Sunday, June 21, 2015

Our Money Makeover

Part of me is really uncomfortable talking about this but it needs happen. My husband and I recently came to some realization about our goals and how the way we were living our life was going to keep us from ever actually realizing them. As members of the LDS church many of us have this and we hide it like it is going to make us outcast lepers if the truth is learned. And at General or Stake Conference when we are counseled to "GET OUT OF DEBT" we sit there like they are talking to someone else. I actually believe that many of us think they way I was at those moments "we're good, we're working on it" but saying we're working on it isn't going to fix it unless we are actively making changes in our lives.

We are in Debt!*

There it has been said. The second half of that is we now have an actually plan and resolve to put that plan into action. For anyone in the same boat we are- there is a plan and a path and you can join us on that journey.

Read more at my new blog: Arizona Girl Goes Thrifty

The short story for anyone who doesn't want to move their reading over to the long version on my new blog is- we decided it was time to make changes, we read Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money Makeover" in order to learn how and find that hope,  We are now working on our baby steps. It is going to take some time.

*I feel it is important that we are not so in debt that we have ever or would ever consider bankruptcy. We were just making bad assumptions about how to spend our money and bad choices that would keeping our goals forever just out of reach.

Just another week

Summer is out and it has been hot. We've been sitting around the 103 F around here. Normally we are 10-15 degrees F cooler than the Phoenix Valley (where I grew up), and this week was no exception, they were sitting around 115 F all week. So it is hot.

Tuesday was interesting. We had the LDS (because if any of you didn't know yet- yes we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka the Mormons) Sister Missionaries over for dinner. They were sweet but not the annoying sweet that made me dislike sister missionaries growing up and made me never want to be one (funny story I was a sister missionary, but I was a cool sister missionary who even to this day had a reputation that I was an elder hater, not because I actually hated the elders but because I wouldn't put up with anything from them-grow up). One was from eastern Washington and the other from north of Chicago. So after dinner, they leave to go to an appointment with a family they are teaching, and we put our children to bed- followed by I go grocery shopping (adventure in and of itself- we recently started a new budget). When I get home from the grocery store they are 4-5 vehicles parked on our street down by where the sister missionaries live (yes they live in a house owned by some members down the street from us). One, at least, was obviously shaped like a police car but no lights were on, I decided to turn into my drive way and not get in the way by going over and trying to snoop to find out what was going on. Later I learned from their neighbor, that it were police cars. There had been a scary dude hanging around the sisters' house looking into the windows, when confronted he kept trying to find out who lived at that house, and was seen back later that night. So the police were asked to drive by occasionally and then made a big deal of it when there was another reported siting of the creeper. Crazy. A story of this type would make more sense if we lived in some big city with lots of crime and people, but we don't. We live in the middle of almost no where. If those sisters' parents here about this please know they have neighbors who are looking out for them and have their back. We live in a very safe place.
On Wed. our power was out for about an hour. I feels like a funny story when you piece all the stories together. The power was out for a large part of the unincorporated county land we live in, and for a smaller area up in town. The story is that a semi was in an accident and when it rolled it caught a power line going over the street. They were able to get the power up in town on quickly but there were sections of county land that were without power for 2 1/2 hours. In addition there were a bunch of people who lost their Cox internet for a few hours. We didn't exactly loose internet (while the power was off there was no way to tell) but it did wig out a few times, were it would disconnect everything and be off for a few seconds. So that was all fun. I was fingertips away from saying we were going to have ice cream for dinner. darn it went back up before I could make that call.
Thursday I hit my mouth with a glass baking dish. I don't even remember why... but it hurt and later I realized I chipped my tooth. Not really noticeable or anything but it annoys me. I am going to call my dentist and see what he charges just to file it smooth.
So we just finished week 4 of summer. One more week down and we'll be half way to summer break being over and school starting. How are we surviving? With the free summer movies at the local theater, spending lots of time at the park (even in this heat), and eating lots of otter-pops. It is rough. I am just being up front here. My kids are crazy and get destructive when they don't have playmates. WE NEED PLAY DATES! It frusterates me to no end that all my kids want to do is watch TV (we don't even have any TV for DVDs).
So that is life. Father's day was nice. I made lasagna for my husband at his request. Hope ya'll had a great Father's Day too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy New Year

This is how we spent our new years eve.
I got new glasses for the new year.
I always feel guilty spending so much money on glasses but a friend once pointed out that "how much would you spend on a really nice full outfit from head to toe" When you think about it shoes+ shirt+ skirt/pants+ accessories = $100+ "So why not invest the same love into your eyes on something you wear everyday?" so wise. So now I remind myself of that and pay up for my favorite pair.

Who wears them best

 Law turned 9 months in January

The twins are now in Sunbeams 

Normal life for us is what others would call chaos
Happy New Year

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

the Twins first Haircuts

Grandma decided it was time for the girls to get their first haircuts.
She arranged (and paid) for the girls to get their hair done by Grandma's stylist.
They look so darling! And they are so proud of their new dos
Thanks Grandma

Our New Baby Boy

I just realized that I never actually posted on this blog when our son was born. He was born April 10th. It was a crazy slow-quick birth. For me it felt like it went on forever. But from the time the doctor broke my water to baby out was 4 1/2 hours. But that was my longest labor yet.

We went and were induced.
This is my one and only baby bump photo for this pregnancy.
We named him
Lawrence Howard
9 lbs even, ante 19.25 inches long
And oh my goodness he was born with RED hair!

All the kids are handling the new baby just fine.
They are all happy he is here
Law makes the cutest bug eye baby faces
He is now over a month old. Has grown more than 2 inches in that time and is 10 1/2 lbs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Updating our lives

I am been so busy trying to prepare my life for a new baby. For most people this means "nesting" for me it means that I have been spending a lot of my personal time trying to get my digital scrapbooking stuff ready for the next couple months.
So here is our life since the beginning of the year.
1. Al drew a picture in primary if you look closely you can see the baby he drew in my tummy.
2. Yes we are expecting. We are due in April.
We are having a boy.
3. On New Years Day we were able to go to the Fiesta Bowl. It was fun until our children were just done and we went home.
4. Al started preschool. He goes 5 days a week and loves it.
5. My Christmas present was to do to the Palm theater in Mesa. It is a dinner theater, and the play was "Fiddler on the Roof" Very much enjoyed it.
6. While Al is at preschool we have spend a lot of time at the park
7. We have been potty training again. The girls are doing really well. Not perfect but well. This pic of Nellie has her on the couch playing with the toy phone. Hope that isn't how my children see me.
8. boo I'm gestational diabetes again. Eating that way is a pain but doable. However, my doctor is again sending me to do once a week NSTs. GRR its just annoying. I'd rather be doing something else and staying away from the hospital. Dealing with the hospital is the bane of being pregnant for me.
And that is our lives in a nutshell.
Hope ya'll are doing well do.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our family Cruise

My husband and I love to cruise. We went on a cruise for our honeymoon and found out that we LOVE it. We then went on our second cruise when we'd been married 2 1/2 years and it was fantastic. Now we've been married for 5 years and we were itching for another cruise. After looking at our options we decided to go as a whole family this time and take our children. My friend Amber (from music camp, college, she's been my friend for a long time) and her family came with us.
After weighing our options of reviews verses price and on board options we decided to go with Carnival- it was by far the cheapest for 5 people, had rooms for 5 people, and take 2 year olds at the kids camp- no other cruise lines starts at 2 (EVERYONE else starts at 3, they may offer paid babysitting but not inclusive kids camp) and with two two year old girls that was a HUGE deal.
We had heard a lot of things about Carnival being the "booz cruise" and being how any cruise line in the Caribbean is the "party" destination. But we had also heard that it isn't as bad as the rumors say and we hoped we made the best choice considering all our needs.

We choose a 5 day cruise (that way if the children didn't handle it well it was shorter), out of Galveston, TX (because we could drive there and stay in budget), with two stops Cozumel and Progresso, Mexico (so we could see Chichen Itza).
We loved out shore excursions, Chichen Itza was awesome and in Cozumel we did a private island called Passion Island. It was awesome. We were a little concerned about the "all you can drink" alcohol but there was only one person who was obviously drunk when the shore excursion was over. The awesome part of Passion Island was the kids section. They had activities, and a play area and children supervisors that were great with the kids. We didn't fully leave our children there (although we could have) we sat up next to the play area were we could watch them play. Our daughters discovered water color painting and did that for over an hour.  
Our children LOVED it. They had so much fun. The loved their time at the kid's camp and would beg to go. 
Our steward had fun with our children's toys and kids loved seeing it and the fun animal towels.
So its a good thing our children enjoyed the kids camp because there was nothing else on ship for us to "safely" do with our children. If we weren't at the kids camp, we were in our room using the laptop to watch a movie.
Here comes the downer side of everything....
1. Carnival bills themselves as "family friendly" not just that they have a kids area but they advertise that everything is family friendly for the entire family.
FALSE it was such a drunken party all over the ship that we would avoid walking anywhere near the pool or the casino with our children. I didn't want to expose our children to that atmosphere. 
On top of that I didn't want to be in that atmosphere. We didn't go swimming once because we didn't want to be in that area.
Compare and Contrast- On our other two cruises we would go to the pool, participate in the different on board activities. Never once did I feel like the fact that I wasn't drinking anything but soda ever make me self continuous or even aware that I was the only one not drinking. Every activity focuses around alcohol.
In addition, even the shows said they were family friendly. We went to one of them that said was rated "PG for costumes". I would have given the costumes a PG-13 rating and the show as well. NO way would I have taken my children at any age to see it. After that we skipped the other shows.
2. Our room was a lot smaller than on the other ships we've been on. It ended up fine, but it was tight for 5. I think if we didn't have a balcony it would have been much more difficult. The TV channels were a joke. There was never anything to watch, especially for our children. And our room was two floors above the "broadway" shows theater and we could hear EVERY word and note through the whole show. Either the boat was not constructed with sound proofing or the show is way too loud, or both.
3. Besides a few super stand out employees the rest of the service was below par- way below. We love to do the "unlimited" soda. One thing we LOVED is they had Coke ZERO and Sprite ZERO as part of their soda options. If not for this options I wouldn't have done the unlimited soda. I am not a huge soda drinker- but when I do drink soda I only drink diet soda. I do not drink my calories (except for milk or juice in the morning for my breakfast). So here is the complaint. The soda was done in cans that they poured into cups with ice for you. It was never already cold soda, and often was flat because it doesn't take a whole can to fill the cup and the rest of the can would just sit out until someone asked for that soda again, then they would get what was left from the last can before they would open a new can. It created a lot of flat soda. Then there were the bar tenders where you had to get the soda. Besides the bar tender in the main lobby with the guest services desk, all the bar tenders acted like your were imposition them to have them get you a drink. Yes we aren't making any more money for them, but we did pay for it and that makes money for them.
Shout outs---- Regina in the dining hall was AWESOME!!! and so was Daniel the dining hall drink server!!!
4. The food was... okay. It wasn't anything amazing or even special. I really liked the hot chocolate in the buffet area that was inclusive, and the soft serve ice cream always available. And my favorite was the chocolate molten cake in the dinning hall. But when it comes to meals, nothing was so wonderful to brag about. And the same food was available at the dinning hall as were the at the buffet. 

Our biggest problem, was that we learned that the world's definition of "family friendly" is - 'there is a safe place to drop off your kids while you go get smashed'. 
It was a good cruise for us at that moment in our lives. Having to take the girls everywhere with us would have not worked and the girls had so much more fun at the kids camps. But we will probably NEVER do that particular cruise again.
Overall we did have a great family vacation. 
and everyone was happy to get home again.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Get out the Bugs- Reveiw

One of the ladies who was the chorister before me in this area always did this activity for the end of the year- program reviews. She had large plastic bugs she had bought at the dollar store and would either put them in a large garbage bag or would put them on the board and use the garbage bag like a sheet. I got back from visiting my sister late Saturday and was trying to think of something to do the next morning. I even debated running to Walmart (being the only place open) and seeing if I could find large plastic bugs. My husband assured me that construction paper laminated would work just as well. They did. I found bug silhouettes on the internet. Enlarged them and printed them as large as I could and traced the outline onto the construction paper and cut it out. I then laminated them so that I can write the titles of the songs. 
I grabbed a sheet to use to cover the bugs. Then the children have to search under the sheet to find a bug  (song). Since it was a sheet (and this came to me while I was standing in front of children), we were "getting the bugs out of our bed" because we don't want bugs in our bed.
The children were all about this. I had my Junior primary singing better than they have in months and singing songs that I wasn't even sure if they knew at all because they wouldn't sing it for be before. They were also so worried about the bugs still in the bed when our time was up. I promised them that we would finish getting the bugs out next week. I made a note of which songs were left (we got 4 of the 8 out). Senior primary were less enthusiastic about actually getting the bugs out. But they sang well to pass off the song, they all wanted to be picked to find a bug, and they enjoyed identifying the various types of bugs pulled out. The completed 6 of 8 songs.
I would call this one a success. If it works this well every time then no wonder my friend used this activity for her review EVERY year (and she was the chorister for 7 years in her ward). 

instructions: have enough bugs for each song. if you have more or smaller bugs make some of them specific verses of the songs.
Tell the children we are getting the bugs out of their songs so that the songs are Program ready. Warn them that if they don't sing the song well enough then the bug is going to go back into our bed and will have to be found again. I gave them singing the song twice through before I placed the bug back under the sheet. If it was *just* one verse they were having problems with I would give them the chance to redeem themselves by re-singing that one verse before the bug went back. 
I placed the bugs into my primary folder when they were passed off, but you could put them in a jar, a box, display them, or put them away.