Monday, November 30, 2009


A few years ago Ben and I came upon the coolest Christmas house we have ever seen. We have made it a tradition to go see it every year, so tonight for Family Home Evening we packed up and headed out.

I wish the pictures could do justice of how much Audra enjoyed it (well, there are actually two houses on the same block that are both spectacular). When we got home she just rambled on and on and on about it. I didn't understand anything she said, except for the word "lights" randomly blurted out.

These videos are not exciting, but I thought my mom would enjoy them.

We highly recommend taking the fam to see these houses- they really are unbelievable! If you head east on Belleview from Santa Fe, you will go to Elati- about 6 blocks or so before Broadway. Turn left (north) on Elati, and you can not miss them! Bring a couple of singles if you can because they do ask for donations to help pay for electricity, and you will agree that they probably need the help- and that it is well worth the money!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We Might Be Insane

The weekend began with the simple phrase, "Ben, I have an idea!" He is learning to hate the phrase- painting the bedroom, installing new hardwood floors; the list goes on and on of all of my ideas that have turned into near divorce court battles.

I have decided that it is time Ben and I get our food storage. (Leaders of our church encourage us to get a years' supply of food in case of emergency- does this make us crazy? Perhaps. But if there is an emergency, come on over and we'll supply dinner!) A friend of ours has this fantastic shelf that rotates your food for you and I decided that Ben and I should build one. These cost about 350.00 in the store, and that is just WAY too much for a shelf.

So, we borrowed a circular saw and made our way to Home Depot where we bought 90.00 worth of wood. Ben said, "this had better work!" It was a reasonable comment considering more then one of my ideas has gone horribly awry and turned into disaster.

On Friday, we got to work. Four hours were spent just getting the actual shelves ready- and by the end I was exhausted and wondered why on earth we didn't just spend the 350.00 to buy the ones already made (though, we would have had to buy 2 of them to get as much space as we have on the shelf we made).
Here is Ben dilligently screwing away. This picture is misleading, however, because I did 95% of the work- though he watched the girls so I could build it which is almost as difficult.
On Saturday we worked for another 4 hours and got it finished. Here are some pictures of the finished product. You can't really tell, but the shelves are slanted so you put the new food at the back and the older product rolls to the front so that your food rotates for you.

It ended up turning out fantastic (a little surprising since I was the one in charge), and I am certain we will be grateful for it for years to come. This is the reason, however, that we will never move: I am never taking that down and reinstalling it anywhere else! This turned out to be a mammoth project. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I ever do it again? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

And Ben has forbidden me from getting anymore ideas. Smart man.

Monday, November 23, 2009


On Saturday we set up our Christmas tree. A little early, but Ben might have to travel in December so he wanted to be able to enjoy it for a longer period of time before he goes out of town. We went a little overboard after Christmas last year and bought a huge tree (yes, we use a fake tree- it may not smell as nice, but it sure is easier- and cheaper!)
Here Audra and I are fluffing the branches (yes, she is climbing into the tree to do this).

And what do Daddy and Claire do while we work so hard:We set up the train- Audra's favorite:And voila! Our Christmas tree:I don't know what it is about setting up the tree, but it stirs a number of emotions. As I was watching Audra and Ben set up the train and looking at the tree, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessings we have. It is fitting, of course, since this is the week of Thanksgiving, to be reminded of all that I am grateful for.

First and foremost, I am grateful for Christ and His gospel in my life. I am grateful to know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me.

I am grateful for my family- for my beautiful girls and my hottie of a husband- who loves me more then I ever thought possible. I'm grateful for my sisters and my brother and my in-laws. I am incredibly grateful to my parents who put up with a lot of crap from me, but still helped me turn out OK.

I am grateful for the greatest friends in the world- you guys keep me going!

I am grateful that my life has truly brought me happiness. I never in a million years would have dreamed I could be so happy. Is life perfect? Heavens NO! There are definitely days I want to pull my hair out and call it quits. But, in the end, being able to sit and watch the Christmas tree while enjoying LIFE is the best thing in the world. And I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Good Laugh

Here is some footage of Claire with her #1 fan: Audra! These two love each other so much already- in fact, Audra is the ONLY one who can get Claire to laugh! We try as hard as we can, but she won't do it- then Audra just walks into the room and Claire starts laughing. I love seeing the two together- I just know they will be best friends (and worst enemies- we all know how that goes!).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Celebration Time!

Yippee- Ben finally got the promotion they have been promising him for over a year!!!! Good job sweetie, you have definitely earned it!!!!

Then, Audra has been waking up throwing up really badly several times in the last few weeks. We took her to the doctor and hopefully found the problem: constipation! Who would have thought those two were connected? So, yippee for prune juice, finding the solution to the problem, and no more puking at night (though now we might need to change diapers at night)!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Several of you have asked how I was able to get $120 of groceries for $26. I will attempt to break it down here so you can see that this actually does work!! However, you should note: this does take TIME- and lots of it. I spend an hour clipping coupons on Sundays, and 2-3 hours getting my grocery lists ready, and then at least an hour at the grocery store each week. If I was working full time, this probably would not be worth it to me. But, for now it is a HUGE blessing!

OK, here is how I scored the sweet deals.

I am going to show you my Safeway deals because those were the best ones I got last week. I choose between Albertsons, Safeway, or Kings Soopers depending on which one has the best deals for that week. Sometimes I will go to 2 stores, if they are both having stellar deals and I have time (you still need to remember that I am about the cheapest woman in America so a great deal really gets me excited). Target and Wal-Mart are not good places to grocery shop with coupons because:
1. They don't double coupons- that adds up to tons of missed savings! (make sure wherever you go they will double your coupons- the chain grocers will typically double them up to 1.00)
2. They don't have the "mega events"- promotions like if you buy 10 participating items you get 5.00 off your order and things like that. Again, it leaves a lot of savings still in their pocket- not yours!

My shopping trip:
2 C&H Brown Sugar (2 lb bags)- on sale for 1.69 each. I had a coupons for .65 off of two, so I bought 2 for 3.38 and got a dollar off (the coupon doubled to 1.00) so I paid 2.28 for two things of 2 lb. brown sugar

2 C&H Powdered Sugar (2 lb. bags)- same deal as above

Gold Medal 5 lb. bag of flour- on sale for 2.00. No coupons, but a good price.

Nature Valley Nut Cluster- On sale for 2.99. I had an e-coupon for 1.00 off and a manufacturer's coupon for 1.00 off so the total cost came to .99.

Betty Crocker cookie mix- on sale for 1.69, had a coupon for .40 off, doubled to .80 off- total cost .89

Betty crocker frosting- on sale for 1.50, coupon for .50 off, doubled to 1.oo off- total cost .50

Green Giant canned veggies- on sale for .39. No coupons, but a great price- got 6 for 2.34

Sugar- 2.00 for 5 lb bag- no coupons, good price, got 4 bags for 8.00

Salt- needed it so I got it for .49

Progresso Soup- on sale for 1.00 a can. I had a ton of coupons which all doubled so I got 9 cans for 4.70

Ritz Crackers- regularly 3.99 each, on sale for buy one get one free. Plus, I had 2 1.00 off coupons, so I got two boxes of Ritz crackers for 2.00

Oregano- on sale for 2.02, had a coupon for .50, doubled to 1.00 total cost 1.02

Argo Corn starch- on sale for 1.49, had coupon for .50, total cost- .49

Pillsbury cookie dough- on sale for 2.50, had coupon for .50, total cost 1.50

Scrubbing Bubbles Bath Cleaner- regularly 3.99 each. On sale for buy one get one free PLUS if you bought 3 or more the price dropped to 1.99 each. I got 4 cans. Two were free because of the BOGO deal. The other two cans were 1.99 each, for a total of 4 dollars. I had two coupons for 2 dollars off two cans. Because I bought 4 cans, I got to use both coupons, so I got them all for FREE!!!

Then, Safeway is currently doing a deal where if you buy 25 dollars in participating baking items you get a 5 dollar coupon off your next purchase. I had a coupon from last week for doing that, so I got an extra 5 dollars off my order, plus I earned another 5 dollars off my next order (hence all the baking goods I bought).

Have I confused you yet???

You will notice this is all "fluff" foods- no meal foods or produce. I went to King Soopers for that and spent 33 dollars for an entire weeks worth of real food groceries. All of this food went right into food storage- where it will be used in the future! So, I basically went to Safeway just to take advantage of their great deals and stock up.

I hope this shows you that it is a lot of work, BUT- it really does work!!!! Find websites for your area that break the deals down for you- I found one in Utah called and I already posted one for here and for Seattle. Ask around- surely someone you know is doing this if you want to get in on this! And, feel free to ask questions- you CAN do this! I was such a skeptic, and now I am amazed that even I am able to get $120 worth of groceries for $26!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Milestone

Claire turned 4 months yesterday! I'll start with the fun stuff- here are some cute pics:I LOVE this picture of Ben and Claire! She really does love her daddy- often times he is the only one who can get her to calm down when she is crying. What a great dad!

She loves to stand, just like Audra did. They are so similar.
Daddy and Claire match!
Claire is still doing pretty well overall. We ended up putting her on Zantac for reflux and that has calmed her down. She is a really calm baby, but she was starting to be really fussy at night, and now we don't have that problem. However, she does always want to be held, including when she naps. I am sure it is because we have been doing so much attachment parenting. Some people may say we are "spoiling" her, and maybe we are. Sometimes I do find it annoying that she always wants to be held, but at the same time I love the closeness I have with her. I love having her sleep right next to me, even though I don't foresee her going into a crib anytime soon. But I also know that soon she will be running away from me, and I will miss this time and the bond that is between us. I can't even describe it. So, I guess I will just say that there are definite pros and cons, but for now this is working for us. And, in the end, aren't we all just doing the best we can?
Height: 2 ft 1 inch- 72%
Weight: 13 lb. 3.5 oz.- 41%
Head: 15.76"- 23%
We love you Claire!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Proudest Day

Maybe today isn't the proudest day of my entire life, but I am feeling pretty good. Why, you ask? Because I just got back from the grocery store where I spent 85 CENTS for all of this:

Yes, that's right 85 CENTS! I promise I won't share every good deal I get, but I was pretty proud of myself for this one! I was actually planning for it all last night as I was sleeping. While this may not be all that exciting to you, for a stay-at-home mom with nothing better to do (yeah, right), this was very exciting!

I started coupon-ing at the end of last month when I saw how successful my friend was. I feel like I have been spending WAY too much on groceries, and I wanted to cut down on that cost. I just added up my numbers for October, and I did a complete double take! I actually recounted the numbers because I didn't believe it. Here are the numbers:

Average grocery bill per month for the past 6 months: $403.74 (WAY too much for 2-1/2 people)

October grocery bill: $288.33

Amount saved by using coupons and shopping sales: $307.24

HOLY COW!!! Can you believe those numbers? I couldn't either- I can't wait to show Ben and tell him how awesome I am!!! Not only did I spend TONS less, but the biggest differene is that my cupboards are FULL- I put a lot into food storage this month, I bought almost all name brands, and we have TONS of food to eat!!!! Thank you soooooooooo much for helping me out and giving me the encouragement to do this, Jen N!!!! I was a total skeptic, I did NOT think using coupons would work- and look at what I have been able to accomplish in just ONE month!!!! Thank you also to my in-laws who have started giving me their coupons so I can save even more!!!!

I have a ways to go before I reach my goal, however. I want to get down to $200 a month. Whew- that will cut my food budget in half. I will post my monthly totals, and if you want to know how to get into this whole new world of saving money (tax free!), let me know and I'll answer your questions. I'm so excited about this!!!!