Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some songs for Women...

I ran into these videos today by Hillary Weeks... and got a good little laugh...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week 3 of "No Spend Month" is now over...
and it was kind of hard...
Not gonna lie...

I can't tell you how many temptations we had this week!
How many sales I saw!
And how many more Door-to-Door Sales Guys came! :)
It also felt really good to be able to tell myself "No" at Wal-mart- haha.

So the rundown:
$48.22 on groceries
It was really hard to plop down that much cash, seeing how I only had a little left in the envelope. But I had to get Deodorant, Pull-ups, Panties for Allison (Yay! She's already starting to potty-train on her own!) and those add up fast. Also some food for meals.
$12.00 on Cheese from Costco
I was making some freezer meals and I figured it would save me in the long run to just buy in bulk, so I had a friend pick me up some.
$30.00 in gas for Jeff's car
Total: $ 90.22

More than week 1 &2 together!!

So my total for the last 3 weeks is: $177.27
Which is still pretty good I guess. :)

It's been a good week for the most part. I haven't really left home that much this month, besides for a trip to St. George to help my friend with a photo shoot at a wedding. So we've been finding a lot of things to do here! New imagination games to play, older toys are suddenly so much more attractive, and Jeff and I have been having our "dates" with Netflix downstairs. And my house (besides the last few days...) has been overall pretty clean! Projects I have wanted to do, but never found the time for- are now climbing up the importance scale. I really like that. Instead of buying MORE craft stuff, I'm using the stuff I have...
We've also had more play dates with friends. Dallin goes to pre-school twice a week, but a few of us also decided to do a little "Mom's preschool" once a week... or when we feel like it. :) We try to read a story, do a project, and have a snack. I did two this month at my house. Halloween is always a fun time to do projects!

The first time, or Theme was "Silly Monsters".
We read the book "There's a Monster at the end of this Book" with Grover: m

Then we made little monster puppets and read this story about Monster Pudding.

So, we of course had "Monster Pudding" for our snack! I never knew Vanilla pudding with sprinkles would be such a huge hit!

Then, before everyone's parents came, we made our own little monsters by putting a blob of paint on a paper, and blowing it with a straw. Then we added as many eyes as we wanted. It was fun to see all the different shapes!

This week, the theme was "Halloween Ghosts".
I couldn't find my book last minute, so we just ended up reading the project for the story. There's a story about a silly little ghost that went the fridge and ate things that turned him different colors. I traced a ghost on a transparency paper and stapled it onto a white paper to make a little pocket. Then cut different colors of paper to put in the pocket each time he "ate" something.

The kids loved making faces and naming their ghosts.

We also made handprint ghosts with white paint and black paper:

And for a snack, they made Ghost Chow! (Popcorn and Ghost shaped marshmallows) They ate some there, and made some to take home for later


ANYWAY! One more week of "No Spend Month!" :)
It's been quite an interesting month, but DEFINITELY a good one! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 2 of "No Spend Month"!

We made it through Week 2!
This week was a little more because of gas and different things, but here's the rundown:
$16.76- on cheese and a few dinner ingredients
$4.86- on foil (I ran out last minute!)
$4.54- on fish food (I guess they need to eat too...)
$10.00- on 5 loaves of Bread from Bountiful Baskets. *(see below)
$31.79- tank of gas for Jeff's car- He commutes to Kanab.
$0.99- for 50 pictures printed *(see below)

Considering all things, I thought we still did really well this week.
And just for a running total, for two weeks this month is: $87.05! :)

I still can't tell you enough how much planning my meals has helped us. I have so much stuff here that I can use! :) Making meals and helpers beforehand to freeze is also a lifesaver! One of the easiest things to do is when you're making a meal, just up the ingredients a tad and make enough to eat that night, and to freeze for later. I made a batch of Taco Soup for Taco Tuesday this week, and just one batch made enough for three meals plus lunches for Jeff. So after dinner, I let it cool and separated the rest into two big bags for later meals. Totally easy. And while I was at it with browning the meal for the soup, I went ahead and browned another 1 1/2 lbs, and separated it in freezer bags for spaghetti. I found this website called that has lots of great recipes just for the freezer. I can't wait to try this one out for Pizza! I would love to hear any ideas that you do to cut down time at dinner time! Any tried and true freezer meals? Or any tips for saving money?

SOOO many temptations came up this week! It's amazing to see what I WOULD have spent if I didn't have this goal. Also- It made for a GREAT excuse when the Kirby salesman wouldn't leave- haha. I'm excited for Week 3... Jeff thinks that the month is going by really slow, but I just think of it in Meals, and it doesn't seem as long. :) It really has been a great thing!

And I'm excited for all of you that are doing it with me!! :) How are you doing?? It's been great to have the comments and support too! So THANK YOU! :)

Here we Go- on to WEEK 3!

So- on a different note-
Now too explain a few subjects above-

*A little about Bountiful Baskets: It's a great co-op organization where you purchase a "basket" of fruit and veggies for $15.00. It's 6 different fruits and 6 different veggies every week. You can order your basket on Monday night at 8:00 (Utah time) or all day Tuesday. A few areas have a little bit of a different order time- so just check the site periodically Monday night-Wednesday. You can go pick up your basket on Saturday Morning (the site will tell you what time), or go volunteer and help divide all of the produce! It's a lot of fun and a great way to get to know people in your community. I run the site with Autumn here in Orderville, so I get a free basket! A great incentive to start a site guys! :) There are always GREAT extras you can add on to your order- like the bread for example. There are also other things like tortillas, other kinds of bread, granola, treats, and cases of fruit and veggies to use for bottling or whatever. Check to see if it's in your area! It's a super co-op and is spreading everywhere!

A sample of what you would get when you order! It's different every time. :) And with crops winding down soon- This is so nice in the winter!

*And the printing I did? I got a deal for 50 prints for free with .99 shipping at I couldn't pass it up. :) As a new member- after signing up for free- you receive 1,200 free photo credits and 3 8"x8" photo books! With the 1,200 free photo credits, you get to print 100 4x6's or 50 5x7's a month for a whole year- for free! It's awesome. And once you sign up, they send you a lot of coupon codes for other great deals! It has tons of options for printing besides pictures and photo books. It's perfect for Christmas gifts coming up! You can use your free print credits for Christmas cards too! Anyway- If you sign up, sign up under the link above... and I get some free credits too!! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 1 Rundown of "No Spend Month"

We made it through our first week of "No Spend Month"!
And I can't tell you how much of a difference this has made in our lives already!

This week, after paying our bills and tithing, we spent:
It was spent on Food for us, Food for a neighbor who just had a baby, and a bar of Fels Naptha Soap- to make my own Laundry soap.

So this "Saving Money Thing"?
It's sort of fun...
It's really fun...

I'm all of a sudden a great meal planner!
I started planning my meals better a few weeks ago like this:

Most of these items, I had in my freezer and/or made from scratch...
Like BREAD (Which I'm totally afraid of- but I did it!)
and look- not one meal repeated for three weeks straight (Besides Taco Tuesday)!
This is seriously empowering! :)
I'm all of a sudden really good at saying no to that little voice inside my head that wants to get extras at the grocery store! Under the menu for the week, I write down what I need at the store for that week of meals and into the next. And then, I've been trying to make ONE trip to the store for the whole week. And it's really helped to have cash- I can only get so much. (That debit card is so tricky...)
I'm all of sudden recognizing that I have enough stuff as it is... and I don't always have to go to the thrift store or the next yard sale! I will survive... There will always be other sales.
I'm all of a sudden realizing that there are SOO many other ways Jeff and I were missing the boat with saving money. The day we started this no spend month idea, we got a letter in the mail letting us know that interest rates were down for our particular loan. We are now refinancing on our home, which will consequently help us a TON money wise with paying for Jeff's Masters classes, which will help us not get a loan for them AND we'll be able to pay off our house sooner. We also realized other ways to save on some of our bills and shopping.
And I'm all of a sudden figuring out how many fun, free things I've been missing out on with my family around our town. Jeff had a great idea to go on a little drive after school on Friday and maybe have a cookout or something. I had hot-dogs and buns in the freezer, and s'more stuff in the cupboard, so the idea worked out great! We ended up by Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain and had SUCH a fun time with our little kids. It was beautiful with the changing leaves, a huge family of around 50 deer grazing about 20 yards from us, and a glowing fire. Even the layer of dirt my children acquired was beautiful- in it's own way.

You know... I really wondered how this challenge would go. Would I be all "gun-ho" at first? And then when it came down to it... just cave? I've realized that I really am in it for the long haul. I've actually really enjoyed saving all this money (Whoda thunk?). And Jeff and I have already realized how much we spend that we really don't need to... I think we're going to be a lot more careful for now on. :)
Wish me luck on week 2! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Today is a new day. It's PAYDAY!
But... this month, money won't be spent the same way as usual...

I have this blogging friend... (Hi Jennifer!). I only know Jennifer through blogging. I've never met her in real life before. But I just adore her! haha! She's so hysterical with her writing, and I love getting a pick-me-up with a good laugh from reading some of her posts. She's a Wiz with a sewing machine, a great hands-on mom who does tons of little projects with her kids, and is totally REAL and down-to-earth.

A few years ago, she was inspired by another great blog: Small Notebook, to live a concept entitled:
(Which technically speaking is LOW Spend Month... But- you get the idea...)

So folks... I've been inspired as well...
October is our official "No Spend Month".

The Basic Idea?
I recommend clicking on the link or links above to get more details, but basically, you give your family a set amount of money in cash to spend on gas, food, entertainment, and any other basic necessities (diapers, TP, etc...) for the whole month. (This doesn't include bills, tithing, mortgage, medical expenses, etc...) Our money to spend this month is $250.

I know this isn't going to be easy, but I'm really excited for the challenge. I spend WAY to much time searching craigslist, going to the thrift store, and walking up and down the Dollar Spot at Target, searching out food sales- just trying to find a good deal! And all the while, spending money I don't really NEED to be spending.

In order to up our savings for things we really need (like SCHOOL!) we need an extra boost. And if all goes as planned, I'll be able to put a lot more away than I usually do! Which will be great!

I also need to learn how to plan ahead better with my meals. I always get so stressed at that "dinner time rush" time trying to figure out what we're having, and I'll quite frequently make a run to the store to get a few things (which turns into a lot of things once I'm there) to make dinner.

I've been planning out what we are having every day for the week ahead, and then writing down everything I need in advance at the store in order to cut my shopping trips down to one time a week. We are very blessed to have so much food in our freezer, and things in my cupboard that I don't really think about using all the time, and this has kind of forced me to be out of my comfort zone and come up with other things to make! Living in Orderville also makes the temptation of eating out a little less, since there are only two little sit down restaurants here in town. Also- actually cooking a meal everynight, instead of running to get something fast, will help with the lunch bill as well. Jeff loves taking leftovers for lunch the next day. I cook mostly every night anyway, but there are lots of meals that I don't have to run to the store for every time.

This month will be filled with fun, creative, and mostly FREE dates, family time, and projects to keep us busy. We'll finish half-done projects around home instead of buying stuff for a new one. We'll try new kinds of food.
We'll live more simple.
And I think it will be really good... :)

In order to make myself a little more accountable, I'm going to blog at the end of each week to show what I have spent, and give a round-about on what the money went for. Then, we'll see if everything adds up at the end of the month! :) I have a few friends that are joining me this month and we're all helping each other- being a support for each other! Anybody else want to join?? Let me know! I'd love too see how everyone saves a little extra for school, pay off loans, Christmas, a fun vay-cay... WHATEVER! And I'd also love to see the creative things people come up with for fun and food!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photosavy friends...

I went to high school with Kellie (Neighbor) Stilson.
And now she's all grown up with 3 ADORABLE girls and is an awesome crafty chick and GREAT photographer...
She's having a give-a-way for a photography session!
Check it out.


One of my best friends,
Ann Hepworth
has photographed both of my kids since there were just a few days old...
All the pictures on the side...
Well SHE took them! :)
She's has an amazing eye for photography, is a "horse whisperer" at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and is just a HOOT! :)
Check out her BLOG,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

He's a what? He's a Music Man!

So this summer was a little different than usual around here...

I decided to try out for the Community Summer Musical that happens every other summer. Two years ago I was pregnant, and the year before that I made a lead part, but wasn't going to be here for the performance. So I figured this was my year! I had to run with it! Jeff started his Masters this summer as well, so I knew it take a little bit work with schedules, but I really wanted to do it, and Jeff gave me his full support. I feel so lucky to have a husband who loves me and lets me soar when it comes to things like this...

This year's Musical was "The Music Man". With everything going on and my kids, I didn't feel like I was up to a huge part. So after calling me and talking to me about what I could do- it worked out perfectly when they asked me to play the part of Zaneeta Shin- The Mayor's daughter (The "Eee Gads" girl!), and one of the main "teenage" dancers. I woke up at 4:45-5:00 almost every morning to leave my house at 5:30 for 6am practice over in Kanab. I'm not really a morning person, so that was the hardest part. I drove over a bunch of kids from the Valley so that really kept me motivated to not fall back asleep! :) The great part about having it so early was that I was usually home before the kids woke up, or right after. There was a few evening dance rehearsals, but for the most part- it worked out pretty well.

I can't even tell you how good it felt to be up on stage again! I just love it there! :) There's a certain rush you get under those stage lights that is hard to explain. I had so much fun with my part! I loved being able to dance again and was in all of the dancing scenes. It was great. The only awkward part of course was dancing with someone other than my husband... But Jeff was a great sport- since my partner was a "Pre-Mish" kid. :) He actually left on his LDS mission four days after the play ended! I also loved getting to know so much more of the community from Kanab and Fredonia! There are so many great people and personalities everywhere you go! :) I don't have any pictures from the actual play (The cast on stage) back yet from the directors, but here's some of the great people who worked hard all summer!

Linda Alderman has been the director for years and years and definitely knows what she's doing! :) She's awesome!

The Assistant Director, Mariah Wheeler, is Linda's daughter. I couldn't believe all she had on her plate with this! :) She had a brand new baby when we started rehearsals and two other cute girls at home. She is super talented too and I really wish I had her range of voice! :) I just love her.

Getting ready backstage! :)

Me and the other "Zaneeta Groupies"- Katie (18) and Hannah (12). There were so many girls in the cast that we actually decided to do a triple casting. It's always hard to do double or triple casting, but I was so grateful to get to know these cute girls! We thought it was funny that there was a 12 year range of age between all of us! :)

Me with "The Music Man"- Doug Jacobs... Who is actually the Principal at Kanab High School and Kanab Middle School! He's such a hoot!

Maaaaaarrrrrrrrriiiian.... The Libarian.
Barbara works out at Best Friends and is so sweet!

Me and my "Pre-Mish" Partner- Jon Black, who played Tommy Djilas- the town Hoodlum I hook up with. He was great to dance with. He's actually over a foot taller than me, so I definitely got high up there with some of those lifts! Jeff thankfully coached him on a few things so he didn't drop me! :) Good luck out there in the field Elder Black!

The Del Sarta Ladies. These women were just hysterical! I loved seeing them ON and OFF stage together! SOOO funny!

Marcellus Washburn (Andrew Corry) and Ethel Toffelmier (Carol)-the Player Piano Player. (We actually had a real player piano! It was fun to actually see one play! I never had before!)

Me and Kelly Lamb- who played Charlie Cowell. This guy (Who is actually a year younger than me- but NOBODY guesses that!) has perfect comedic timing and is SO brilliant up on stage... He's a great friend... You just never know what to expect from him... Hence the look on my face- I was a little scared... haha...

My Mom, Darrell, and my great-grandma came to watch! It was fun to have them there. I wasn't able to get a picture after though because they had to get on the road before I done shaking hand with people. But thank you thank you for coming all of this way to watch! I also had many great friends who were a big support the whole summer as well! Thank you for coming too! It was so fun to have family and friends in the Audience.

The biggest beyond biggest "THANK YOU" to my husband. I love him so much! I could never have done this without him and his support. There were a few rough days that final week when I was gone with performances where I think he had enough of playing Mr. Mom... I really am thankful for his sacrifice, especially during the beginning of his Master's Classes. Thank you for letting me enjoy those bright lights again!
This was an experience I'll never forget.

Now, I'm DEFINITELY glad to be home with my cute family!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

A little while back was my Dad's birthday... (and I promised I wouldn't mention age...) :) Our family, My sister Kellie, Garrett, and Connor, and my brother Scott decided that for part of his birthday, we would all travel down to Vegas and spend some time with him! It's been about two years since we all went down to his house together, so it was definitely time!

Kellie made and AWESOME dinner of "Chicken Chelupes" (A family fav!), and we had cake for my dad. Unfortunately, my dad had to work that night. He's a VERY talented Architect by day {Think- the Paris Hotel! Ya... He did that!! :)}, and a DJ by night. So the guys took off and saw a Movie, and Kellie and I put the kids to bed and hung out with the dogs... haha... Then the next morning we woke up and I made Crepes for breakfast. (I think I ate ten!)

Allison by the dog cage- I thought she looked so cute here! :)

*So... This is a total side note, but I love to have my closet arranged by color and by short sleeve and long sleeve. When I walked into my Dad's room, I was reminded where I get it from...
This is PART of his closet, but it was all organized by type and color. His shampoos and things are the same way. :) I LOVE it!! He's SOOO organized!

He also has amazing style for being a Bach! His house is decorated so nice!

ANYWAY. A lot of times when we go to Vegas with my Dad, we end up going out to eat and shopping. Which is fun! BUT... We really wanted to do something different. So my super cool friend Bridget gave me some great ideas to do while we were there! She lived there a few years ago and has the area down pretty well! :).
So we ended up going to the Lied Discovery Children's Museum. If you live in the area and haven't been, I strongly suggest you do! We could have spent all day in there! And it was pretty cheap! It had so many fun things for kids, AND parents! :) I loved being able to go to a place in Vegas that was TOTALLY kid friendly, and let my dad have a chance to play with the kids.

There was this great little pretend town in the very beginning. I would have stayed and played myself if I had the chance! haha... There were pretend stores, a bank to get money, just lots of fun things.

There was a grocery store where the kids were handed money and they could shop for certain items, and then either buy them, or pretend to be the cashier:

There was also a little mechanic shop that both of the kids loved. They could change parts under the car, and change tires, and fill up fluids and tighten bolts. Dallin pretended to be his buddy Bruce the whole time. :)

There were all different stations all over the two story building. One of the favorite was the bubble and water station. The guys had fun trying to see who could make the biggest bubble. I took this picture right after Jeff's popped!

There was also this bubble wall thing that Dallin loved. The bubbles would get ginormous!

There was a "Hurricane Simulator" there too! Holy Cow! You would stand inside and the "winds" would get to over 80 mph!
My brother and Dallin both looked so funny in there!

This is NOT the most attractive picture of me...
But it just shows how intense it was! haha!

Allison had a fun time too! Her favorites were being able to dance on the little stage, and sing a song at the "Radio Station" with Dallin. She's such a performer! :)

Her other favorite was this huge ball contraption where you could put the ball in a whole in the bottom and it would suck it up to the different parts of the "maze". She got a kick out of it! :)

It was fun being able to watch my Dad with the kids. He doesn't get the opportunity to spend this kind of time with them that often! Dallin is TOTALLY into bones right now and loved it when my dad was explaining how they work to him.

And of course- it's ALWAYS fun when we get to hang out with Kellie, Garrett and Connor!
Garrett played Soccer with Dallin on the green screen...

And Kellie and I laughed at Connor and Allison having a BALL running from light to light with this food game on the floor.

We also went out to eat at this cute little pub afterwards and stuffed our bellies with wonderful food.
We had a GREAT time with my Dad, and I think we will definitely be making some new traditions when we go to Vegas! :) No more "Just shopping and Eating" trips! There are so many fun things to do there! We should really take advantage!
I Love you Dad!
You're a wonderful, talented, super fun Dad and I miss you! I wish we could see each other more often! I really didn't want to leave... :( The kids also had a lot of fun with you too. Dallin talked about being with Grandpa Alan for days!
Hope you had a wonderful time on your birthday!
We sure did... :)