Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Bright Spot

Ok so the good news today is this:

I really wanted to go through and circle some of the ads, but I don't have a good photo program! ARGGHH The one at work is too basic, and the only one at home needs to be reinstalled.

But, I hope you can see my reason for excitement.

  1. Milk for $1.59
  2. 7 avocados for $1 (yum!)
  3. 68 cent whole chickens (this will really depend on where they are from. No offense to my Southern friends, but chicken that has been shipped from Arkansas to Washington does not qualify as fresh!)
  4. Mangos 3 for $1 (I hear Mango Salsa calling my name)
  5. Jalpenos 79 cents a pound (need these for the Mango Salsa!)
  6. Radishes and green onions 3 for $1

Ok I did want to get excited about the limes, but we just don't need them. I have 3 limes in the fridge right now. I will probably buy some Roast too. While it's not the best price I've seen, I haven't seen any good prices lately. Our freezer has no roasts in it at this time, which is a shame. One roast makes so many meals. One night will be roast with potatoes and veggies. Then it transforms into stroganoff, stew, BBQ beef sandwiches, taco filling... So many possibilities and I forgot one of the best: Roast beef sandwich with cheese, mayo and horseradish! I'll let you know how I fare, and share the Mango Salsa recipe later.

In Memory of Susan

Susan was an amazing woman whose strength and spirit held her through her battle with cancer. I was just getting to know her well when she was diagnosed. She always made me feel special, and was always bringing a smile to those around her. I'm praying for my friends as they grieve.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Missed Opportunity

We had a great weekend! Housework didn't get done quite as much as I had planned, but yard work was finished, and we enjoyed ourselves on Sunday. The kids and I stayed after church for potluck before heading home. We then all hopped into the truck (including Sampson) and Dana drove us up to Little Naches. We checked out the weather and the roads.

After having carried the camera around for several weeks, I took it out of my purse. Of course up in the Little Naches area I wished I had it. It was a warm 65 degrees up there. I was in a tank top and flip flops. Mo and Dana both had short sleeves. Yet, there was snow piled all around us! The campgrounds are all still closed, but we are looking forward to Memorial Day weekend.

On the way home we stopped by Jeff and Tam's. They were roasting hot dogs over their fire pit. We enjoyed visiting with them and Mo found a new friend. She is about his age and they were so cute playing together. I think Tam got some good photos, but I had really wished I had the camera.

Mo has learned so many new words and phrases. Just in the last few weeks he's said: Bible, river, I got it, honey, and show. There are so many more, and every day I look forward to hearing his new words.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Decisions

It's a quiet Saturday morning here. Kaia went to church with our neighbors today. She loves to spend time with them, and they invited her yesterday. I let her decide if she wanted to go to church with Grandpa Carl and Gramma Mikey, and she did. She did tell me later that maybe she was spending too much time at church this week! Between Mom's Devo, worship with the neighbors and worship at our church. I just laughed. But after taking her next door this morning I only made breakfast for 3, and now there is no arguing over what cartoon to watch.

Today is going to be beautiful! It is already 50 degrees out. My problem is that the house is a disaster! Due to the stomach bug, I didn't get the house cleaned after Mo's party. So I have quite a bit to do in here. We do have to go to the library and turn in the DVD's also. What I REALLY WANT to do is go play outside! I have a huge bag of potting soil and pots to fill. I have seeds to plant for the garden, and weeds to pull.

I think that I will spend the next hour or so cleaning inside. Maybe some speed cleaning? That way when Kaia gets home from church, we can plant outside together.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Our first family photo, ever. Of course we couldn't keep Mo's hand out of his mouth, or his tongue in it.

He did decide to take a cute shot with Sissy. One of the only shots where he wasn't trying to escape.

And the first portrait of husband and wife since our wedding day. We do have a few informal shots, but not many.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tonight's Groceries

Tonight was a trip to the store that was almost back to normal for me. I really wanted to pick up some milk, so we stopped by Wray's. It's a local store. By local I mean they have 3 locations, all right here in Yakima, Washington. That means that prices vary. Generally they have good to excellent produce prices, and meat markdowns can be great. They do have coupons because they are an Associated Grocer. So tonight's receipt looked like this:
1/2 gallon WF skim milk $1.49 (quick sale) =1.49
WF Frozen Pizza 3 @ .68 (coupon) =2.04
Banquet Frozen meals 4 @ $1 each =4.00
WF Saltine Crackers =2.19
2 bunches of radishes =.88
3 Cameo Apples =1.09
2 Bartlett Pears =1.56
Fresh Broccoli Crowns .73 lbs =.57
Kraft Spiderman Mac N cheese =.75 (damaged box and cheaper than WF)
1 doz cage free vegetarian fed eggs =1.99 (quicksale)
6 pack of 16 oz can light beer =4.59

Ok typing this I just realized that not only did they over charge me on the mac n cheese (it rang up at $1.49) but also one of the Banquet meals (it came up at 1.79)! Guess I'll be making a trip back there. When there is an error in my favor I let them know, so I do the same when it is in their favor.

I typically buy all our crackers (and cereal) at a dollar store. Unfortunately, Dana came down with the stomach bug hard last night, so I had to pick up crackers where I was. I don't usually buy all the frozen food either, but sometimes I make dinners where there isn't any leftovers. That means the next day I scrounge through the fridge and cupboard trying to find something to take to work for lunch. If I don't take food, or if I take something that I just can't bring myself to eat, well then I'm next door at the Thai restaurant spending $8 on the lunch buffet (YUM). This week I still need to go to Fiesta Foods for a 2 lb block of WF Cheddar for only $3.99. Too bad it's a limit of 1 per family.

Our meals are often humble. Tonight it was the mac n cheese (using leftover "buttery spread" from the KFC splurge while sick) with corn (frozen and purchased at $1 a pound) and a slice of leftover frozen ham. Kaia ate chicken she brought home from Grammy's while Mo and I had ham. (Dana had the crackers and some Powerade) There wasn't much color in that meal, but the kids prefer corn to peas. The fresh broccoli would have meant more cheese and I'd like to wait for Dana to feel better so we can enjoy the radishes.

I have some great stove top casserole recipes that can make a meal out of almost nothing. Also a few soups that are heart and require very little in the way of ingredients. I'll share those soon!


That's what the USDA says my family should expect to spend each month for healthy meals. That's the "Thrifty Plan" not the "Low-Cost" or "Moderate-Cost." If I spend almost $500 in one month on food, I think I'd have a heart attack! No really. We do go over our $250 a month food budget quite often, but not that much! I realize that this figure includes 3 meals a day plus all snacks and all are prepared at home, but still! I make Dana's lunches, and take leftovers for my own.

I guess that means we are on the "Super Thrifty Plan." I know we are not alone in our food budget. Maybe some of us should let the USDA know that they are a bit out of touch! I buy all our meat either discounted for quick sale, or at a really low price. I know what ground beef in our area should cost per pound on sale, so when it's right, I buy. I buy our milk discounted for quick sale (a pinch of salt helps keep the milk fresh longer) and with the $1.59 Fiesta Foods coupon which is about once a month. If I can't find either, we quite often go without milk for a few days to a week. The kids occasionally complain, but generally will be satisfied with something else to drink.

It's all about smart shopping, and I will tell you right now that I NEVER shop WalMart (to not mislead you, I did shop a few times over 3 years ago, but not since) and am still able to feed my family for $250-350 each month. I'd share with you a menu, but right now between me being out of town, the birthday party and the stomach bug this hasn't been a typical month. If you look at my recipes though, you will find some of my low-cost recipes (except Yaki-Niku).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sure Now He Uses It!

BigDumbDog had no idea that his doghouse would protect him from the snow, but apparently it is a good place to sleep now that the weather is on the mild side! Hopefully he'll remember to use it in the summer heat and next winter.

Happy Birthday Mo!

What could be better on your 2nd birthday than running around diaper free in your favorite Elmo towel? Even though we weren't well enough to do anything special for his birthday, he seemed to have a great time.

Monday, April 21, 2008


There is just so much that is icky around here lately. When I arrived home Wednesday night there was a note telling me that Kaia was throwing up. She was feeling better on Thursday, although not her full self. I watched Mo all day Friday while preparing the house for his party. He didn't come down with anything, and I felt that he had avoided the stomach bug this time around.

On Saturday we had Mo's party, and it was snowing outside! It's April for goodness sake! The party went well, but we knew there was something wrong when he passed on dinner. He'd been looking forward to hot dogs all week. He loved his gifts, and ate part of his cupcake. Almost everyone left and it was just our friends and their children. That's when the fun began. Mo had a complete diaper blowout. I needed a towel and assistance to get him changed. He went straight into the bath after that.

After Mo was dry and in jammies, we were continuing our visit. Dana was holding Mo when it all came out. Dana and I were completely coated as was the couch and floor. Bath number 2 for Mo, administered by Tam while Dana and I got changed. He went through another set of jammies that night, but after that seemed better.

Sunday morning he was up and bright eyed so we all went to church. I was hosting the baby shower. I had so much help with food, and my uncle helped cut the polka dots for me. There were paper lanterns and dots all over the tables. I was extra nervous about handwashing after the stomach bug at our house, and my hands are still extra dry from it.

The party was a success, but by the time I cleaned up, I knew I needed to hurry home. I'm thankful my aunt stayed to lock up, because I barely got home and got the kids and leftover food inside before I was running to the bathroom. Dana wasn't home and I was trying to keep the kids entertained with all the stomach bug fun. Grammy and Papa came and got the kids shortly after Dana got home and felt that he too was coming down with it.

We were both asleep early, and slept in this morning. I woke at 9 a.m. and had to call into work late. Then I went back to sleep until 11! It's still snowing out, although not a bit is sticking. A chilly welcome home from Vegas. Today is Mo's 2nd birthday, and I can't wait to give him a big snuggle.

Photos to come

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How True!

Got this from a friend, and had to laugh. When my kids are on a roll I remember why I have my tubes tied.


I went to Fiesta Foods today to pick up supplies for Mo's party and the Baby Shower. We've been feeling the budget crunch due to high prices on dairy. Eggs have remained low at Fiesta. Just $1.99 for a dozen, brown, Omega-3, no hormone/antibiotics eggs. I was in shock though when I picked up a jar of mayo! The Flavorite Mayo which I count on being $1.49 was $2.19! It's a good thing we've reduced our mayo use recently, but I'm going to be back to watching for sales.

The recent food prices have pretty much blown my price book out of the water! I don't have a physical price book, it's in my head. I know (well used to know) that I can pick up a case of soda for $3.99 around every 3 months and during holidays like Memorial Day weekend, Independence day. (Now if I can find soda for $5 a case I'm all over it!) Cheese was easy to find at $3.49 for a 2 pound block. Now $5 is about as good as it gets, unless Fiesta has a coupon. Even candy bars have taken a hit. I used to stock up at Grocery Outlet, 4 for a dollar. They are 3 for a dollar now. I forgot to check on the Flavorite light tuna. It's been 2 for 99 cents and the best price in town (also the best flavor). I wonder how long that will last?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

That's right I'm back. Flew in about an hour ago! I'm tired (although the whole travel stuff means I need to wind down a bit before sleeping), and my lungs and eyes are glad to be back in good old Washington State! The liberal Wet-Side has one thing right on... No smoking indoors! I admit to feeling that it was treading on the rights of smokers when the bill was first past. Now after being in Vegas for two separate trips, I'm glad to be in smoke free WA!

The past few mornings my travel companion and I have had a smoker's cough, due to all the cigarettes we've inhaled, and my eyes are in need of the allergy drops the doctor gave me every few hours!

I tried to check in, but the internet connection was PRICEY! So I made a quick stop by Arts, to see he was on a break, and then while waiting for Jen's page to load, the PC shut down on me! I was paying 69 cents a minute and lost the connection. So I hurried over to end my session, which the PC had already ended so not another minute could be charged.

I will try to catch up with all soon! It is my busy weekend though. A certain little man's 2nd birthday party and a baby shower. Sad to say the shower is more planned than the party, but I'm working on that.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Can I just say I was right?

When I said I would be a busy girl on Friday, I didn't realize just how busy that would be. I had errands to run on my lunch, but we also had to celebrate our co-workers birthday that is Sunday, so I essentially took 2 lunches. You know you are at work late when the cleaning crew asks that if the vacuum is too noisy to let them know, because they have never had someone still in the office when they were trying to clean. So I left about 7:10 p.m. I was one tired girl!

I wish I could share a ton of photos with you, but honestly I didn't get all that many. On top of that most of what I took needs to be edited because the photos were too dark.

It's a beautiful day today. 61 degrees already, and the sun is beating down. We played outside for a bit, but now it is time to get ready for the library and a birthday party. Oh and that little thing about packing. I will have a laptop this trip, so hopefully I can check in this week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Back In Yak

Yes, I did make it home safely, thanks for all the prayers! Last night was nothing short of... frustrating?... enraging? Well all of the above. And we weren't even flying American! Our flight out of Las Vegas had a number of issues that caused us to arrive in SeaTac 40 minutes late. By the time we disembarked the train and caught the underground tram to the concourse we needed... yep missed our connection! So that was the 6:20 p.m. flight. Next flight to Yakima? 11:20, except that it was already pushed back to 11:55, and then 12:14 a.m. Lovely! So we used our $8 meal vouchers (tell me where you can buy an airport dinner for $8?) and waited, and waited, and waited.

The good thing about flying into a very small city, is that we knew almost everyone waiting on the same plane. Yep, another Board Member was there, some of our leadership givers, and a gal that volunteered when I worked at Camp Fire USA. We did finally arrive home. The guys dropped me off (Dana and the kids were supposed to have picked me up, but not that late) and it was 1:20 a.m.

I got about 3 hours of sleep all night, since Mo was having a bad night and I didn't have the heart to let him cry it out. Today it's vertigo, and the medicine is not helping. So much for all the work on my desk. I will be one busy girl tomorrow! I'll post more on the trip later, the window guy is ready to start installing our new back door!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Still Alive

Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers (and compliments)! I'm well, but tired. And will post photos when I return!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I'll see you all soon! Thanks to my friends for lending me clothes, and helping buy shoes so I can feel like I have a new wardrobe. Thanks to my parents for some spending money (and June who offered). Thanks to June for watching the kids, and Dana for making sure Kaia gets up and dressed and to school on time (a MAJOR chore!). Thanks to God for the upper 70's and low 80's in Vegas! I will enjoy, and have plenty of photos on my return.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Happiness Is...

Taken back in 2004 when he won the cash bash at the drag strip

Walking in the door after work. The kids (ok really Kaia) are being obnoxious the whole drive home. Knowing I have a bunch of work in the house just to get my suitcase packed. Knowing that the house is a disaster and friends might come by tonight. Open the door and hubby has picked up all the stuff on the floors, put everything away and vacuumed! That is the best! Thanks sweetie!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Show & Tell: Home Away from Home

It's Show & Tell at Kelli's and I want to show you our home away from home.
I know my last post was about being "green" and here I am showing your our truck. It definitely is a gas hog, but not as bad as some. Plus it isn't a daily driver, except during the winter months. Behind it is our portable home. When we made the decision to purchase the trailer, we decided that we needed to use it at least 8-10 times a year to make it worth the expense. We did that just fine last year, and it has saved us a lot of money on hotels. This photo was taken on Sunday when we left the Yakima River Canyon.

Here is our kitchen and sofa. The sofa quite often becomes a coat rack and toy holder as you can see.
Here is Mo enjoying a game at the table, which is also the kids' bed come night time.

Here is Mo getting ready to wash his hands in our bathroom. He stands on the toilet to reach the sink. To the right is the shower/tub. Yes there really is a small tub, which comes in very handy when the kids get filthy!

Finally here is Dana's and my bedroom. Believe it or not, the trailer stays much cleaner than our other home. Also if you look on the ledge you will see my frugal find. That's a pink Liz Clairborne purse. Looked brand new. I picked it up for $4.99! I Love it! All Dana could say was, "You really like pink, don't you?" I had to laugh and ask where he had been the last 10 years.

Thanks for visiting. I am leaving for my conference in Vegas this weekend, so I may not be able to visit all of you right away, but I will when I return! Also, please visit my Global Warming post and tell me what you are doing to live "green." I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Global Warming: Myth or Reality?

First let me say this: I am not an expert or a scientist. Second: Hear me out. Don't read the first two paragraphs and assume that is all I have to say.

First of all I will tell you that Global Warming is a reality. There is no denying that our Earth has gone through cycles of warming and cooling trends. One of the first things I learned when I took Geology 101, was that fact. To be honest, I had no idea what in the world I'd be learning in the geology class, but quickly came to enjoy it, and actually did well considering I tend to struggle in science classes. My professor was adamant that yes, global warming was real, just as real as the ice age which left glacial deposits in Central Washington.

The real argument is: Are we as humans responsible for global warming? His answer, no. What do I believe? I believe that as humans we would love to think we are far more important in this world than we really are. We would like to believe that we know more than God, and we can do something to interrupt or destroy His plans. There is no doubt in my mind that He is in control, and no matter what we do on this earth, His plans will continue. So I don't think we are responsible for something that will be the earth's undoing.

That said, I fully believe that we are responsible for caring for this planet we are living on. The debate around global warming distracts from the real issue. We need to re-evaluate how we are caring for the world around us, not because we are bringing the end of the world upon ourselves, but as a matter of good stewards. We wouldn't trash our backyard, so why trash a park or forest land? (I have to admit that if you drive in certain areas around here, people do trash their backyards, but YOU, no, I know YOU would never do that)

I am amazed at how many people in our neighborhood put out two trash cans each week. This especially amazes me because most of the households immediately around ours are 2 person households. We have a 4 person household and only have 1 can. We currently recycle as much as possible. That is not to say we are perfect. I admit that sometimes a can or glass jar becomes so soiled that it would be a lot of work to prepare it for recycling and I toss it. Also we have purchased things in colored glass, and we don't have facilities that accept that here. And come birthdays and Christmas, there are always gifts that are so overpackaged to make it look good on store shelves. We end up with more than our one can after that.

To the horror of many, we do use disposable diapers, although not 100% of the time. I love the gDiapers and am not looking forward to the day I run out of those clearance priced bio-degradable liners! I also need large gPants for Mo, but at $16 a pair... yikes ((but they make a wonderful 2nd birthday present (wink, wink)). I am seriously considering moving him to cloth (with a liner for poopies) to help potty train him. He's almost ready.

While we are trying to do our part, there is always more to do. April is a great month not only because of Mo's birthday, but it also holds Arbor Day and Earth Day. So right now all over the web are tips to help you live greener. There are also wonderful activities for kids. I'm really working with Kaia on not using too much toilet paper and not playing with the water when she should be washing her hands.

My question for you is: What are you doing to live greener?

2 is coming...

Manly enough to ride a girlie bike
A rare photo of the dad...he kept ducking out of them
Hey is that Big Foot?

Here are a few more camping photos. Quite often Mo was out blazing a trail. He's becoming an independent little man. 2 years old is just days away (eek!) and that brings new drama to our life.

Mo actually had 2 time-outs last night! He's had them before, but these were full 2 minute time-outs where he cried and attempted to get out of it. Both times it was because when I have told him "no" as he picked something up, he threw it back down. For some items that may not be a problem, but when it's the digital camera and the coffee pot carafe... big problem. He did survive his time-outs, and took them fairly well.

Another update, Cinnamon is ok. I am still amazed at how much she will put up with from the kids. Kaia kept wrapping things around her neck, Mo likes to lay right on top of her to snuggle, and through it all Cinnamon is calm and patient. (a lesson maybe I should learn)