Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's the good stuff...

Daisy at the soccer game... playing with the shadow!
1.  Snuggling with miss Daisy Duke is fabulous... it's like she's teaching me to slow down a few times a day and just be at peace.

2.  Watching my kids do well in their soccer games, but more importantly watching them take leadership roles.

3.  Buying and putting together a new desk for myself.

Phinneous has become a great leader on his team.
4.  Working as a supervisor for student teachers -- I LOVE IT!

5.  The changing of the season.

6.  Missing my husband, but appreciating all that he does.

7.  Planning a baby shower for my little sister.

A homemade breakfast for Joe!

8.  Laundry -- trying to hard to love it... I do love my new homemade laundry soap.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Frugal -- Cheap -- You decide

So, I'm always looking for ways to cut my big costs down.  As my kids get older and eat more and their acitvities cost more, I'm looking for ways to cut out excess but still provide a wonderful life.  Here are a few ideas that I've tried lately!

Shopping... One of my big methods is to stay out of the stores!  The longer I can wait, the better I do.  I've attached a magnetic pad of paper to my refrigerator and I'm training everyone in the house to write down what we need.  Then, when I do head into a store I can choose to pick up the items if they are a great price, or I can choose to wait for another time.

Cash... I'm also trying to use more cash when shopping... it makes me more accountable to my budget.

In the kitchen... with the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm right now, I don't want anything to go to waste.  We have some wonderful tomatoes that were beginning to go bad.  Instead of letting them continue to rot, my friend told me about freezer pasta sauce.  I gave it a try... it is so easy!  {Olive oil and garlic in a pan, huge chunks of tomatoes, seasoning and let cook down for about an hour and a half. When finished puree and freeze.} I've made several batches and even purchased more tomatoes so that we will benefit from our homemade sauce for several months.

I also picked blackberries at my sisters house {for free!}  I brought home a huge bowl and got to work making jelly.  My husband kids are not fans of seeds, so I spent time straining the seeds from the blackberries, but it wasn't too much work and they will all be happy.  The kids even helped with a few batches which gave them pride and satisfaction of making something for our family.

{With my thought of being frugal I also want to provide healthy meals for my family... I don't know that my tomato sauce adventure is really frugal... I'm sure I could find sauce with coupons and on sale for much cheaper, however, my sauce is full of other "stuff"... however, I may have thrown in some eggplant and such :)}

How cute is Phinneous!??!?!

My supplies
Finished product
Laundry... I do massive amounts of laundry! I've seen recipes for making laundry soap and decided to give it a try.  I made the liquid soap with the kids... we had a great time and it didn't take too long.  I started using it yesterday and I must say it smells good and our clothes look clean, so I must declare it's working.  I'm keeping track of the number of loads of wash I'm able to do.  The supplies cost me about $6 and I'm told it should do 576 loads of laundry... so cool!!!

What ideas do you have?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And we're only half way through the month!

Joe's birthday flowers -- We had a Mexican food theme "party"

Joe's sushi lunch.

A new nephew... so sweet.

Got to watch our favorite volleyball player!

Baby girl's birthday.

Tent camping in the backyard.


This is what can happen with "helpers" in the kitchen.  Not a big deal... we learned to be more patient, take our time, clean up our messes and try again.  I think it was a good lesson for everyone involved. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Camping Birthday

Here are the pictures from Baby Girl's 8th Camping Birthday.

It was simple. I'm happy with what we did.  I have found ways to improve (such a teacher... always).

However, my baby girl was HAPPY!

Cake pops shaped like marshmallows... lantern from Target (it's solar and is awesome at night in her bedroom).

Cupcakes (digital fun added)

Baby Girl helping.

The table... fruit kabobs, cake pops, cupcakes, create your own trail-mix -- FUN!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

And... it's another birthday!

Mt. Hood... playing in lots of snow!

Goofy Girl
Found an Anaconda exhibit at Newport Aquarium... she was so excited as she wrote a report on Anaconda's in first grade.

Running down the dunes in Newport!  She was nervous to jump.
Found a crab claw in Seaside.
This girl likes her whip cream!
A diva in Maui!
Happy Birthday to our sweet Baby Girl... she turned 8!  I can't believe how the time has flown by.  She is creative, artistic, caring, stubborn, independent, courageous, helpful and almost always smiling.  What a joy you've brought to our lives!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Birthday Boy

It's time to celebrate Joe... it's his birthday!  As much as he doesn't need or want a bunch of attention, it's still his special day!

Tonight we will celebrate with a Mexican fiesta with some friends and the kids.  It should be a nice evening... just the way he likes it. 

I've watched him over the last year go through many ups (Maui, work success, kid success, etc. and downs (the death of his mother, work stress, kid stress, etc)... you know the routine.  But through all of it, he somehow manages to keep it all together.

Wishing you a very happy birthday... I love you!

First night in Maui

Wipeout in Kaanapali

Snorkel cruise

Hang loose

In front of Papkea -- out resort.