Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Feel Blessed!

I haven't gone food shopping for the past couple of weeks because we are trying our very best to stick to our budget, and for some reason we were able to spend $120 on food in the first two weeks of the month. We have been fine, we have a freezer full of meals and a stocked pantry, but I have missed the fresh fruits and vegetables. I have even longed for an orange or some squash several times. It is kind of odd, I know. I have missed tomatoes the most.

Times are tough everywhere, and I have been proud of our desire to really stick to our budget, and to tell you the truth it has been pretty easy to say no to myself, when I found myself wanting to buy something we didn't need, because I knew we would be blessed to have what we really needed. We have been paying our Tithing and other offerings and trying our best to follow the counsel of our Leaders.....but I still really wanted some FRESH FRUIT!!!

Then today, just minutes ago really, I got my email from the Food Co-Op. Saturday is the day that we get to pick up this months food, and oh boy do I feel like someone up there in Heaven likes me!

Check this out- we paid $14 for this.

"Harvest Share

  • 6 zucchini (from East Farms*)
  • 3 green onions (from East Farms)
  • 1 package of carrots (from East Farms)
  • 6 pears
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 bag red potatoes (5 lbs)
  • 1 bag of cherries (2 lbs, locally grown from Tagge's Fruit**)
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • 18 (yes, 18) apricots from Tagge's Fruit

  • Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
  • 16 oz. rice (white or brown)

*East Farms provides the Co-op with our Farmer's Market shares, and other produce that is grown locally and to organic standards.

** Tagge's Fruit is a Utah company with fruit orchards near Willard Bay and Bear Lake. They've provided us with fresh fruits, jam, and salsa in the past."

I was so excited that I had to share it with all of you. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm, I can taste those apricots now! And Cherries! Local, Fresh Cherries! And Tomatoes, oh, how I have missed you tomatoes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Found It!

I found the cord the the camera! Yeah, now I can share more pictures.
Why is this boy so happy?
Well, it's because he is eating one of these....this was my very first time making Cinnamon Rolls, I only made half a batch just in case they turned out horrible, as it was they turned out Fantastic!
Another reason why his is happy is that he has been my little helper while I baked this weekend, he discovered flour while I made pizza crusts on Friday.
And finally, he is happy because he has a new baby cousin! He has seen her three times now and hasn't tried to poke her eyes out yet! YEAH!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Singing Time World Series

(So, we had some neighbors over last Tuesday to watch the MLB All Star Game, and in preparation for the get together, I cleaned the house....or maybe I should tell the truth, I didn't have enough free time to completely clean the house so I boxed up items that didn't seem to have a place and hid them in my room.....and for some reason I thought the cord that connects the camera to the computer needed to go into one of those boxes. Dumb, I know and now I can not find the cord, so until further notice, there will be no pictures on the blog. I am sorry. But life goes on and so I have things I want to share.)

Today I did something really fun in Singing Time. We played Baseball. I had a baseball diamond on the board, 4 paper baseball players, a small ball, 4 buckets/bowls labeled single through home run, and a container full of songs to sing.

I started out by talking about reverence and how being reverent is different during different meetings, and how during Singing Time we are reverent by sitting still and not talking to our neighbors but also by participating and singing the songs the best that we can. I then explained that I would be watching really closely during the songs to see who would be the next "Batter". It worked so amazingly, we have had some really rambunctious kids the past few weeks but today they were so good, they kept their hands to themselves and they sang their hearts out.

So here is how we played, I put the four bowls/buckets in a line on a table, with Single being closest to the kids and Home Run being the farthest away. I would pick a batter and give them 3 tries to get a "Hit" then a little paper baseball player would run the bases. After they got their hit they got to pick a song out of my song container. We kept score as we went along, (Junior Primary got 7 points and they were such a good team, I didn't tell them but the Senior Primary was going to compete against them later in the day.)

Senior Primary was pretty far behind in the point total, it looked like they would never catch up, but then there was a "Singing Error". We were singing "How Firm a Foundation", the children have learned the 1st and 3rd verses and I, for some reason, started singing the second verse. The kids went along with me, none of them complained, but as I had used up a good amount of their precious time making them sing a song that they have not learned, I told them that because of my "Error" two of their players had made it home, this meant that they were tied with Junior Primary.

Well, don't tell the Junior Primary but the Senior Primary won by one point, their last batter actually stole does a paper batter steal a base you ask? It was hard to do, we were out of time when the last batter hit a triple, I told the children that if they sung their very best their player on third just might be able to steal home and win the game. They sang that final song beautifully and so the umpire called their player "Safe at Home".

It was so much fun. I love being the Primary Chorister, when I first was asked to do it I wasn't so sure about it, but I must tell you, I feel such a wonderful spirit each week in primary. I may miss out on gospel centered lessons that cater to Adults, but I do get to sing praises to My Savior and My Heavenly Father for an hour each Sunday and there is not much more uplifting than that. I love it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Secret to Happiness

If- You Kiss the Blarney Stone
Then- You will be Happy Forever!
In case you're wondering, I did say "Stop kissing the dirty rock" right before I took this last picture, that is why he stopped kissing it and turned to show his new found happiness.

We recently spent some time at the Children's Discovery Garden at Thanksgiving Point. They have a Huge sculpture of Noah's Ark, it is surrounded by shallow water and the animals spit water at you. Baby J Loves It! We went yesterday and today and we will probably go once a week for the rest of the summer. They also have other fun things to discover, like lots of little pieces of cut wood to stack into towers, a 20 foot long tunnel to crawl through, a bear cave with more tunnels, a Fish pond, and a wooden xylophone. Anyone want to come play?

Monday, July 6, 2009

O! Thus be it ever,

Did you know that Francis Scott Key was a Lawyer and Amateur Poet? An Amateur Poet, I think a lot of us could call ourselves amateur poets, I write a couple of poems a year, they are not that great, but it is fun to do. I don't think any of my poems will ever be as famous as his.

Did you know that he wrote 4 stanzas, (I found this on Wikipedia and they said they got the info from somewhere reputable…though I can not remember where)? I have only sung 3 verses, the 1st, 2nd and 4th that he wrote, and It kind of makes sense that we would cut out the 3rd because it isn’t that easy to sing, and is kind of hard to understand, I guess maybe I need to brush up on my understanding of the war of 1812.

Here it is- the Star Spangled Banner

"O! Say can you see by the dawns early light,
what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broadstripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallently streaming.
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! Say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
what is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
as it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
in full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner! Oh long may it wave
o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
that the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
a home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
and this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

We hear the 1st verse a lot, but I love the 2nd and Last verses the most, the second because I can imagine being there, hearing and seeing the fight but being just distant enough away from it that you kind of have to wonder what is going on, who is winning, is all hope lost. But you look and hope that what you see it what you think it is. Then after waiting and hoping the sun finally rises and shows you that your prayers have been answered.

I think I love the last verse best of all.

“O! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand between their loved home and the war's desolation!” This line just brings such a strong image into my mind, of my Grandfather and my Father, both of them served in the military. But I truly feel that the future will not be peaceful and my dear Husband and possibly my sweet Son will find themselves standing between their loved ones at home and a war and fighting to protect their freedoms. I feel such pride in my family and the service they have provided in the past, but I really do get scared sometimes about what the future will bring.

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.” I think that our nation is trying its hardest to forget the power that made and preserved us as a nation. What does that mean for our future, if we forget the past, pretend that it didn’t exist or try to believe that we did it all on our own, with absolutely no divine help…oh, it makes me sad. I watched a little of a series on the History Channel called “The Revolution” and though I only saw portions of 2 episodes I was struck by how often it was pointed out that all was lost, but then something happened that would turn the tables in our favor, the one that I remember the best was a story of Washington being surrounded in the New York City area, and all was lost. He and his troops ended the day knowing, beyond a doubt, that they had lost the battle and first thing the next morning it would all be over for them. Washington decided to make one last ditch effort and he evacuated all his troupes during the night, they left by boat and crossed the east river to Manhattan. They truly did not have enough time and when day broke they were happy and amazed to find that there was fog. I don’t know much about New York City, but the narrator pointed out that fog such as they had was very unusual. Hmmm, to me, this is just one of hundreds, if not thousands or millions of the tender mercies that the “Power” blessed our nation with, so that we could become a nation, and stay a nation. He lives, that Power, I know it is God who has done these things, and if we are humble enough to acknowledge him and his hand in our lives, he will continue to preserve us.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'” So,this was our motto way back in 1814 huh, I personally think it is a wonderful motto. I also agree with Mr. Key, that when our cause is just we will conquer, even if the fight is long, the right will prevail in the end.

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

I am proud to be an American. I am proud to be a descendant of such selfless men and women who fought for freedom and goodness at home and around the world. I pray for our country and our people, that we will have faith, in ourselves and in God, that he may ever preserve us, and our freedoms. Wars, physical and spiritual rage all over the world, I pray that our homes will be places of safety and refuge so that we will have the ability and strength to fight when we are called upon to do so.

God bless you all, and God Bless America!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good Old Uncle Sam

(Just so you know, this is not my 4th of July post that will come later...tomorrow...or Monday...once the festivities are over and I sing some Patriotic Songs)

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, I love that. This past month I have been pursuing the happiness that living within the budget brings. And guess what, after all the receipts were counted I was only over by $10 on my food budget (for those of you who saw my facebook post about being $13 over, I returned some Otter Pops to Maceys.....they were 1 oz pops for the same size as 1.5 oz pops at other off...thus we returned them). It is my new obsession, trying to live within or below our means.

We have been Costco members for a few years, Ken signed up at work because you could get a gift card for signing up- we are big on discounts and gift cards. We are also big on Discover Card Bonus Awards. We use our Discover Card to make most of our purchases, we pay it off each month and we earn some pretty good rewards. This year we noticed that one of the things you can get is a prepaid Sam's Club Membership plus a $10 gift card. We talked about it, and decided it would be the most budget conscious way to go.....we would get the benefits of the Big Club Stores and not have to pay the Membership fee. If we liked it, we could continue to get the prepaid membership through discover card rewards, if we didn't like it we could go back to Costco, no harm, no foul.

Now, we don't buy a ton at Costco. We buy Diapers, Wipes, Milk, Romaine Lettuce, String Cheese, Fruit Snacks and Gogurt on a regular basis. (I am beginning to think they should give memberships to Babies, since all but the Lettuce is for Baby J.) There are other items that we buy every 4-6 months when the gigantic amounts you can purchase at these stores finally runs out.

We went the new Sam's Club in South Jordan and were very pleased at the super easy process of signing up for our membership, we had to use $2 of our gift card to pay the tax that Utah apparently collects on membership fees. We then started to check out the store.

40 inch Sony LCD TV- $878 (a few more months and it will be near $500 and we'll snatch it up)

Fruit Snacks- found for a great price, the same or less

Bread- found, good price, two pack just like Costco only you can choose two different types of bread to put into your two pack, I like that Idea.

Romaine Lettuce Heart- $3.88......what.....I buy these weekly for $2.99, they are the exact same brand but for some reason cost 89 cents more.... that is $47 dollars per year.....I felt the world closing in around me.....

String Cheese and Gogurt- pretty much the same price

Baby Wipes- more wipes for $2 cheaper....pretty nice.
When we got to the baby section we didn't see size 3 diapers but we soon discovered why, they were all in the As-Is section because they are changing the packaging and wanted to get rid of all of the older packaging before they started selling the new ones (I asked....because I really had to wonder about diapers being sold as "As-Is") They were $20.20 for 160 diapers- so we picked up 2 boxes.

Contact Lens Solution- same brand same price

Boston Baked Beans- Gigantic card....."Please Kate, can I have the Boston Baked Beans" Sure I said. (Ken has since hidden them from me because I ate half the gigantic bag.)

Milk- you don't have to buy two...but the price is $1.88, so if no one is having a sale that is not bad.

Now, we had about $5 left on our gift card by this point, and I was bemoaning the fact that I was going to be paying more for lettuce and I felt like having a hot dog. So we did. One Polish Hot Dog, One Cinnamon Pretzel and one VERY Large Root Beer would make me feel much better, especially since they would be free, i.e. paid for with the gift card. At this point my doom and gloom opinion of Sam's Club and their over priced produced changed. Because I found this beautiful thing...
That is right, I am a fan of the Kraut! I must admit that I was always a bit sad when there was no Kraut at Costco to go on my Polish Hot Dog. "I love Sam's Club" I proclaimed. We ate and made our way home, I was still a little annoyed about the Romaine but there was sunshine in the world again.

The next day I got online and searched the Sam's Club site for a place to make comments and or suggestions. I didn't find one, but I did find that out of the 8-10 Sam's Club in Utah, the South Jordan store is the only one that charges $3.88 for its Romaine, all the others charge $2.92! Are the People in South Jordan rich? I don't know, but what I do know is that I will be shopping in Murray or West Jordan from now on (they are both pretty close to Grandma's house after all).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blah de Dah!

Do you ever just feel kind of blah? Unfortunately I have had a lot of blah days in the past month or so. But I am feeling pretty lucky, because my sweet mind was just reminding me about the non-blah, and at times spectacular moments I have had the past few weeks.

I realize that I had plenty to talk about, but no pictures to go with it, because the camera battery died and then we realized that we left the charger in Idaho......only to discover that Ken's Brother and his family had gone on Vacation for a week......and so we had no way to take or show pictures of our lives.

so here is a synopsis of the happy things I have been thinking of...

1- We went to Bear Lake. It was a quick trip, Thursday to Saturday. I was a little worried because it was our first time using our Worldmark Vacation Club Membership. I had been to Bear Lake Timeshare Condos before and I wasn't too impressed. I wanted to have a wonderful time, to stay in a beautiful condo, basically I wanted proof that the investment we made a few years ago was worth it. AND IT WAS! WOW! I wish, wish, WISH I had pictures. When we checked in they gave us a map of the complex and circled the condo we would be staying in and I was sure that we had a beautiful view of a hill......until we walked in and found a two story condo with a great view of the beautiful blue lake. I almost cried, seriously, it was so much better than I expected. I am seriously excited for our next trip in October, when we are going to spend 6 days in St George. Having a place that feels like home away from home- and even better, it's clean!- is the perfect start to a relaxing getaway.

2- Being the Primary Chorister has been so much fun this month. The song we learned this month was only 1 verse long- "Seek the Lord Early", and it only took Senior Primary one week to learn it, which means we got to Review and Play the rest of the month. We played with the Giant Dice tha I made for Ken to use on Mother's Day when he subbed for me. And this last week I discovered that I was suffering from "Super Star Fever" a very contagious disease. The Kids were more than happy to help me, (the only cure to super star fever is to sing, sing, sing) even though this meant that they were going to end up covered in foil star stickers, just like me.

3- We got to see lots of friends this month, Parties and Plays brought us all together. It is fun to get back in touch with people we wish we could see more often. Facebook is pretty good for this purpose, I don't get to see them, but at least I get to talk to them. Speaking of which, growing up, in Junior High and High School my Best Friend was Angie Ross, her Family moved from San Diego in 1993 and then we moved in 1994, we lost touch completely in 1998, but thanks to Facebook, and her Sister Adrian, I have gotten back in touch with Angie, this made me so so so

4. Ken, he is so patient with me, when I feel blah, I don't feel like doing much, which means that sometimes the dishes don't get done, and dinner shows up a little late, and the front room is pretty much always a mess. But he never ever ever complains, and really praises me way to much when I do actually get things done. Praise is good for me, it makes me want to do more, to do more even better than before. He has also put up with me and my "We must, we must, we must get pregnant" attitude. Thanks Ken.

5. Finally there is this little guy. He is growing up, I am pretty sure he is teething because he gets really cranky sometimes which is quite unusual for him, but he also is growing even more attached to me. He has called me Mama a few times recently, and that alone melts my heart, but on top of that he has a desire to just be near me. If I am reading
or on the computer he will come play near me. He wants to read with me and he will bring me book after book after book. He has recently discovered the large pantry cupboard and he will often bring me pieces of Tupperware or corning ware, he is always so proud to present me with his discoveries. Today he brought me the large Tupperware thatsabowl and its lid, I was proud that he knew the two went together. And then I realized that this is the same bowl I joked about using as his Toboggan last winter.

Here is what he looked like back then....
And this is what he looks like now
I can not even remember why I have felt the blah's, but I am pretty happy to remember these good times.