my dad could always offer me a hug and a can of pop at the end of a hard day.  So as I seek to honor the deal I made with Hannah, I am having a very hard time with this.  It is not simply a desire to have something yummy to drink on a hot day- this has been a love affair with soda pop from a very very young age.  It is a comfort to me, a reminder of my childhood and teenage years before I grew up, a reward for doing work, an offering of love just for being a grandaughter,  a little can of happiness.  It calms me, reminds me that everything gets better eventually, it helps me get through all the not as great parts of being a mom.  I know it may seem silly to some, but soda pop has been there my entire life and I love it- find great comfort in drinking a cold fizzy cola.  But to save money and honor the deal I made with my kids- and hopefully lose a little weight,  I am going to try and not have it anymore.  Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

His name should be Trouble!

Last week I was comparing notes with a man in our ward concerning our youngest kids- his is a little older than Sam and had just figured out how to get to the top bunk. I said "oh- thank goodness he hasn't figured that out yet!" And thouroughly jinxed myself! 5 days later I heard the kids screaming at me from the girls bedroom- Sam had figured out the ladder to the top bunk and fell in love with that bed. he loves being up there and running from one end to the other, and loves dodging my arms as I try to retrieve him without actually climbing the ladder myself.

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And today he started screaming his head off while I was in the bathroom. I cam running out cause it was the "i'm being murdered" type of cry to find that he had tried to climb on the desk chair while it was still pushed under the desk and got himself stuck in this cramped position. He was not happy at all- but it only seemed to get worse after I pulled the chair out and didn't let him stay on it. He really loves the compter.

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And- as I was picking up dirty laundry with Bekah this morning my favorite pair of jeans (the ones closest to making me look skinny) ripped through the crotch, and I am not supposed to be buying anymore clothes to replace them. that's why i like my sweat pants- they don't rip on me when I am picking up laundry!

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Boundaries

Well- i went to our special meeting yesterday at 8 am ( i left all the kids at home with chase) and although I am still in the same ward- it seemed like they pulled about half of our ward away to be in the new ward.  However- my wish of keeping my primary class together was almost granted!  We are only losing 2- one inactive and Tyler.  Tyler was the only kid in my class that was perfectly behaved, we will miss him a lot!  We will probably get to church on Sunday and find out that the other 2 classes for our age group are completely empty- so we still may lose some of our kids through re-organization of our primary now that we will have a more reasonable amount of kids overall. 

Me and Hannah and Brad have found 2 more ways to save money.  Hannah and Brad have agreed to get only school lunches instead of me getting everything at the store to make lunches-  we qualify for reduced cost lunches so it is only costs .40 per meal-  i was spending about $2 a meal when I sent them from home.   But for Hannah to agree to this (she is extremely picky)  I had to agree to not buying soda anymore.   We are all a little sad about this agreement- but I am pretty sure we are shaving off about $70 from our monthly grocery expenses, and all that money is going to be saved up for something more fun than just lunches and soda pop.  Brad thought of more toys for his birthday next year (he was easy to convince- he love getting PB&J everyday)  and Hannah thought of shoes and earrings.   So this next payday Hannah is getting new Sunday shoes- she was getting these anyways, her current shoes are from before the move almost 2 years ago- and she also gets to pick out a pair of earrings.  That way, when she starts complaining about the lunch situation I can say "fine- if you want to take your lunch then you have to give me back the earrings"  and I am pretty sure she will put the earrings above food.  I hope. 

And one last thing- we have been using that laundry soap for a week now and love it!  I have washed peed-on sheets and pj's,  puked on clothes and shoes, and all the rest of our laundry and everything comes out perfectly clean!  We love it and will be using it to save money for a long time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ward Re-alignment

At church on Sunday we were told that we would be having a special meeting at the stake center next Sunday at 8 am with the Orchard Ranch ward for re-alignment.  Apparently we are the 2 biggest wards in the stake and speculation is that we will be divided up to form a 3rd ward, but nobody knows for sure yet.    I was very thankful that they at least told us what the meeting was for- this way I was able to prepare my primary kids that they might have a new teacher next time they come to primary, and that some of the kids might be split up into different classes.  While I will not argue against splitting the ward (i believe we have about 30 kids in the ctr5 age group) it is still sad for me to possibly have my class split up and possibly not be in primary at all anymore!  It gets very difficult to teach when all of the kids show up for primary, and taking care of Sam at the same time,  I don't want anybody to be permanently moved!  I would prefer that they all just takes turns being sick or out of town each week. :)   I really like the opportunity to teach my own son each week.  We have the twins- Alex and Andy- they come from such a good family that they always know the answers,  Lillian is so sweet and good, Haley is a social butterfly and can't be quiet for very long at all but draws beautiful pictures at the end of class, Tacey is such a spitfire and questions every thing we say to make sure we get it right, Tyler is always good and calm amidst the chaos, Griffin is so "cool" he doesn't ever out right disobey in class, And then we have Zoie.  She has given us our biggest struggles, but also has given us our biggest sense of fulfillment in teaching this year.  She loves to explore and run and push everyone around her to their limits.  When she was in sunbeams she rarely made it all the way through sharing time before her teachers took her to her mom.  At the time I remember thinking that I would love to have her in my class for the next year to help her, but not completely sure I wanted to take on the challenge.  Turns out we got her- and it has been a challenge,  But I don't think we have ever had to take her to her mother,  she now sits quietly all through sharing and singing time, and she seems to be able to take in the gospel principles we teach about as well as everyone else in class. We frequently get compliments from other teachers and people in the ward that they can't believe how calm she is and her mother frequently gives me hugs and tells me how grateful she is for me and my husband and that we have completely changed how their Sundays go.   This last week she told me how she was scared that our families will be split into different wards and that Zoie will have different teachers that won't get her the way we do.  And while I will admit Sundays would be easier without her- (on our bathroom trip last week she escaped to the mothers room and the men's bathroom) I don't want to stop being her teacher!  I know that we are doing good for her family and her,  but it also does me good to know that we are actually accomplishing something with these rambunctious 4 and 5 year olds!   So i think they should re-draw the ward boundaries based on my primary class so we don't have to lose any of my kids.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saving Money

I am a stay at home mom, and Chase works 40 hours a week, (plus overtime whenever he can get it)  so money is always tight.  SO i have started thinking of ways to make the money we do have stretch farther.  I did 2 new things this week.

First- I made my own laundry soap!  I got this recipe from Chase's sister Jaime, who got it from Sara Taylor.  You need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar Fels Naphtha Soap
  • 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
  • Water

(I found all of these at Fry's, Borax was the only thing I could find at wal-mart,  but it was about 1/2 the price of what I paid at Fry's)

Tools:

  • 5 Gallon container
  • Knife
  • Pot
  • Long stirring stick/spoon (for 5 gallon container)

(I actually used a cheese grater instead of the knife- it worked better for me)

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Instructions:

"Pour 6 cups of water in the pot and heat it just shy of boiling. You want the water hot enough to be able to melt the soap, but not hot enough to boil over. While the water is warming up, grate the bar of soap into small pieced. Add the shredded soap to the pot of heated water. Stir the mixture until the soap is completely melted.

Once the soap is melted, add 1 cup Borax and 1 cup washing soda to melted soap mixture. Stir until dissolved. Pour 3 gallons of hot water into the 5-gallon container. To the 3 gallons of hot water you'll stir in the melted soap mixture.

Optional Fragrance: If you prefer to have a pleasant scent to your homemade laundry detergent, you may add a few drops of essential oilsclip_image001 (usually found at health food stores). The amount of fragrance added is strictly of personal preference.

Now that everything is mixed and dissolved, you'll have a 5-gallon container of soapy water. Cover the container, and place it somewhere it won’t be disturbed. Let it cool overnight. It will begin to gel when as it cools. It does not gel uniformly so if you look in the container the next day and see a lumpy watery gel don't be alarmed. It will have an Egg drop soup texture. You will however want to store your homemade laundry detergent in smaller containers. I place mine in my old store bought laundry containers after it is mixed before it cools.

Amount Per Load: ½ cup is sufficient to clean a load of clothes. This recipe is great for high efficiency washing machines because it is a low sudsing detergent.

Yield: This recipe yields 432 oz of homemade laundry detergent, of which 4oz are required per load. In total, you should be able to wash 108 loads of laundry."

Yes- I just copied and pasted.  So i followed all the steps and this is what I ended up with:

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The big tide bottle is all filled up, and almost 5 full juice bottles  of laundry detergent.  Things to note- both of Chase's sisters that have tried this had the soap mixture boil over- it came close to that for me but I was able to save it before it spilled over, so it is something to be very cautious of.  Also, my soap gelled really-really-really well. It looked like I had made jello in a bottle and was first concerned about how to get it out- but I just shake it a bit before pouring, and then it comes out good.  I am just not sure how well that will work with the bigger Tide bottle- so maybe more smaller bottles would work better?  Now you are wondering how much money this costs vs. save?  

My Costs:

Borax 76 ounces for 5.19,  or  0.54 per batch

A&H Super washing soda 55 ounce for 2.79, or 0.40 per batch

1 bar Fels naptha soap- 1.79 or 1.79 per batch

5 Gallon bucket- 4.50

So starting costs were $14.27,   and it cost 2.73 "per batch",  but until all that borax and washing soda are gone I only have to buy a new bar of soap for each batch ($1.79).  In contrast- my regular powder detergent is $10+ for only 80 loads.

Second thing I did was not quite so time consuming or adventurous.  Since school started i have been buying prepackaged fruit for Hannah and Brad to put in their lunches.  Almost $4 for 5 servings of fruit- and I bought 2 of those each week, and didn't even have enough for Sam and Bekah to have any. This week I bout 2 big bags of grapes and spent less than $5 and bought a box of Ziploc baggies. I was then able to wash and seperate the red and green grapes into 20 seperate, equal containers and dump them into a drawer in the fridge.  This way each of my kids can just grab 1 of the bags every school day.  (even sam and bekah benefit from this). Doing it all at once means that we don't run out half way through the week, and only letting the kids have 1 bag a day  eliminates the "Brad ateALLLLL the grapes" problem.   I know that a lot more people are probably doing the fruit thing already Vs. the making laundry soap thing,  but it is just another way that I am making our budget almost work at our house.

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The next thing I have been contemplating is home-made baby wipes.  I will let you know how that goes if I ever try it.....