So D is one of the leaders over the 14-15 year-old boys in our church, and they wanted to have a "campout" at our house, so we were invaded by 10 14-15 year-old boys on Friday night. It was really a fun night. There was a lot of junk food consumed, video games played all night, and about two and a half hours of sleep obtained. I came down at about 7:45 in the morning to find people asleep all over our house, and apparently they had just fallen asleep about 2 1/2 hours prior... so needless to say, we were all pretty tired on Saturday.
D, Chad and Luke went to the Portland International Auto Show. This is a tradition in D's family, to go to the Auto Show, and once Chad, and then Luke, got big enough, the tradition has continued. Someday Reed will get to go too.
The guys always have a great time, and D always comes home with his dream "wish list" of all the cars our family will someday own. Reality check there.
Ok, so being at Scentsy Spring Spring the other day, one of the things that they talked about was goals. Setting goals and then achieving them. Apparently writing down the goal makes it halfway done. So, I've been working this afternoon, writing some goals. My main goal is to become a Director. (I'm putting it out to the universe right now.) I would like to become a Director by June. I am so close, and it is so doable... it's just a matter of doing it. I have a rocking team of girls below me, but sometimes, I am the one that is lax. My problem is, I hate to call people (I inherited this from my mom, I think.) When I was working at WB, I could call people any time and tell them that they owed me millions of dollars and it didn't matter, but when I'm calling some one about hosting a Scentsy party, it's personal and it totally stresses me out. My heart races, my palms sweat, I try to come up with things to do instead. I am trying to get over this. This is something I need to do to achieve my goal of becoming a Director (and I totally realize that!).
So, I set a goal of trying to call 3 people a day (if I have 3 people to call). I have called 2 so far today. The first one was super nice, but one of her friend's just signed up to sell Scentsy and they had a party LAST WEEK. (Dang! Why didn't she sign up under me????? Guess I should've called sooner! I met this girl in November after all!). Second one, I left a message. I like that a whole lot better. Hopefully she will call me back, and I don't have to try again in a week or so!
So, wish me luck on my calling. Wish me luck on achieving my goal... and if you want to host a Scentsy party, you know who to call! :)
Me and Kari, one of my "girls" who I LOVE, in the Scentsy Success store
Joy (my Director and good friend), Cariann, me, Alicia, Sandy, Kari, Kim and Diana - some of our awesome team!
On Wednesday, I was able to go to Scentsy's Spring Sprint in Portland, OR. It was a great time! I was able to hang out with some of the people on our team, find out about new product, and get lots of free stuff (that's always the best part!). Well actually, the best part is that I always walk away from these things feeling super pumped up, so watch out... here I come!
For a family of 7, we have a lot of coats, jackets, sweatshirts... and not a lot of places to put them. This is one of our coat areas. I was walking past it, on my way from the garage to the kitchen and just felt like it needed to be the Picture of the Day. We also have a coat closet, and another one of these hangy things in the front hall, plus coats in our bedroom closets. Really???? And most of these belong to me, D and the girls.
Well, people asked to see a photo of my coupon dumpster, so here it is. I visited it again on Monday, and for about 5 minutes of my "dumpster diving", I was able to come up with 5 full sets of coupon inserts. Hey... the way I look at it, that saved me $10 for not having to buy the newspapers to get the coupons (kind of defeats the purpose if you ask me. Spending money just to get the coupons out.) So, might embarrass my kids a bit, but whatever. I love MY dumpster.
(Sorry, not a picture of me actually "diving" in the dumpster... I was by myself after all.)
Our first set of Cake Pops. I was a bit crazy, and tried for the Cupcake Pops. Probably should've stuck with Cake Balls first. Mine don't look quite as good as in the book, but everyone had fun making them, and fun eating them, so all is good in the cake pop adventure.
Ok. So on Friday, Luke was on my Facebook account playing Farmville, and as my status he wrote "someone please send a bouquet, I really need it." He didn't reference Farmville or anything, and people thought I wrote it. There was some confusion, and some concern on the behalf of my lovely friends who thought I might truly NEED a bouquet (I mean really, who doesn't?)
Anyways, yesterday we are out running a bunch of errands. Pull into our driveway, and behind us pulls a florist delivery truck, looking for me. I'm like, who would be sending me flowers???? And why???? I read the card, and it says, "thinking of you, Alondra". One of my sweet Young Women from back in the day. A little confused (although happy out of the world to receive some beautiful flowers), I'm like, what the heck? And Derrick says, "I bet it has to do with what Luke posted on your FB account yesterday."
Sure enough. She read the post, was worried, the florist was closing in half an hour, and before I could answer her back, she had sent me flowers. Goes with the chocolate cake. I love when people do the unexpected just because. I hope that I am one of those people too.
So thanks to my friends and family out there who think of me and everyone else. Thanks for listening to those inner voices, and for trying to make people's day with a little effort. A smile goes a long way, ya know?
My sweet friend, Allison, showed up with this for me. She said that every time she talked to me this week I sounded kind of down and needed to be cheered up (doesn't help that I was also fighting a cold - just like everyone else!). She also said that I didn't have to share - nice (I will... but it's nice to know that sometimes I don't have to).
(Although I did take a few bites at about 11:00 last night, when everyone else was asleep, way after I had already eaten my Healthy Choice low-calorie fudgesicle for dessert. I won't tell if you don't. Besides, it was a gift after all. I don't want to seem ungrateful.)
I am thankful for friends who bring you treats (or call or write a letter or whatever) just because they think it might be needed. Thanks Allison for being a good friend and for taking such good care of me. I hope that I can return the favor someday!
Ice cream at Coldstone for 7 people: $28.60. 5 birthday coupons for 5 kid people plus one Payback coupon for a B1G1 Free... new balance? $5.49 (plus a $3 tip for all the pain and suffering of dealing with our family). Thanks Coldstone for a cheap, yummy treat. Less than $1 per person (not counting the tip). Not bad at all.
My friend, Dawn, was running a "contest" on her blog. The only thing you had to do to enter was email her your favorite kind of cake. (Um, hello? What isn't my favorite kind of cake???)
Well, I totally won! I never win anything! I was so excited!!! So today in the mail arrived my shiny new copy of Bakerella's Cake Pops!!! For those of you that know me, cooking, baking, the kitchen are so not my thing... but cake, frosting, cupcakes, I'm all about that... and I am so excited to make some of these. They are so dang cute!!!
So thanks Dawn!!! I'm excited to try out my new book!!!
(Random side note... anytime we watch one of those baking shows, I tell the children that one of them needs to marry a baker when they grow up so that I can have good cake WHENEVER I want it! Not a bad deal if you ask me!)
So Macy, Haley and I are out shopping at Safeway the other day. Using coupons (I [heart] coupons!), getting good deals, having a great time. We go outside, pack up the car and are leaving, when I notice this giant dumpster on the side of the parking lot. We drove over to get a closer look, and what do you know? It's a recycle dumpster. For paper products only.
(Any of you watch that show "Extreme Couponing" on TLC???? How the one lady had herself, her four-year-old son and her pregnant friend in the dumpster looking for coupons???? I was so there!!!)
Now granted, our dumpster had a lid on it (we live in the rain after all!), but I was still able to stick my arms in and get quite a few coupon inserts. Macy and Haley totally stayed in the car, embarrassed. (Where's the love, I ask you?) So Luke was nice enough to start the process of cutting out some of the coupons. Next time I'm near that dumpster, I will totally take a picture of it so you can all see what I'm talking about. Just like striking gold! :)
I totally want to be on that show... or at least do as well as they do... problem is, they don't double the coupons where we live. Every week in the ads there is usually a coupon to double 3 or 4 of your coupons, up to $.50, but nothing like when we lived in California and they doubled EVERYTHING!!! I so miss that!
So Macy's really been wanting another fish. Why? We don't know. Doesn't really matter that we already have a dog, two cats, five kids and two adults. We totally needed another pet in her mind.
Well D and I discussed it, and we decided that if we were going to get another pet, it was going to be something a bit more entertaining. So, meet Melvin. We went to the pet store and talked to the hamster dude. Told him we wanted one that was kid friendly, and this is who we got. He now lives in Macy and Haley's room and hopefully won't have a heart attack in the next few days from all their joy and excitement at being new hamster owners. Welcome to the world of rodents to us! I always had mice, hamsters and guinea pigs as a kid, so I knew it would happen sooner or later, but really... what were we thinking????
It's a really bad picture of the sign, but it was BEAUTIFUL!!! One of the leaders made it and it said "Personal Progress" and it was in all the colors of the Personal Progress program. I LOVED it!
On Sunday I was able to attend a Young Womanhood Recognition program in our ward. For our church, it's kind of like when a Boy Scout earns his Eagle Scout. This is the highest honor that our Young Women can earn while they are in Young Women's. I was really happy to be able to attend this. I was happy for both of the beautiful young women who were getting recognized. I've been their Sunday School teacher, dance instructor, and "Step-Ma" to one of them while on the trek a couple of summers ago. They are both beautiful, inside and out, and I am honored to know both of them and love the example that they are setting for my daughters.
We love to go to the movies. Watch movies. Rent movies. Whatever. We just love them. I think they're kind of in our blood... at least in the kids. For many years D worked on movies and so we've always just enjoyed them. However, being with the economy the way it is, that movie tickets cost so DANG MUCH!, (and the fact that there are 7 of us doesn't help much either), we have had to forego our movie love some. So now we only go to a "new" movie if it is something we were desperate to see... or only some of us will go. Like "Tron" at midnight, only attended by D and Chad. Anyways, we found the cheap theatre not too far from our house, and this is now one of our favorite hang-outs. A little bit older movie (like 2 or 3 months, so not too bad), but only $3 per ticket, so $21 for our whole family. Yes please. Count us in!
This past weekend, we went and saw "Megamind". We also "Red-Boxed" or "Netflixed" (more loves!) "The A-Team", "Social Experiment", "The Guardians of Gahoul (?)", "Eclipse" (D hadn't seen it and he wanted to), and "Amelia". See... I told you, we LOVE them! And that was only for two days!!!
Macy looks a little crazy in the picture, but she was very excited to keep getting the Bunco Bell!
All the "Girlie" Scouts!
Macy's Girl Scout troop had a Mommy/Daughter Bunco night last night. Macy kept getting Bunco, and every time she did she got to keep the "Bunco Bell"! Did I ever get it... no... and all I wanted was that dang ball! We only played one round and Macy ended up tying with another girl for the most Bunco's (they each got two), and they got to share the Grand Poombah prize... a bag of chocolates right from Germany!
Having two Girl Scouts in the house means one thing... LOTS of cookies to sell! Lots of asking people at D's work, lots of emailing friends, families and neighbors and LOTS of booth sales! But I tell you this... for the most part I enjoy it, and I think the girls get a kick out of it too. So, if you need any cookies... let us know! We can totally hook you up!
School was called today for a snow day. Funny thing is... no snow. And when I say "no snow", I mean "NO" snow! None... whatsoever. It was cold yesterday. 30's. Rained some. It was "snailing", said the kids. (A cross between snow and rain), but really no snow. Icy though. But right now, raining and 53 degrees. Went from 30 yesterday to 53 today. Total heat wave really. (I was going to take a picture of our "snow day" for my picture of the day, but there was nothing to take a picture of. Really. Nothing. So here you go. Something else instead.)
So, what does a "Snow Day" mean in our house? Lots of kids. That's what it means. Chad has two friends over, Luke has one, Macy has one, and Haley and Reed are sort of playing with all of them.
I was surprised when I headed down into the basement looking for Chad and his friends. I heard Taylor Swift "rocking out" down there, and I assumed it was Macy and Sierra, only to find out it was Chad, Daelin and Charles rocking out, Band Hero-style. Funny. Apparently Daelin picked the song, but still pretty funny. These are the "teen"-agers that hang out in my house.
Today I got to be the helping parent in Reed's preschool class. They are currently learning about winter... snow, cold, whatever - so their homework over the weekend was to make an "ice cube" with something interesting in it. They then got to guess what everyone had frozen and they really enjoyed watching the ice cubes melt (believe it or not!) to discover what treasure was hidden inside.
So, for those of you who don't know, Scentsy is a big part of my life right now. I love it and I love that I can easily make my house (car, purse, bathroom in the church building, whatever) smell good without really trying. Especially since I now have some teen-tween-agers living in the house. So, here's a bucket of Scentsy's Bring Back My Bars for January. They just came in the mail and look oh, so pretty in their bucket!
Reed and Ella waiting for Primary to start, and all the rest of their friends to get there!
The last of our children to be in nursery... today he became a Sunbeam (we were driving home from Cali last week, so he wasn't there when they "officially" became Sunbeams, but I still had to document it!)!!! We are officially nursery-less (the end of an era!), and now all of our children are in Primary/Young Men. Wow... we are getting old!
Enough about my love of gadgets (for now!), and on to some love for some of the people in my life and some of the things that they do.
Being a "scouting" family, one of the jobs that my boys look forward to (NOT!) every year is the annual Christmas tree pickup. Not really at all! It's cold (let's see, my computer says 33 degrees), supposed to start snowing, their only morning to sleep in, and a lot of work... but on the other hand, it's the only fundraiser our scout troop is allowed to do, and it typically raises a lot of money which helps to pay for all the scout camps, so we are totally for it.
So, D, Chad and Luke headed out at 8:00 this morning to meet up with the rest of our troop, already with our tree in the back of the trailer... and with a mess of pine needles and water left behind for me to clean up!
Here's to my brand, sparkling new Cricut Expressions machine (even though it's not quite the color I imagined it to be!). I ran out, years ago, and bought a Cricut Personal machine when they were brand new, and I spent a lot of money for it. I bought it at Michaels, and they wouldn't even let you use a coupon. I worked in a scrapbook store at the time, and we didn't think that we would carry them, so buying it at Michaels was my only chance. Then, one day, lo and behold, they came in our shipments. Cricuts of our very own... at an employee discount!!! So, needless to say, the "bargainer" that I am, bought one from the store (at discount), and then promptly returned it to Michaels for the full price (come on, you know you would've done the same thing!).
Anyways, last summer we went to grandma and grandpas house, and grandma had one of the new ones in her craft room. She had bought it at the previous Black Friday and had NEVER used it... now some 7 months later! Needless to say, I told her that if she didn't use it, it would end up mysteriously in my car making the drive back to our house. (Case in point, it was newer, shinier, much more bells and whistles, could take a 12x12 or even 12x24 piece of paper, compared to mine which could only take a 6x12, and it was RED!!! - so you could totally see why it might get stolen). Well, I ended up teaching her how to use it while I was there and then left it, a bit heart-broken, knowing it wouldn't get the true love and respect it so deserved. (I must say though, in the months since, grandma has called me a few times and asked me how to do certain things on it. It's kind of difficult when I didn't have the same machine and was trying to guess how to make it work... but we made it so.)
So this Black Friday, I was totally watching the ads and guess what????? (Oh the joy!) Walmart had a deal on them! Granted, not red... teal, yellow, lime green or purple, but still... a great price, with all the bells and whistles... so this is one of the prizes that Santa brought me. I (heart) Santa. I got the teal one, but it's a lot greener in real life. I'm thinking I should've gotten the yellow one instead but oh, well. Here's to my love of the Cricut machine... and all the "easiness" it puts in my life!!! Especially great for kids' school projects! Last minute lettering for posters... done!!! (That's how I justify this machine... besides everything else it does for me~!)
Ok, sorry I missed a few days... my camera seemed to have walked away. I set it down in one place and then it magically grows feet and disappears. So I found it on the tv room ottoman, and there you have it.
My photo for Thursday is of a machine that is dear to my heart, the laminator at our elementary school. A little history for you. We used to be a different school. A very old school with very old stuff. Last year, 2009, a brand new school building was built for us. A new location, even a new name. They basically just took all the staff and students and moved them to this new building, so when we started the 2009-2010 school year, it was in a new place. Well, needless to say, the old school had a laminator which had been handed down from place to place and was quite old and ready to be put out of it's misery. Me, being the treasurer of the PTA (and loving to laminate things! - well, duh... doesn't everyone????) decided that it would be really nice of us to give the school a "school-warming" gift of a new laminator... and I totally got my way. Well, being that it was all my idea, I also got the job of being "The Laminator" (that's my new superhero name) for the school. I go in (or one of my team, that would be Krista!) once a week and do all the laminating for the school (that the teacher's haven't already snuck in to do.). I even have my own box... it says, "Shannon H., laminating queen". Well, I guess if it's the only royalty I'm going to get, I'll take it!
And believe it or not, it does save the school some money having the laminating only (really) being done once a week. The machine isn't being left on all the time so that it's always at the ready (that saves electricity), and a lot of the laminating stuff isn't getting wasted with it constantly being started and stopped... so there you go. That's how I win the laminating battle! (OK, so you all already knew I was a bit crazy!).
One of the Christmas gifts that our family got this year was an XBox 360 with a Kinect (thanks to generous contributions from Grandma P, Aunt H, and a wonderful deal at WalMart!). I am fully trying to push our family to "Move More, Eat Less" this year... so what better way to do it than to play a rousing round of Dance Central (thanks to Old Navy for this one!)? So, Haley trying to get her groove on. (Reed was doing the freestyle part with her too.) They're not so good at all, but they sure look cute doing it... and their moving tons so it totally counts!
And yes, our Christmas decorations are still up. We were gone last week and haven't had a chance. We're working on it, and know that at least our real "dead" tree has to be on the curb Saturday morning for the scout pickup... but if we leave everything else up long enough, then we won't have to decorate this Christmas. See... there's definitely a method to my madness.
And on a side note, we went to our first orthodontists appointment yesterday. Luke and Chad will be getting braces in the next two months... and we are lucky enough to have a great friend who is willing to work with us and set up a great payment plan. Watch for upcoming photos of my two "brace-faces"! I am so excited about this! They are not... but I am just happy that we are able to do it... so it totally counts!
I LOVE my uncle. I truly do. He has been a pseudo-father figure for me my entire life... he even stood in the line at our wedding reception. He has always been there for me, between signing my doctor's notes when I was a kid (he's a doctor after all and worked done the street from my school) to buying me my first car when I turned 17 (remember that red Rabbit???? Oh, it was loved... until it's untimely death.). Anyways, he continues to love me... and my family as well.
But, he's also a bit of a joke-ster. He loves to play games with the kids, with money promised at the end. I remember when it was only Chad, Luke and Macy. He decided he would hold a "talent" show and the winner would get money... and only the kids could enter (D and I did try!). So, they all got up and sung their little hearts out, and they all won. That's the way he plays the game. That's even better.
He had a contest at dinner time to see how much the bill was, how much the tax was and how much the gratuity was (that's when we realized that the restuarant had charged us the wrong amount on the tax!).
This last week he offered them each an envelope and told them that there were different dollar amounts in each one and they would get to keep whatever they got. So, he gave them each an envelope, then counted to three and had them all open at the same time. He said, "who's the winner?", and they all said, "me!" (they all had the same amount). That's the right way to play the games.
So anyways, point of the story, besides how much I love him, is that he always gives me his change. And when I say "change", I mean CHANGE! He has buckets all over his house that he puts change in and then whenever I see him he gives it to me. I have to work for it, but I don't mind at all. The work is half the fun... and the kids really enjoy sorting and counting it, looking for state quarters that we might be missing.
So, thanks Uncle B for always be a shining light in our lives! We truly do love you and appreciate all that you do for us!!!
And the part I love most about traveling... all the laundry that somehow follows you home. And, I did a few loads while in Cali... and, this isn't even everybody's... just mine and D's. Not too bad really, but still.
Oh, and I've been to Target, Winco, Safeway, Costco and gotten gas today. Really... a few days away really makes me feel behind. The kids had pretty much nothing to take for lunch today. Oh well, hot lunch it is.
So Uncle Billy gave the kids some Christmas money, and truly the timing was perfect! They got it after Christmas and therefore were able to find LOTS of toys on clearance (D even found a Santa Sing-a-ma-jig at Toys R' Us for $1.87 - which I've already hidden!)! I think Luke ended up with like 6 or 7 (big!) Lego sets plus a bunch of other stuff. My kids are definitely following in my bargaining steps!!!
Ok, so I've been a VERY BAD blogger this last year! Let's face it... the introduction to Facebook really replaced what I used to put on a blog. It's so easy to post to FB... I can do it from my phone! Posting on a blog, I really have to think about and work for. But my mom and uncle refuse to get on FB, so this is really for them... as it was meant to be! I'm really going to try and better about blogging.
So, I've made a deal with myself. There's a scrapbooking kit that I want, but I've put a goal out for myself to see if I'll really do it. It's Project 365. I tried to do it two years ago, when it first came out, and my book is probably about 1/2 finish, thru-out the whole year. I forgot to take pictures every day. I didn't know what to take pictures of. I got busy... yada, yada, yada... life happens. So, I want to try again, but I've told myself that I can only get the kit (which I really love and I love the idea of), if I can be good for one month. One month. That shouldn't be so hard. So here's to the mundane of our lives... 5 kids, 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 adults. Here goes.
Starting with... we were fortunate enough to be able to go to Cali for a week to hang with grandma, grandpa, grandma and Uncle Billy. It was kind of a chill week, and we just really enjoyed spending time with our family (Cheryl included)!. So, my first picture is of us driving home. Making the 17+ hour drive (depending on how many stops we make - truly took us about 20 hours, 2 days with a hotel stop in the middle). Here's a pic of the kids in the back seat, looking oh, so happy. If you ever wondered what it would feel like to take a road trip with us, photoshop yourself into this picture. And know that you can't even see the little trailer thing we are towing behind us with all of our luggage... or all of the Lego boxes that have somehow made it into our car as we travel.