Thursday, September 30, 2010

NO SPEND MONTH!

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:
"NO SPEND MONTH"
(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!

GOOD LUCK!

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.



~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

ALSO...
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...
HERE------>
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,
and WEBSITE!




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!

Obviously...
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... :)

Pioneer Day...

Here in Utah, the 24th of July is a big deal!
Brigham Young and many pioneers came into Utah on July 24, 1847,
and declared, "This is the Place"...

And on the 24th, Utah is definitely the place to be!

This year, I was in charge of the 24th's festivities here in Orderville. It was kind of a big job and there were many activities throughout the day. But it was a lot of fun!

First- The parade.
Thankfully- I had a lot of help with the Primary for this one.
We had a great turnout!
Jeff took Dallin and Allison and made a float to
represent his calling- Ward Mission Leader.
(This just tells you how much Dallin wanted his picture taken...)

I also had a float with my fellow "Music Man" Cast members...
(More on that later...)
I can't tell you how many people commented about my heels after the parade... They really aren't THAT bad to walk in... :)


Next, I planned a program down at the Church house. Our good friend, Bruce Rose, did it again and made an awesome poem!! I tried to get the video to upload. It's hilarious! But for some reason it wouldn't work. So here is text version of the Poem he wrote:

"With Brigham in charge the church headed west
Six days they would travel, the seventh they'd rest
From a peep out his wagon Brig said "It's the place"
His driver responded with a smirk on his face

"Sir please look again, I'm sure this won't do
This place ain't got nothin' compared to Nauvoo
I can tell by the looks of that lake that it's salty
And the gaps in them hills indicate that they're faulty

I'll bet the winter's real cold, the summer like Haiti
I suggest we don't exit, let's stay on I-80."

Brig told him "Cheer up! Don't be such a spazz
In no time at all, we'll have things like the Jazz!
We'll build a big temple with a visitor's center
With sliding glass doors for the Gentiles to enter

"We'll have a few trials we'll have to endure
Like big, pesky crickets, and a government war
Cuz the feds will get ticked and they will despise
That Ol' Brutha Brigham has 56 wives

"We'll start BYX to carry the mail
We'll pack temple stones into town via rail
Self sufficient and able, we'll share all our stuff
And make for sure everyone here has enough

"This place will be filled with fun things to do
Like Lagoon and Snowbird, and even a zoo!

"This place will be known for hard work and low crime
We'll stay out of trouble, but still have a good time
We'll have fine universities, I'll call mine BYU
But this football season I'll put fifty bucks on the "U"

Most important we'll make it a home that is happy
We can't have our people feel gloomy or crappy
"So we'll strive for what's right, all with one accord
Let's make this place bloom in the name of the Lord

Now driver, drive on! There's so much to do
There's none of this cool stuff back there in Nauvoo

"This place is now home, think of it as heaven
On the first Pioneer Day, 1847
This day will be special, and soon you'll see why
Each year when we celebrate the 24th of July."

-Bruce Rose

Jeff, and our friends Robert and Emily also put together a beautiful musical number. I kept getting interrupted by my little miss, so sorry it's shaky and cut off...
I LOVE my husband's voice though... :)
He makes my knees weak...
video

I also put together a slideshow to
Dave Tinney's, "Prayer of the Walking Child"...
I love this song and really wanted to share it.
video


Right after the program, there was a big party down at the park.
The Young Women put together a wonderful lunch for everyone. I also put together a bunch of pioneer activities for the children (and adults) to take part in:

There was a "Home-Made Ice-Cream" Station where we put the ice cream ingredients in a small bag, and ice and salt in a bigger bag around it. You squish it around for about 5 minutes, and then enjoy your ice-cream! It was a big hit!


There was also a "Rag Doll" Station. There were lots of little girls and some boys constantly around this table! It was really fun to see them carrying around their dolls all day!


A lot of the kids enjoyed making "Whirligigs".


We also had "Horse and Buggy" rides...


A "Stick-Pull" contest (Wow! Those men really got into it!!) :)...


And "Butter Making". A local family donated their cream from their cow and we "churned" it in babyfood jars. It was fun to see it happen before our eyes!

It took a while... :)


To end the day, we celebrated with a HUGE free dinner for everyone in town! We had an awesome spread of Roast Beef, Dutch Oven Potatoes, Salad, Watermelon, Homemade rolls, and 10,000 desserts to choose from! I loved watching everyone hanging out and enjoying each other while eating and listening to Blue Grass... It was awesome. I was too busy running around to take pictures, but I was SOOO glad the day turned out nice! :)

****************
I can't imagine being a Pioneer. Heavenly Father definitely knew that I couldn't handle it... that's why I'm here today instead of 150 years ago! But I'm grateful for all of their sacrifices and determination to put together a wonderful place for us to raise our family! :)