Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Plans

I had the boys signed up for a variety of things: swim lessons, the library program, gymnastics, soccer and halau.  Also there were plans to go to Thanksgiving Point several times, and a playdate group. A friend said I had a crazy summer planned. I didn't think so.

A few days later, Jake and I reassessed our summer budget, and determined that we just didn't have enough for everything and it would be best if we spent as little as possible. Once we had made the decision, I felt like a previously unnoticed burden was lifted. I cleared my calendar of everything, but the free library program, the playdate group, and the swimming lessons I already paid for. It was at that point, that I realized my friend was right. I was CRAZY for planning so much.

Here's the simplified plan:

June
Swimming lessons - two weeks
Library program
Arches Camping Trip

July 
Library Program
Playdate Group

August
Playdate Group


The daily plan -
Morning
Spelling words - 15 minutes
Workbooks - 15 minutes
Dance Practice - 15 minutes
Cleaning time - 15 minutes

Throughout the day
One on one time - 1 hour
I spend an hour with each boy doing what they want to do: playing card or video games (if they haven't used their Screen time yet), reading, coloring, sewing, etc. . .

Activity time - 1 hour

Each day has a theme. I used homeschooling.about.com and the State Summer Reading Program to come up with my daily themes or activities. 

Swimming Time - Afternoon
Free Play Time - it's pretty flexible.
Reading time - 30 minutes in the evening.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Silly Boys

Liam's mess of the week: a lovely concoction of a brand new container of Lemi-shine & with a cup Jet Dry. I caught him when he was about to add Cascade to the mix. It was a sticky mess.

Eating dinner:
M: Kai, I know we are eating green stuff, but will you please not eat your food like a cow or a horse?
C: Yeah! Or a camel.

After Primary, Kai told Jake a joke:
K: What did the whale sing before he ate Jonah
J: What?
K: Swallow the prophet.

While something loads on the Wii, there a little blue dot that goes around in a circle. Today, as Kai watched it he practiced his ami, hip revolutions. These were the best ami I've ever seen him do. If I knew that I could use the Wii to practice some of his hula techniques, I would have used it sooner.


Next week, summer vacation begins. With the boys home all day, I'm sure I will have more of their antics to post about, but I'm not so sure of how much time I'll actually have to do it. So bear with me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Card Requests

This week I've had 3 requests for cards.

A friend said she'd pay me for a Thank You Card. What? Someone is willing to pay for my cards. Really? Anywhoo. . . her neighbor cut up a tree branch that fell in their yard during the snow storm on Monday.
I thought the leaf was a nice touch

She also asked for a graduation card for a student at Orem High. I used the school colors.
The left one I made first, but I wasn't satisfied with it. I made the one on the right, after I made a graduation card for Lauren. Our High School colors are Black and Gold. Go Chargers!

Jake asked for a Thank You card for his Mom. I looked to one of Wendy's cards for inspiration before I started.

Here's what I came up with:
I thought with all the card crafting, I'd have a stockpile of cards. Surprisingly, not true. I've been using my cards as quickly as I've been making them. So, with the left over paper I made a few extras.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Grocery Shopping

Some of you want to know what I know about couponing & price matching, which is pathetically little. I would recommend talking to Tia White, Anne Lee, Rachel Child, any number of other people who are more successful at it than I am.

Here's what I do each week:

1) 2 Sunday newspapers - pull the coupon inserts out

You're supposed to have a paper per person in your household, but I've been testing the waters to make sure that spending some money is going to save me money. It has. I figure if I save more than the cost of the subscription it's worth it. I need to change my subscription though, so I can get the Red Plum inserts from the Provo Herald.

I started out cutting coupons of all the things I thought I would buy. That was time consuming. I got lazy and stopped clipping, then I discovered a new way:  mark Sunday's date on the front of each insert and set it aside (in a nice hanging folder with folders for each set of inserts Smart Source, Red Plum, and Proctor & Gamble for each month, I haven't gotten to that point yet.), pull them out and cut them when you need them. 




2) A meal plan


I know a number of people who plan their meals based on the deals they've scored that week. Woo hoo, added savings! I've tried this method, but I'm having a hard time moving on from what has worked for me the last 5 years: planning then shopping. I'll continue to give the new method a try.

Although, having any meal plan in place definitely helps to decrease your food costs, because you know exactly what you need for each recipe for the week.

3) The shopping draft - ingredients for each meal and items you need.
Whenever we run out of anything, we write it on this laminated sheet. 

4) Websites

grocerysmarts.com - I use this site to find out what items to stock up on.
Select your state, your store, then a list pops up of all the sale items. I look for the 4&5 star items, by clicking start, stock up scale, then shrink. I jot down anything that catches my eye to add to my shopping list. Also they have a link to available printable on-line coupons.

savvyshopperdeals.com (SSD)- I use this site to find the lowest price on the items I need that week.
I go to the shopping wizard, enter each item from my shopping draft, and find the lowest price. The wizard tells me the store, the price and the coupon available. Print the list:

Sunflower Market - For deals on produce
I stop at Sunflower whenever I'm in Orem (1-2 times a week for halau), I love their produce. If I see anything on sale, I'll add it to my shopping draft. 

5) Shopping List 

I add the stock up & on sale items then using the SSD list I printed off, I add the sale price, store name, and coupon price next to each item on my shopping list. 
Why? To price match at Wal-mart.

I know that by going to certain stores you can get catalinas, register rewards, or use in ad coupon to further decrease your costs. I'm still figuring out catalinas and register rewards. It seems like more of a hassle than a benefit. For in ad-coupons, I'll go to the store if the deal is fantastic enough, but my shopping time with as few children as possible is limited, so I'm sticking to the one-stop-shop. Besides, I often find that Wal-mart is cheaper anyway.

As I shop, if the price at another store is cheaper I circle that item on my list and place the item in my price matching corner of the cart. When I get to the register, I unload the items I'm going to price match last in a group. This way I'm done unloading, waiting for the cashier to scan everything, and I'm ready with my list to give the lower prices.

If the price you are matching is more than 50% be sure to bring the actual ad. Each cashier should have the ads available at their register, but that is not always the case, and many will ask to see the ad.

Any questions? What do you do to save money on your food budget?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coby lost his first tooth

It's been almost a week since he discovered he had a loose tooth. After the first afternoon with dental floss hanging from his tooth, he has not wanted to do anything to pull it out. Yesterday, I yanked his wibbly wobbly tooth. Coby was surprised by how little it hurt. He is quite pleased with his new smile:
He wrote a note to the tooth fairy:
and left it under his pillow.
This morning he found:
The tooth fairy left his tooth in this great little envelope. Coby wanted to take it everywhere with him, but he decided to put it in his journal binder.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

38 weeks . .

very little progress, which is not a surprise since in the past nothing really happens until my babies are ready to get here. Can I complain?
  1. It feels like this little boy just doesn't have any room to move around, cuz it hurts when he does. I don't remember it being this bad with the others. 
  2. Braxton-Hicks, a new experience.
  3. I have a random pain that starts in my abdomen, shoots to my hip then down my left leg. Annoying! 
  4. My back hurts, typical.
Ok, I'm done. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dental Visit

Kai will be going back to have a cavity refilled. A portion broke off and there is some decay. Otherwise his teeth look great. He was very thoughtful and got a ball for Liam.

Coby has molars growing in, which will need to be sealed next time. A bottom tooth is loose and needs to come out soon to make room for the permanent one that has already popped up to replace it. Coby doesn't like the dental floss hanging out of his mouth.

When Liam was called, he just strolled off with the hygienist and didn't even look back. Last time, they just looked at his teeth. This was his first real visit with X-rays, an actual cleaning and a vitamin wash.


The hygienist was impressed with how well he did. Most of the time, with kids this age, she's lucky to get the mirror in to look at the teeth, and there's no way they'd let her use the suction tube.
video

GNO - Girl's Night Out

I went out with the girl's tonight to watch Letters to Juliet

Before we went in to watch the movie, 
the Girls gave me this beautiful quilt they made for the baby:

Look at the binding & quilt stitching they did:
I love the stars, sun and wind.

Ladies (Jen, Lisa, Brigitte, & Jill), you are fabulous!! 
Thank you so much!!

Sleeping Arrangements

Many of you have asked "How are you  going to fit 4 boys in your town home?"

For now, like this:
Liam in his toddler bed, and the baby in the bassinet of the pack n' play.

Kai and Coby in their bunk beds. 
Each year they trade off ownership of the top bunk. 

So there you have it. 

As a side note, it has been a struggle the last few months to get any of the boys to go to sleep on time. 
Kai and Coby talk to annoy each other for an hour after bedtime. Liam is being defiant and doesn't want to go to sleep, especially when he hears his brothers "playing". 

We've tried different sleeping arrangements,since it was affecting their behavior at school, and at home. None of them really worked.  We're back to the original set up. 

Our old bed time routine gave them an opportunity to wind up rather than wind down, so we made some changes. 

6:30 Get ready for bed - bath & jammies, brush teeth, go potty, get a drink.  Kai - scripture time.
7:00 Reading time starts - We start at 7:00 whether the boys are ready or not. They join us when their tasks are complete. This way they are masters of their own time. The natural consequence of dawdling is that they miss out on a portion of reading time, which the love. 
7:25 Family Prayer
7:30 Bedtime - I sit in the hall reading silently for 15 minutes. This discourages talking, so it's easier for them to fall asleep. I like that I have devoted time to read my scriptures each night. 

After only 3 nights, the new routine seems to be working. The boys have been asleep by 8:15, not 9:30. I hope this will continue to work after the baby is born. If not we have a back up plan that we discussed with the boys in family council. Each boy suggested that Liam sleep in the bottom bunk and one of the boys sleep in the baby's room. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Last week of school . . .

means summer vacation starts, so this is not a sight I expected to greet me this morning:


I didn't think it would snow this late in the year. 
Oh, man! Our garden! I hope it's ok. 

The boys are signed up for swimming lessons the 2nd week of June at 10 in the morning. 
I hope that the weather has warmed up by then. 
At least the pool is heated. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Silly Boys

Dinner prayer-
C: Dear Hungry Father. . .  cough cough. . . Dear Heavenly Father.

Liam's flavors of the week: grape juice powder and cocoa powder from the pantry. Yum!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cards Galore

This month I have 2 wedding receptions to attend, so I made these cards:

For a friend from Vegas: Jeremy Sandstrom
I added the purple after I took a look at the invitation and saw a cute little purple ribbon.
The floral piece is flocked, so it's fuzzy. Fun!

Then this one:
For my cousin's son's wedding. 
The bride's bridal shower invitation were these colors. 

I really liked the colors, so I went with it.




And I made Mahalo (Thank You) cards, for the boys to give to their hula teachers. 


So . . . whenever I make cards, the first few are ok
Once I get into a groove, the look improves.




These were really generic "Hawaiian" cards: 
a piece of tropical paper on a card. 
Very blah!!  and were in my "cards to spruce up" pile. 
Well, today was the day for embellishing.




The one on the right is my favorite! I may not give it away.





But I feel like I'm stuck in a rut.
Each card I make, I think looks basically the same. 
 Wendy, when are we going to have a card making night?
I need some new ideas/tips and to borrow some tools!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Field Day

Coby played tug of war. His class won, and they got a trophy.  There was a dunk tank, and Coby sunk the teacher every time. He ate a hundred bags of popcorn, not buttered. He also had an otter pop and bouncy ball, which he lost in some bushes. 

Coby: Then last but not least I got third place, I mean our class got third place.

Kai had an enjoyable field day. He ate lots of popcorn.
He also participated in the Field Day Fun Run and Javelin Throw.
I'm sad I missed watching him throw a javelin. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Animal Project

For the last week Kai has been preparing his Animal Project for Pet Day. He had to fill out an information sheet. He did it all himself with very minimal help from me.

He did asked me to look up how long a snake's tongue is. I couldn't find a single measurement of the snake's tongue, but I do now know that snakes can be as small as 10 cm to 7.6 m. For a few days all he had left to do was a poster or diorama.

To be honest, I put off the poster portion of the project, which  involves  pictures. Yuck! I just can't handle pictures of snakes. I know it makes no sense.

BTW: On Tuesday, I dropped Coby and Liam off at a friend's house while I went to my doctor's appointment. I got out the car and a snake slithered across my path. I screamed and did a little jumpy dance away from it.

I told Coby he was on his own to get himself into the house. Of course, he wasn't at all bothered by a little snake, but I was completely freaked out. I gathered myself enough to get Liam into the house and go to my appointment.  Jen said that there were only 2 or 3. But when I left, after picking up the boys, the snakes had increased to 5. Eww!

Kai was disappointed to hear that Coby had seen some snakes and didn't bring one home. He thought it would be perfect for his project. And it totally would have been, but I will NOT voluntarily allow one of those slithery beings in my home.  I'm getting creeped out just writing about it.

While we were out for Jake's 33rd birthday, Uncle Jerome came to the rescue and helped Kai look for, print off, cut out, and mount the snake pictures.

I went to the school to check out the projects. Kai shared his presentation with me. 
I love that his project was clearly done by him. 

One of his classmates did his report on cats and brought in some free kittens. Liam enjoyed petting a kitty. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Honey!

It's Jake's Birthday.  To celebrate, we went to Thai Village, then we popped over to the garden so I could see all the herbs and veggies he planted on Monday. It looks great!!

Oh, and he's getting a Droid.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pregnancy Update

3 weeks to go, no progress but. . .

I woke up Saturday morning with cankles and swollen feet.  Boo hoo!! I feel like I'm walking around with Jello molds on top my feet. Wonder if they'll get as bad as they did with Kai. My toes looked like Vienna Sausages crammed in a can. Lovely!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who's the boss?

Now that Liam can open the front door (and Coby can't open the child safety knob covers), I've asked the boys to make sure that they lock the door before they go outside.

Today, I went outside for a minute to talk to someone while Jake was putting dinner together. Wouldn't you know Liam tried to follow me, and chaos ensued as the boys tried to wrangle him back into the house. When I came back in, Jake teased me: Now, Sweetie. When we go outside, we lock the door behind us, so Liam won't get out. Right? So you can't go back outside for the rest of the day.

C: No, no Daddy. You're not the boss of Mommy. She's the boss of you.  So you can't go outside.
J: See, the kids know whose the boss around here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Silly Boys

Liam loves to eat strawbears and boobears. He makes daily requests to watch GO, go, Go and Umizoomi. Every day he watches the various trucks and buses drive by. There is nothing more fascinating than these vehicles, he'll even stop watching his "show"

A song Coby sang to his friend, Cheyenne:
Girls go to college to get some knowledge
Boys go to Jupiter to get stupider.


Hair Clip Tutorial

Writing tutorials is not one of my strengths, but I thought I'd at least give it a try.

Materials:
scrap fabric 
needle
thread
snap clips, bobby pins, or alligator hair clips
hot glue
cute buttons/gems




1) Cut 3-6 circles of fabric,
 each circle about a half inch smaller than the last.
I like to use 4 circles.

2) Thread your needle with coordinating thread, tie off with a double knot.

3) Pull the needle through the middle of the largest circle.

I like to find the middle by folding the fabric into quarters.

4) Stitch around the middle.
I like to use the folds as my guide.

5) Pull thread to bunch the fabric.

6) Repeat with remaining circles. 

7) Sew the thread down through the middle and tie off at the bottom.

8) Attach your bling by sewing the gemstone on or using hot glue to adhere it to the fabric. 

9) Attach your hair accessory
a) For a bobby pin: stitch a small piece of fabric to the bottom in the middle, then slide the bobby pin on. 
b) For a snap clip: center the clip over the middle and hot glue the ends to the fabric.

At this point, you may want to trim your circles, so you can see more of a particular layer. 
This is why it's not essential that the circles be perfect when you initially cut them out. 


10) The finished product

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Belated Mother's Day Present

When I got home from the Mom's Retreat, I found this propped against my door. 
A mother is an angel sent form from above,
Her heart, mind and actions, all full of love,
Love that finds patience for pains and for "hurts"
Love that forgives quickly and grows in great spurts. 
Love that heals hearts and knows just what to say
To the children still learning who will stumble along the way

Her love is fierce - protective and strong, 
Always ready to help - but still letting them move along,
The lessons she teaches may not settle in at first, 
They may forget them and think life is the worst,
times in life may be hard to bear and sometimes bring pain,
But she will always be there to help them move forward again. 

A mother's calling may not always bring instant returns, 
And can be filled with worry, pain, and even heartburn,
But life's little moments bring joys that are grand,
And are the supreme rewards of faith, for mom in the land. 

The Lloyds are so great for putting this together. 

Mom's Retreat

This weekend a group of moms from our neighborhood got together for a retreat in Park City at the Westgate and the Marriot. It was a wonderful opportunity to take a step back from motherhood and hang out with other wonderful moms, to share ideas and the learn from their experiences.

I brought my camera but never took any pictures. I can't wait to see the pictures Mandi will post.


We started our evening chatting and sharing some of our favorite things (a la Oprah without the prizes):  Moby wraps, Live scribe, Mary Kay Eye Make-up Remover, Sephora, The Baby Book by Dr. Sears, Flent Ear Plugs, Costco makeup brushes & Mac Makeup, DVR, Oxyclean Spray, stockings from personalcreations.com, miginailart.com, a Sleeping Babies photography book, a paintbrush (because Jill absolutely loves to paint), a Mix n chop, and duct tape. Paula made us this cute bracelet out of plaid duct tape:


Then we made these easy and cute little hair clips. I really liked putting together the various fabrics just to see each new pattern emerge. Cutting the circles was very relaxing to me, so I become cutter of the group.

I went to bed way too late, and it took forever for me to go to sleep. I kept thinking about making more hair bows. In the morning, we had pancakes, banana bread, fruit, yogurt and granola. Delicious!!

I got my nifty cute notebook out to take notes during our wonderful classes: Exercise with Kids, Activities with Kids, Healthy cooking on a Budget, Going Green/Recycling, Home Organization, Scripture study, and a discipline round table. I got so much from each class.

Working out with Kids: 
I need to find my motivation for exercising. I really don't have any at the moment.

And exercising doesn't have to be going to the gym, but incorporating it into my day with simple things like walking around the playground while the boys play, doing squats while pushing Liam in the swing, and playing tag with the boys.  I get to spend time with the boys and exercise.

I am so excited about the prize I won from this class. 
Activities with Kids:
There are so many resources out there for things to do with your children. Each family enjoys different things, and each child will enjoy some activities more than others. There are are some questions I should ask myself in order to cater activities to each child & our family:

  1. What does Heavenly Father want for my child? 
  2. What we want for our child? 
  3.  What does my child want?
  4. What is he interested in or what are his natural talents?
  5. What things will aid him in these things?
It may take some trial and error of exposing the boys to a variety of experiences and activities, and if there is not interest, I can always introduce it at a later date.

Healthy Cooking and Eating on a Budget - our presenters provided us a delicious lunch (spinach strawberry salad, and chicken tortilla soup)
I've tried lowering my budget through meal planning, price matching, and couponing. It's been a struggle for me, not the work it takes, but the lack of reward for that work. Not to say that I don't save money, because I have and I've been able to do more stocking up because of it. But it seems like I never save quiet as much as others. Honestly, I think the biggest thing I got out of this class was that my budget appears to be appropriate for the size of my family and our diet. Phew! 

I love the list of seasonal vegetables:

Look at the book I won! I love massages!!
Going Green/Recycling
We generally use a vinegar water to clean our home because most cleaners make me sick and the boys can use it. I do have some store bought cleaners for deeper cleaner, but I've wanted more homemade options. Here's a list:
I'm so looking forward to planting and harvesting in our garden plot
Home Organization
  1. Declutter - donate the stuff you haven't used in the last year.
  2. Do one room at a time, a space at a time, for a short amount of time each day. 
  3. Measure your space (pantry, freezer, fridge, closets, etc. . ) and purchase appropriate sized storage bins 
  4. Use functional decor
  5. I love the concept of having a bin of books for each month. 
They aren't actually labelled

We enjoyed a scrumptious and beautiful snack. I wish I knew what it was called and had a picture of what it looked like.  It had a brownie cupcake bottom, a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a toffee bowl of chocolate sauce. Mmmm. . .

Scripture Study 
When we want to speak to God , we pray. And when we want him to speak to us, we search the scriptures - Robert D Hales, Ensign Nov 2006

Try a combination of reading the standard works and the ensign, especially conference talks. 

Discipline Round Table
It was great to hear everyone's tips and advice for various discipline issues. What I specifically got out of it was to create unity in the home while celebrating the differences of each child. I know that doesn't sound like discipline, but it certainly sounds like a great preventative measure to me.

I'm always open to new ways to discipline and interact better with the boys, so here's my summer reading:
  1. Teaching Children Joy by Richard and Linda Eyre
  2. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  3. On Becoming Toddlerwise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Buckman
  4. Positive Discipline: The First Three Years by Jane, Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Duffy
  5. Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman
  6. Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
And that was our retreat. I really hope we do it again. It was such a delightful and enriching recharge!! Ladies, thanks so much for a great weekend!!