"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Friday, December 31, 2010

A trip to the Seattle Temple

In September (or was it October?) our stake president challenged each family in the stake to take a trip to the Seattle Temple before the end of the year. We were encouraged to get dressed in our church clothes and walk around the grounds. Since today was the last day of the year, we figured it was about time. And, it was a good trip.

Joy really wanted her picture taken with this statue. Doesn't she look innocent? It reminds me of how sweet she really is and my responsibility to treat her as such.

I think the kids really fit with this one. Mine are the ones in color. Those bronze ones just agreed to hold still for the picture. You know, the bronze ones, the ones that are actually behaving!

I didn't realize what a cold day it was! I am awfully glad we grabbed the coats, because it was much colder in Seattle than it was at home!

All in all, I am glad for the counsel of our stake president. It was a long drive, but we had some good discussion, and I feel that we have already been blessed. What a blessing it is to have a temple close enough to drive to!
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Holy Deals, Batman!

Okay, I couldn't resist going out and getting a few after Christmas deals today. And, am I ever grateful I did. This is what I got at Rite Aid today - $125 worth of stuff for... (drum roll please)

$9.35 out of pocket! And, I got back $35 in +Up Rewards! So, they paid me $25 to take $125 off their hands! I LOVE Rite Aid!

The other amazing deal was at Walmart. There was a $4 off Gillette razors coupon in the November and December PG insert. And, since Walmart has their gift sets marked half off, this normally $8.88 set (which includes a razor, full size deoderant, body wash, and something else in a tube) only cost me $0.44! Yes, that is 44 cents (plus tax)!

I got seven sets, all that I had coupons for! Can you blame me?
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

There are just too may to put all the pictures on, so you get a smattering of my favorites.
I know this one isn't very flattering, but he looks so much like his mother, I couldn't resist! - I bet you didn't know that photographic double chins were hereditary!
Meme got all the kids pillow pets, and they LOVED them!
Hyrum, following in his father's footsteps. Yes, he did ask Santa for a football with only a little prompting.
And, everyone got electric toothbrushes. Yeah!

Paul and Brigham got these twin ball tracks from Santa, and I can tell they are going to bring HOURS of entertainment! yeah!
What did Joy ask Santa for? A harmonica. And, after it was all over, this is what she was doing. She is really quiet talented, I must say.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gingerbread (Graham Cracker) Houses

One of the things that we usually get around to every year is gingerbread houses. Only, I cheat and just use graham crackers. It makes the process much faster, and at this point, that is what the kids prefer. So, here they are with their finished products. I assembled the houses and spread frosting on top and the kids do the rest.

The process:
I think Hyrum thinks I don't get in enough pictures, so he "took" one of my while I was taking his.
The product:
I am sure you noticed that they got increasingly creative as they went along? Joy has a better idea of what houses should look like and then it goes down from there.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My little artists

While my back was turned, Hyrum and Brigham decided to paint themselves instead of their papers.
Yes, they get their artistic talents from their mom. Enthusiastic, but not always well directed!
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Joy the fashion designer

For years, Joy has wanted a sister. She has pretty much given up on that crazy dream now, but every now and then something happens to spark her girlish fancies again. This time it was the birth of a baby girl cousin who lives pretty close. So, Joy has decided to be a designer. She got out the scraps from her quilt and has been working on a variety of projects. Today, she decided to design a bracelet. It was four or five layers of fabric, cut to an oval shape, with an oval hole in the middle. Then, she hand-basted (although I am sure she meant it to be a real seam) around the inside hole. When I explained that what she had created would be a bit of a choking hazard for poor Grace, her plan shifted. She pulled the sewing tight, which caused the whole thing to ruffle, and turned it into a flower. Then, she cut out a "lily pad" from green fabric, glued a pin on the back and, viola! She made a pretty cute little pin. I was quite impressed. She did it all except the hot gluing, which I insisted on doing myself.Since this worked out, she has decided she wants to make a dress, using Paul as her model. When I informed her in no uncertain terms that Paul could not serve as model, she was pretty upset. It took me convincing her the she didn't have near enough fabric to make a Paul-sized dress to get her to use Scrabble (Hyrum's baby doll) for her model instead.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The beach and beauty shots

Gorgeous, I know. This is about 5 minutes from our house.
Hyrum and I built this little sculpture, and boy, was he ever proud!
I was trying to get pictures to send in Christmas letters, and this is what I ended up with.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Public Enemy Number One

To start, let me tell you something about Brigham. He does not meet a stranger. I almost don't want to take him out with me anymore, because he is sure to inform whomever we meet everything that we are about to do. They may find that we are going to go to the drive-in, or that he is going to get a swat on the bum if he doesn't behave. Or, he may go up to some random woman in the post office and get a little friendly.

Such was the case today. I was in the post office mailing a Christmas box, when I noticed a very stiff looking elderly woman behind me. Perhaps she her hearing aid wasn't on loud enough to hear Brigham's conversation, or perhaps she is not in the habit of talking to kids who she doesn't know. Whatever the reason, she was not even acknowledging that Brigham was in the same room, let alone trying to converse with her. So, I brought Brigham back to me, and asked him not to continue to try and talk with her. Of course, at this point, I noticed that Hyrum was now hiding underneath his favorite post office counter. As we were done paying for our box, I went back to get Hyrum and take the boys out the car. While I was convincing Hyrum that he really needed to come out, Brigham decided to try and renew is previous conversation. You can only imagine my internal convulsions when I looked up and saw Brigham standing next to the same woman, not only talking to her, but rubbing her bottom! No, I don't think he realized he had his had on this woman's rear. He was just petting her like he would have a lost puppy he was trying to calm. Unfortunately, the resting place for his hand was not one that was having the calming effect he was hoping for. Personally, I think I would have reacted a bit to someone with their hand RUBBING my bum, but this woman stoically ignored the small boy by her side.

Poor kid, he was only trying to be kind. I when I regained my composure enough to grab him and notice what he was saying it was "I love you" as sweetly as any child every told his grandma the same. But, I don't think she will be signing up for the adopt-a-grandparent program anytime soon!

Thank heaven's for Daisy's kennel!

We had friends over today while we worked on several advent calendars. I was surprised at how much fun the kids had playing in Daisy's kennel! Zack and Hyrum particularly enjoyed their stay.
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Christmas Advent

I wish I could say that genius struck, but at least an idea struck. I was looking at advent calendars the other day, and decided to come up with my own. Today, I put the idea into effect. I sewed up some muslin bags, used heat-transfer paper to make numbers, and then modge-podged Christmas paper on clothes pins. These bags were filled with treats, and a scripture per day.
When they were hung up, I think they looked pretty nice. I can't wait for the kids to see them in the morning!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

First snowman of the year!

Well, we got some snow this year. Thanksgiving was the best snowman snow of the week. So, while the adults worked on dinner, the kids made their very own snowman. Good job, huh?
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The end of $20 at Rite Aid

Well, I am done with my $20 at Rite Aid experiment. I have so far accumulated $225 worth of products, and I now have $21.50 left to spend. However, it is starting to get difficult to track the exact $20 I started with, so I am ending my experiment. I think I have more than proved the merit of Rite Aid's coupons/+Up Rewards/Single Check Rebates.

However, I am now a confirmed deal shopper. So, in the spirit of my "place for everything" blog, I have created a new blog. You can visit www.tarasplacefordeals.blogspot.com and there find my continued saga of deals and steals ('cause sometimes the deals are so good, it feels like stealing. Like this week, I got a $85 item, and after the sale, coupons, mail-in-rebates, and single check rebates it only cost me the tax!)

I hope you have enjoyed this as much as me! See you later!

Homemade laundry detergent

Although it seems that I am just obsessed with coupons/deals these days, that is not actually the case. I am simply learning to be more frugal. The art of finding a good deal is just more exciting than some of the other things I have been doing. However, I came up with a pretty intriguing one a few weeks ago that I got to try out today.

Have you ever heard of homemade laundry detergent? I hadn't. But, in talking to my sister, she mentioned it. Since the price was right, I got the ingredients and waited to run out of the detergent I was using. Today was my lucky day!

How do you make your own laundry detergent? Easy. Really.

Get a big can (I used a #10 can left over from Costco peaches) and add 6 cups of water. Put that in a big pot of water and bring to a boil. (This "double broiler method may not be necessary, but I didn't want to cook in the same pan I was making laundry detergent.) Then, grate 1/3 of an Ivory soap bar and add to the heated water in your can. The goal is to melt your bar soap in the water. When the soap has melted, add 1/2 cup Borax (found in the laundry soap section) and 1/2 cup washing soda (this is made by Arm and Hammer, and I found mine in the laundry detergent section at Ace Hardware. Walmart failed me on this one.) Mix until the powder dissolves. Then, pour 1 quart of hot water into a 2.5 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and then 22 cups (11 pints) cool water. Stir and let sit until cool. When the mixture cools, it turns to a gel. When you are ready to use, just mix detergent (so that the gel breaks up a bit) and add 1/2 cup to your washing. Done! Mine looked like this:

One batch makes 2 gallons, which means 128 loads of laundry. The super amazing thing about this stuff is the price. Let me do the math here:

Borax - $4.29 for 76 oz - 19 batches in a box - $0.23 per batch
Washing Soda - $3.79 for 55 oz - 13 batches in a box - $0.29 per batch
Ivory bar soap - $1.50 per bar - 3 batches per bar - $0.50 per bar (of course, if you get a good sale, this is MUCH less)
price per 2 gallons of detergent - $1.02
price per load - NOT EVEN A PENNY!

So, as you can see, it is fairly economical. To be mild.

How does it work? Well, I will have to post more about that later. I just washed the sheets that got wet on last night, as well as some assorted kids clothes, and they came out smelling and looking clean. So far, so good. However, I will use it for a bit and post some more opinions. And, since I want to give credit where credit is due, I found the recipe here! Thanks, Tipnut!
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