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.


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:


  • 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)


  • 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)



"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:


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.


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.....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Dentist Appointment

Well, Hannah went to a different dentist 1 other time, but this was the first visit for all of us to a Pediatric Dentist office.   San Tan Pediatrics with Dr. Steve and Dr. Dan to be exact.  I was really concerned for my well being.  I set up one appointment for all 3 of the big kids at one time, and hadn't even thought of finding a sitter for Sam till it was to late,  and Chase was working, so i was on my own with all 4 kids at the dentist.  But I was amazed!  It turned out so well, nobody threw any fits, and we were out in less than an hour.  To start off, the waiting room was pretty cool- it was separated into 3 areas, 2 with books meant to be quiet, and one with 3 different video games going and a couple of other noisy toys where i didn't have to worry at all about disturbing other people.  All the kids lined up for "pictures"- x-rays- with Hannah going first and the other 2 thought it was ok if Hannah did it.  Then they got to pick their own spots to have their teeth cleaned and checked- they had about 4 traditional dentist chairs, and 3 "surfboard" chairs that were more kid sized and just laid flat, all in one room (the dentist i have been to all my life has them separated)  and they had enough of the dental assistants scheduled that they all got cleaned at the same time,  (with silly sunglasses on)   and then  Dr. Dan came over and checked them all out for any cavities or problems,  then each child got a bag of goodies (tooth brush, tooth past, and floss) and a golden good patient token.   When we left they each got to use their token to get a prize out of the big gumball-like dispenser that had 8 different types of prizes.  When we left the kids were excited that i had a little card saying when they could come back again- but they were very disappointed that it wouldn't be till February- "a whole six months till we can get another prize?" So- if you haven't ever tried out a pediatric dentist for your kids I would highly recommend it. It was an awesome experience- (especially since i was expecting the worst)  or maybe this is a secret that everybody else already knew about?  Also- the dentist office said that they like seeing kids as young as one!  But when I made the appointment, Sam didn't even have any teeth yet.  And even as I was talking to the Dentist about when he would like to start seeing Sam, i told him i wasn't in a big rush since he still has only 1 tooth,  but apparently Sam does want to go to the dentist- just today I discovered a new tooth in Sam's mouth!  he is no longer the one-tooth wonder,  he actually has teeth for the dentist to check- so he gets to go see the dentist in February as well.  I would probably wait even longer, but insurance covers these type of visits 100%. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adventures in Cooking

So.... I wasn't so good at budgeting my money from last payday.  I went to the store on Saturday and used up my last $40, (that includes the money that Brad sent me with to buy pop tarts) and had to get groceries for the week and diapers for Sam and pull-ups for Bekah for bed time,  lunch for the week for brad, Hannah, and Chase.    I did manage to get everything on my list, but I kinda forgot about dinners aside from buying a bunch of frozen vegetables.  So on Sunday night I made "white macaroni"  using cannery macaroni noodles and a white sauce from scratch, and everyone loved it!  Hannah had 2nds, Bekah had 3rds, and I caught Chase eating the left overs straight from the pan after the kids went to bed!  And for dinner tonight I made sloppy joes. Someone in our relief society got a bunch of free bread and a friend from the ward brought some over for me- a loaf of sour dough bread and gourmet hotdog buns.  So our free hot dog buns became our sloppy joe buns.  And i have only ever had sloppy joes from a mix before- I didn't have any so I just cooked some ground beef and  started pouring in what I had- some onion salt, garlic, Lawry's, ketchup and BBQ sauce.  I had my doubts... but the kids all cleaned their plates and Hannah had 2nds.  Now, I know that most other people would find these dishes less than appealing, but I am surprising myself at coming up with filling dinners for the kids and me when we look in our fridge and cupboards and it looks like we have nothing to eat! Now= before anyone worries about us not having money- there is money in savings I can tap if I have to, and obviously I can come up with something to eat even if it's not quite normal.    I am trying really hard not to touch what's in savings and not using any credit cards. 

Growing up fast

Sam-o is growing up way to fast!  My little one-tooth wonder is now climbing on chairs!DSCF2751DSCF2747And from there he can climb onto tables and computer desks with such ease.....

DSCF2748 DSCF2752And yes, we have tried just pushing in the chairs, but he is so strong he can just move them to where he wants them, unless the chairs are on the carpet (that takes a little longer to move them!) SO when kids have their computer time they have to sit on a high stool- if they are on a chair their skinny behinds leave enough room for Sam to climb up with them.   He also has figured out how to open the doors in our house!  They are long handles instead of door knobs so it is easier for him to do it.  Nothing is safe in my house any more- especially Sam!   At least he is cute!  (he seems to think he is supposed to sit inside this train car- he is bigger than he realizes)DSCF2745

Friday, August 7, 2009

more camping pictures

OK- so I have pictures from my camera, pictures from Aaron’s camera, and pictures from my dad’s camera.  The only one’s missing are my brother Nate’s pictures- i know he had some good ones but I don’t have them yet.  So anyway, I just tossed them all into a folder labeled camping 2009 without giving credit, so not all the pictures i post will be mine- most likely they are my dad’s or Aarons.   

now a warning- this post contains wayyyyy to many pictures……

On Sunday night Chase, my mom and Dylan went home because of work, work, and Band Camp.  Then on Monday morning Nate took off for California.  Then we went on the tunnel hike. 

“In the early 1880s, railroad entrepreneurs came up with a plan to transport ore from Globe up to the newly opened Atlantic and Pacific line in Flagstaff. One problem: The route would have to cross the rugged Mogollon Rim. Financiers ponied up the cash to dig a 3,100-foot-long tunnel through the upper levels of the Rim. But in 1888, the company went broke, having dug just 70 feet into the rock.”  text from here

I Believe it was 1 1/2 miles round trip, and all of us made it!  Bekah had a hard time making it back up, but it was worth it.   The kids had a blast exploring everything there and climbing all over the big rocks.

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It also turns out I missed one picture of the lake,  I really was there!100_0070

On our way back from the hike we stopped for the traditional rim picture (i had wanted this taken before chase left, but it just didn’t happen!)


(note the death grip I have on the 2 little ones?  yes- that it a pretty big drop-off 3 or so feet behind us!)

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Our afternoon was spent resting then going for a jeep ride with great grandpa to find berries!  my kids loved eating them, when it was time to go Bekah said “But I am not full yet!”  The only one not thrilled with the berries was Sam. He refused to eat any, and preferred hanging out with the jeep rather than traipsing through prickly berry bushes.

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random pictures from around camp:

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And this is my family- all 13 of us, and there are only 4 girls!  I find it kind of silly that the only time we can all get together is when we are camping and we look all gross!  The last picture we had taken was when Bekah was a baby, and we were in this same campground.  and of course we don’t take the picture on the first day we are all there and still clean, we wait till just before someone starts leaving!



On the last day of camping we took the kids up to Baker Butte look out tower and collect some free Smokey-the-Bear stuff, and went swimming in the creek.

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Now, i think i have given my Windows Live Writer and Blogger enough trauma with the huge amount of pictures in this post- and I currently have no more camping pictures, so I am done now!