Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wicked Awesome!

Here we were Friday night - Wicked in San Francisco! So very fun. We went with 8 of our closest friends.

And here we were on Saturday night - Park City Olympic Park.
And now we're home. Lots of traveling. I'm wiped. But it sure was fun. Thanks Mom and Dad for taking care of the kids!
*P.S. My intentionally annoying use of the word "wicked" is for all my east-coast friends. I sure hated it when I lived there but now I kinda miss it. I miss all those wicked cool people.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Feeling charitable? Do you love digital scrapbooking? There's a wonderful site out there for digiscrappers (GG Digital Designs); imagine my surprise when I saw their new kit this morning - it's called Angel of Mine and ALL the proceeds from the purchase of the kit go to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. What a wonderful, sweet idea! I am one who NEVER pays for kits (I get all mine for free) but this is one I will definitely be paying for. $9.99. The kit is huge!

The girl whose story is featured is someone I've recently gotten in touch with; she has almost the exact same story as I do - baby girl, 37 weeks, cord accident. I didn't know about NILMDTS at the time but she did and she has some wonderful pictures that I'm sure she'll cherish forever.

Check it out! (If anyone in my area wants to learn digiscrapping, I'm a very willing teacher!)

Monday, March 9, 2009


Have you ever had your heart disagree with your mind? What did you do? One such event will always come to my mind, especially given the recent events in my life.

13 months and one week ago I sat in church with my family. All of a sudden I had this strong feeling it was time to have another baby. I wasn't ready - at least I didn't think I was - and tried to dismiss it. I couldn't. A few weeks later I told Spencer that it was time. He agreed.

Exactly one year ago I found out I was pregnant. I was terrified at the beginning, sure that something would go wrong or that I would miscarry (maybe slight foresight?). I remember being excited to tell Spencer, though. I had purchased a baby onesie that said "Tax deduction" on the front of it, and was excited to give it to him. (Oh, the things that are "exciting" when you're married to a tax accountant...) When I pulled it out and gave it to him he said, "Oh, that's cute." Clueless!! I told him we were having a baby (right around his birthday) and then I burst into tears. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, so scared because I just felt uneasy. That scared feeling subsided as time went on. We even had a fetal heart echo done and everything looked wonderful.

I treasure that "feeling" I had, when I knew that there was another baby who needed to get her body and join our family. I had no similar experiences with my other two. I don't know if I'll ever have it again. It's been 4 1/2 months since our little girl became an angel. And the saying is right - time does heal. At first I was just SO SAD, and so frustrated that she had died just 12 days before she was to be born. That was all I could think about - being so sad. Then I moved into a jealousy/bitter stage. It bothered me that everyone else got to have their babies (last year was a HUGE birth year among my friends), and it really bothered me when I heard other moms complaining about how their babies were fussy, etc. I had several This isn't fair! breakdowns. Sometimes I still do. It's not fair.

I'm in a new stage now, I think. I'm feeling so blessed, like a loving Father is trying to make this as easy as possible given the circumstances. I want this experience to ultimately make me a better/stronger/nicer person, and hope so much that I will someday be better because of it. When I get down on myself, I try to think of Macie. I know she's not sad. She's probably having the time of her life with cousins and great-grandparents (and others), and she is just fine. That makes me feel better.

So instead of grumbling when I hear of yet another pregnancy, I will look forward to the day when it can once again (hopefully!) be my turn.

*I am so thankful for some new acquaintances I've made (via blogs)--other young moms who have recently had similar experiences. My heart aches for them, especially when it is their first baby. What a "support group" it's turned out to be though!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Money: The Fun Stuff (and random grumblings)

I'm kinda tired about thinking about money. I'm irritated because my super-budgeting is making me extra judgmental. When I hear about people spending money they don't have, or using loans, or just plain being wasteful, it bugs me. I was going to give you the full rundown on how to save money in your "entertainment" category but I'll spare you the details you probably already know and just give it to you in a nutshell.

Our entertainment budget is set at $75, which is...not very much. That's like us all going out to each one and a half times (maybe two). Last month we had a baby-sitter two times and that was it - our entertainment budget was gone. Don't get me wrong - we DO go out to eat occasionally. For our anniversary a few months ago we went to Cheesecake Factory. Our kids love Denny's so we go there twice a year, though we'll only go on a Saturday when kids eat free. If you're going to go out out, find a coupon! I can't tell you how many deals I get through email and in the mail that are "Buy one entree, get a second for free." Or, go to lunch instead of dinner. Or do takeout so you don't have to pay for a baby-sitter. Or, try You can get gift certificates for really cheap ($25 gift card for $10) and the restaurants are usually ones you wouldn't typically visit. Fun!

Another money-waster is the movie theater. We go to the theater about once a year (by the way, Bedtime Stories - SO not worth the theater price). The rest of the time, we either wait a few months and do pay per view on our Tv for $4.99 or - my new favorite - go to a Redbox. You can look up the redbox's in your area, search for a specific title, and reserve it! For $1 a night, it's a steal of a deal! Most movie theaters charge between $10 and $12 per adult these days! Ouch. By the way, every Wednesday in March, visit this site to get a coupon code for a free redbox movie. Yeah, it's just a dollar but if you're going to go to the grocery store anyway (because Wednesday's are the least crowded), you may as well pay a visit to the redbox on your way out.

I don't know if I'll focus on anymore budget categories. I'm tired of thinking about money, I'm grumpy because I hate ALL the front doors I've looked at and don't know what to do about it, and we find out this week if Emma gets into our excellent local elementary school or if she'll have to go to a crappy one across town. I find it slightly (ok, incredibly) ridiculous that this is even something I need to worry about. I can't express my annoyance because even if she's at the crappy school I want her to think she's at the best school ever.

And on that happy note...I promise I'll be happy next time you see me. Promise!
(P.S. One more good website to check out is

And one last I'm sitting here scarfing down a bag of Cadbury mini eggs, Emma just said, "Mom, why does chocolate make us feel better?" She's on her way to a healthy relationship with chocolate if I do say so myself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Money: Food Edition

Since my post on budgeting I've heard of lots of buzz in church and elsewhere about budgeting and saving money (and food storage). I hope it doesn't mean a disaster is looming, but I have decided to start doing occasional tips on the essential parts of all of our budgets. So, this part is on FOOD. Now, I say my food budget is $350 but it is actually called my grocery budget. So, when I was buying diapers, those were included. Toilet paper is included. The occasional candy bar is included. Some of these tips are SERIOUS no-brainers. However, it never ceases to amaze me that people just don't do the simple things to save money so I'll mention them anyway.

  • Take your lunch to work or school/Have your husband take his lunch to work. Buying lunch can get expensive; if you buy a "cheap" lunch (let's say $5) every day, that's $100 a month or $1200 a year! That's a nice vacation! What we do: Every night I make a little extra dinner and immediately put it into a tupperware or "take-a-long." Spencer takes that the next day for his lunch. He might have a boring food life, eating the same thing twice each week, back to back, but he doesn't complain. When we were first out of school and he was working I would make him a sandwich every day but that got really boring. So we've taken a slight step up.
  • Don't buy pre-cut meats. Expensive!! I buy my meat at Costco. We like to have roast 2 or 3 Sundays a month. I go to Costco and buy the big round top roast in the vacuum-sealed package. It's about $28-$30. I come home and cut it (or have Spencer cut it - too yucky for me) into about 5 smaller roasts. Each of those easily feeds our family (sometimes we only cut it into 4 if we plan to have people over), and we still have enough to make his lunch for the next day). You get 4-5 roasts for under $30.
  • I also buy my ground beef from Costco. It comes in massive packages but for $15 you can get several pounds of the lean beef. I come home and separate it into about 8 different clumps, and freeze it. I add it to our spaghetti sauce for a little heartier spaghetti. Or I make meatballs or use it in my lasagna. I also use it for taco salad.
  • On the topic of lasagna...I make it about once a month. I make one for dinner that night, and I use the rest to put into a foil tin and freeze for later. You can easily increase your recipe size by adding more ricotta, more sauce, and more meat. I usually cook too many noodles anyway so I don't even have to worry about having enough. Cook extra when you can - you won't waste food and you'll save time.
  • I've also started making my own chicken noodle soup. It's cold out right now, Emma LOVES the stuff, and I like how it tastes and how cheap it is to make. I make it about once a week. We get bread bowls for free, so I freeze those and pull them out when I need them. Last week I made my soup but increased it enough to have some for this coming week. It's a time saver in addition to a money saver.
  • If I have leftover money in my food buget (which is my goal), I put that toward food storage. Because we enjoy moving so much (ha) I have never made a HUGE push to get it all. We have about a 3-month supply but we basically live on top of a fault line; who knows when we'll need it! On the topic of food storage, check food storage companies for specials. Also, when your store has canned foods for a great deal, stock up! I need to do better at this one. Maybe when we move in a few weeks I will really work on that. The idea of staying in one place for more than a year seriously excites me.
  • Eat in! I agree that eating out is so fun and so convenient, especially for date night. But I know some people with very little money (and lots of debt) who eat out several times a week. It frustrates me to hear this. If you are going to eat out, look for coupons. There are lots of 2 for 1 deals out there right now. We have "kids eat free" coupons for Texas Roadhouse (our favorite place) but haven't used them yet even though we've had them for 5 months. Someday. I miss our starving student card (did anyone else use one of those?).
  • Don't take your kids shopping if you can help it (I can't yet, but I can go with just one). Enough said. But, if your child is really cute and blows you kisses while you go get something out of the frozen section, take him along. It will make you happy.
  • Check the deals/circulars! Even the most expensive stores will have good deals that make your patronage there much more money-worthy. Nothing bugs me more than spending $2.49/lb on grapes instead of $.88/lb. at the store down the street because I didn't know about the sale. P.S. Wednesday is the least-crowded day to shop, making it the least stressful.
  • Shop the perimeter of the store; that's where the healthier food, and usually the more necessary food typically is. Avoid the middle, where the snacks and junk food is located. The key is - in and out. Get what you need and get out as fast as possible. I love to shop when I only have about 15 minutes before I have to be somewhere because I come out having spent less than I would have otherwise.

(To clarify why I don't do couponing...I don't need diabetes monitors, Prilosec, 40 bottles of shampoo, tubes of lipstick, or 10 tubes of toothpaste. Who cares if you're saving money if you'll never use the stuff? However, if I see a great deal on something I'm going to buy, I'll cut it out. I'm just not going to turn couponing into a hobby or an obsession - no time for that.)

Any other money-saving tips in relation to food? I surely didn't cover them all but these are the ones that I have found work the best.

*The average American family of 4 spends about $600 a month on food! Yikes!