Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

The New Year is almost here and with that comes one of my most favourite traditions- setting new goals. I tried something new last year that did not work out well at all. My hope was to set one goal a month in each of three areas and work on those three goals throughout the month. The three categories- be faithful, lay up in store and unecumber my life, were taken from this talk. I found out I was pregnant shortly into the year and while I can't blame my lack of goal setting and accomplishing on pregnancy, it certainly didn't help. I really like the idea though and I am hoping to put it back into action again this year with more success. 

Do you set New Years resolutions? Have you got any in mind for this year? What helps you stick to your goals?

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Just want to know how everyone's Christmas went! What was your favourite gift you received? What was your favourite gift that you gave? Did you do any fun things to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year? Can't wait to hear all about it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Membrane Stripping

Have any of you had your membranes stripped as a way to encourage labour? What was your experience like? I don't know that its something I would want to have done, but I've been looking into natural ways of encouraging labour since I went to 42 weeks with my first and don't REALLY want to do that again. I'd just like some opinions, thoughts, personal experiences etc. Thanks girls!

Christmas Eve

My family of four will be celebrating with just us this year, for the first time ever. I feel like I want Christmas Eve to be extra special. My kids are 3 and 18 months. If you have fun traditions or ideas to share for Christmas Eve, I would love to hear them. I'm also curious about what people like to eat for dinner on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What has been the most enjoyable/festive thing your family has done so far this Christmas season?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hubby's stocking

Do you stuff your husband's stocking? I am looking for some fun ideas for stuffing my husband's stocking. This is kind of the first time I am doing it because in years past we have always been with family and every adult there has put something in everyone's stocking. Anyway, if you have some fun ideas, please share! Kid ideas would be fun to share, too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Who cooked your Thanksgiving turkey this year?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Report

So after saying yesterday that I wasn't going to participate in Black Friday this year... I ended up going out!! Scott found a few things he was interested in while browsing the Target ad so we decided to go out together. I'm happy to say that being 35 1/2 weeks pregnant did not slow me down at all! Ü

I want to hear what you girls got... how were the lines? Any obnoxious people? Any good deals? What's your favourite thing that you purchased?

We went to Target, Carters and Home Depot. My favourite purchase was probably my 99 cent poinsettias from Home Depot. I picked up 10- 2 for my in laws, a few to go around my house and the rest I'll give to the girls I visit teach. They are so beautiful. We also got Disney Scene It, Disney Princess Yahtzee, an iTunes gift card, a football for Scott, a few outfits for our new baby and pjs for Cecelia. Probably nothing worth rolling out of bed at 4:30 for, but Scott and I had fun shopping together and we got a nice long nap afterwards.

Now share how your Black Friday went!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday

So who all is planning to go out on black friday? Who do you go with? Are there specific toys that you are looking for? Is this anyones first time going or not going? I haven't decided if I am going but I have looked at all the ads on . Has anyone else taken a look on there?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NEW MOON?!?!?!

Anyone doing the midnight showing??? I am not good at late nights anymore (in my old age of 28) but am so excited to see it tomorrow night!! When is everyone else going? Are you going to be all decked out in Twilight gear with all the teeny-boppers?? Just curious...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What's on your Christmas wish list?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Need Recipes!!

We just found out that my daughter is allergic to ALL nuts and to Eggs. I need yummy recipes that don't include these items. I am finding a lot of vegan recipes work for no eggs. Does anyone have recipes they can share or websites that will help me out! I am craving sweet things and breakfast items and can't have them. :( Thanks!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Did you ever french roll your pants back in the day?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do you use

If you use, have you also heard of They have a lot of the same coupons so you can print them out again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

When do you start listening to Christmas music?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

independent activities

Okay, so I absolutely love playing with my girls. They are at such fun ages (3 and 18 months) and they play really well together. BUT, they ALWAYS want me playing with them. It makes it a little difficult to make dinner or do the laundry or shower... So I was wondering what activities your children like to do independently. Thanks!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What costumes will your family be wearing for Halloween this year?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baby Einsteins

Have you seen this? News to me...
Poor Disney.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swine Flu

Well, I don't know a single mother who is not conflicted with this question; "If it becomes available to you, will you vaccinate your children against the Swine flu?" Even though every physician I've spoken to says you absolutely should, I just can't get over that fear of the unknown, with it being new. I'm so worried I'll regret my decision, either way I choose. One thing is for sure though, it is rampant. Just yesterday I found out three people I know have it, and one is a two year old who is not in any preschool or daycare. I'm starting to think that no matter how careful we are, there just won't be any avoiding being exposed.

So, what are your thoughts? Have you made a decision?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Do you have a good falling story?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Hey Sugar & Spice readers/contributors! I'd love to brainstorm a list of things that you can do in October and November in preparation for the Christmas season. What can you do now to make December less stressful?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Snack Ideas

And I'm not asking for my toddler! I am about 9 1/2 weeks pregnant, and extremely sick. This is nothing new to me, it was the same way with my daughter. I'm really struggling this time around with ideas for things to eat though. I get even sicker when my stomach is empty, but NOTHING ever sounds appealing. I would prefer to eat healthy snacks since I gained a massive amount of weight with my daughter, but again...I do better when I eat protein and a little bit of fat. An apple just doesn't cut it. Anyway, once I throw up a certain thing about three times, I'm done. So I'm quickly running out of options. I also had to go on a gluten free diet a few months ago, which narrows the options too. I was curious if any of you had the same problem when you were pregant, or even if you didn't, if you have some good snack ideas that are filling, and have some protein. (Don't worry about giving me gluten-free options, I can filter those myself, and sometimes there are substitutions I can make!) Thanks!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We just bought our first house a couple weeks ago. It is on a fairly big lot (for the suburbs) that is just under a 1/4 acre. The back yard is an overgrown mess of shrubs and weeds. We have a lot of work ahead!

Anyway, I wonder what you guys love/hate about your yards? We have 2 boys (2 1/2 yrs and 3 mo) and love to be outside. In Albuquerque, NM, we can play outside nearly year round. We plan on a fair amount of grass, a spot for a veggie garden, and some areas for flowers.

Any tips, tricks, suggestions would be appreciated. Is there anything you wish you had in your own backyard? Or a feature you always get compliments or a ton of use out of?

Wednesday Weekly

Which of the Seven Dwarfs are you most like?

Doc, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, or Dopey?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#2---Potty Training Help Needed

I apoligize if this has already been talked about--I tried to look through lots of previous posts and see.

I am due in about 3 weeks to have #2. We've been working really hard with our nearly 3 year old to potty train. He will go #1 very easily, but he refuses to go #2in his "big boy" potty. What do I do? We recently ran out of clean underwear and so I put a pull up on him and he went #2 like a mad man (sorry for the grusome details) I think he was all backed up.

Any suggestions?

Also, he won't go to the bathroom in a normal sized toilet, only his little one. It makes it really difficult when we are at church or at someone elses house. Should I buy a cushiony thing to put on our big toilet?

Help! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Share Your Kitchen Tips!

I love kitchen tips- things to help food stay fresh longer, shortcuts and substitutions when cooking, ways to stay organized... so I thought I'd share a few things that work well for me and ask you girls what kitchen tips you have to share!

Here are a few of mine-

* Bananas seriously stay fresh longer if when you get home from the grocery store, you separate them from the bunch... I always thought this made them go bad faster. Not the case!

* Wrapping a bunch of celery in tin foil before putting it in the fridge will keep it fresh and crisp for a looooong time! I just threw away a bunch I'd had for almost 3 weeks and it was still crisp.

* Adding a slice of bread to hard brown sugar will soften it in a short amount of time... the other day I needed brown sugar and mine had gone hard. I put a piece of bread in the container and an hour or so later, enough of the brown sugar had softened that I was able to use it.

* White grape juice makes a great substitution for white wine in recipes.

That's all I can think of for now... please share your tips! I can always use new ideas.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I recently took dinner to a family in my old ward. Just a couple months ago I was on the receiving end of dinners - several women from church brought my family dinner after our second son was born.

I am curious - when you are asked or volunteer to bring dinner to someone, what do you bring? Also, what are some of your favorites that you have received?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Next Wednesday I am teaching a class on organization for our Relief Society swap meet activity. I love to organize and I have some ideas but I am not sure I can talk for 15-20 minutes on organization. So that's why I am coming to all you wonderful ladies!! Any tips on organization, favorite rooms you have organized in your house, cheap ways to organize etc.? Please let me know I would love the input and if you have pictures to e-mail me of organization in your home send them to susan(dot)Schacher(at)gmail(dot)com.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Check out this link.

And you can print it as much as you like. Coupon lovers unite!

Don't forget you can stack at Target i.e. use a manufacturer coupon and a Target coupon together on one product. Find that product on sale and you're golden!

Wednesday Weekly: Habits

What is one really great habit that you have?

What is one habit you wish you didn't have?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Toddlers and Service

After Conference today, I have a strong desire to help Cecelia learn to serve. We use to go visit a senior citizen once a week and though Cecelia didn't realize what she was doing, she was definitely providing service to the woman we visited... to the point that after Ruth passed away, we received several letters from her niece telling us what an impact Cecelia had on Ruth's life. Ruth also left some money to Cecelia for her future education. It was a fantastic experience for both Cecelia and I. Thing is, ever since, I've struggled to find a new person to visit. I know I need to find someone because it was a great way for us to serve together, but I'm still missing Ruth so much. :(

After President Monson's talk about service, I'm feeling motivated to find a new senior citizen to visit, but I'm also trying to find other ideas for service and wondering what ideas you girls have. Have you found fun ways to serve with your little ones?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Udder Cover Deal

My darling friend Natalie told me about this great deal that "Udder Covers" is having right now. Type in the promo code "chatter" when purchasing your nursing cover and pay only $8.95 for a cover valued at $32. I'm not a sewer, but I'm fairly certain you will pay more than that making one yourself! I ordered one this morning and it really worked. I'm not sure how long the deal will last, so act now! (I feel kind of like an info-mercial!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy General Conference!

Enjoy General Conference this weekend! Share your favorite moments with us!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What book are you reading right now?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sugar & Spice Mama's To Be

I was just wondering who our pregnant Sugar & Spice Mama's are right now. When are you due? Do you know if you are having a boy or girl?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Do you have any Halloween costumes ready for your family yet? Are you creating any on your own?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Fall!

I'm making Pumpkin Bars tonight!!!!
It's time!
It's 78 degrees outside and humid but I don't care!
It's still time!

Hooray for Fall!
Do you have any recipes that just scream crunchy-leaf-crisp-air-Halloween-goodness???

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Overweight and 3

My daughter, V, just turned 3. Sometime between 2 1/2 and 3, she gained a considerable amount of weight. She has also always been 95-100th percentile for her height. Basically she looks like she should maybe be in Kindergarten.

Within those 6 months, I started to not be able to put her in jeans, or any bottom that had a button. They wouldn't button. By mid-summer I started becoming really concerned. Is it really possible to worry about weight at such a young age? And when/how did this happen? I spent the first half of her life worrying if she was eating enough, now do I need to worry about the opposite?

I waited until her 3 year well-visit to get the straight up reality check that I was expecting. She is at the very top of the overweight scale in terms of her BMI. Any higher, and she is obese. Gulp.

I have felt frustrated. I feed my family healthy foods, always have. I see other families with their Doritos and Hostess cupcakes and their teeny tiny children. Then I look at my big kids with their apples and string cheese and think, what?! I know we all have different genetics, but I still feel sad that I have an overweight 3 year old who probably eats healthier foods than many other children.

But, what's the point in being frustrated, I've had to take at least some kind of action. My pediatrician recommended considering portion sizes, eating about 5% less foods. He said only skim milk, no juice, fruit snacks, etc. That's easy. I was almost already at that point. He gave me a goal BMI for when she turns four. I will periodically track it. The goal is not for her to lose weight, but to gain more slowly. I still can't believe that this is happening so young, but I'm hoping it will make a positive difference for the rest of her life.

Other things I've done: Well we've always been a whole-grain family, but have hung on to white rice so we've switched to brown. A treat used to follow every dinner. Now it's just a weekend thing. I keep my kids physically active, but I think there was a time during my first trimester of pregnancy this summer and through the end of winter when we were pretty sedentary. Now at least an hour of exercise is a huge prioirty each day. This usually includes bike riding, running games, and playgrounds. I enjoyed the convenience of juice boxes this summer, but I no longer buy them. My kids don't ask for them, nor for sweets. They've always loved their healthy foods. It's really just been about me making better choices of what I buy. Communicating with my husband about this pretty regularly has also been very helpful and necessary. I do not want to rub my worries off on my children and give them a complex about weight. I want these healthy choices to be a natural part of our lifestyle. I still want my children to enjoy treats and to enjoy the fun things in life but all in balance.

I'm kind of just venting here. Just wanted to tell my story to other Moms.

General Conference packet

The church's curriculum department put out a general conference activity packet for conf. this year. I know there are a lot of others out there, but I thought it was cool this is actually from the church. There's really not much to it, but could be used in addition to other packets. It can be found here

Coloring at FHE

This activity worked well for us recently at FHE: We talked about the gospel principle and scripture on this coloring page and then colored as a family. You can copy it from the Friend magazine or print it out at There is a new one every month.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Maternity clothes

How long do you wait until you start wearing maternity clothes?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Being on the Other Side of the Insurance Fence

I used to work in healthcare as a provider.
We had great insurance and our first baby cost us a $20 copay. (which is amazing considering the fact that we had upwards of 15 ultrasounds and weekly non-stress testing the last ten weeks!)

When we moved to Utah, I didn't have insurance at my job and so we went on my husband's for the first time. It cost more, and I had to go downtown for healthcare rather than to the hospital two blocks away. Our second baby cost $2000. But we still felt lucky, especially when we averaged out the two births.

Then we had to quit that job and come to Arkansas. My husband has a good job and is going to school but since we moved the week of the Lehman Brother's collapse, the best job he could find at the time was a temp job. His job wants to keep him forever but they're like everyone else and are on a hiring freeze but they can keep him as a temp. So we're stuck! I work part time which means no insurance in this state (apparently what we had in Minnesota was a rarity?)

We pay an exorbitant amount each month for health insurance and our girls are on Medicaid. We have thought about us going without for a time but I have a tricky medical history so that's not smart with someone like me.

It's so strange being on the other side of the fence. I used to provide healthcare and now I don't have easy access to it. Even as a provider, I could see the obvious problems. I would have a high income family come in with insurance and not pay a dime for my services. Then a no-insurance family would come in be charged a huge fee for the same services which they usually couldn't pay for! It is so backward! I never understood why that family couldn't pay the medicare writeoff rather than what we actually charged the insurance (a huge difference!)

My cousin yesterday was complaining that she didn't want to pay for everyone else's insurance in a government plan and they should all just go out and get jobs. I don't think she had a clue how insulting and harsh she sounded to me and probably others out there. She pays taxes and therefore for education when she doesn't have kids, doesn't she?

I don't know the solution.
I have tried to educate myself but I get very lost and confused.
I know there is a huge problem with healthcare.
I know we need a solution.
I wish change came easier but it just doesn't!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Giveaway on my Photo Blog!

Enter now on my photo blog for a chance to win a custom designed photo card (holiday card maybe? Ü) and a $25 gift certificate. Even if you live out of town, this is a great prize as the gift certificate can be used to print the custom designed card, and the card can be designed using any photo you own the rights to! Hurry over and leave a comment for your chance to win.

Enter HERE!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What weekly task do you kind of dread/dislike?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Are you happy or sad to see the summer draw to a close?


After three years of having a child, I really thought I had this down, especially when I only have one! But lately my daughter has been especially demanding of my time. I attribute it to the fact that she has no siblings for playmates (trust me, I wish that weren't the case.) But maybe that's not it. Anyway, she used to be pretty good at playing independently while I got things done around the house. Lately she wants me playing with her CONSTANTLY. If she's in her room, I have to be with her. She'll come find me in the kitchen and drag me by the hand. Just now we were outside and I thought I'd browse through the Ensign right next to her playhouse, and she pitched the world's largest tantrum because she wanted me INSIDE the playhouse. She literally threw my magazine across the yard. On the way into the house for a timeout, I struggled with myself, wondering if I was being selfish by wanting to read the Ensign instead of playing with her. But I do play with her. I make sure to set aside time every day that we play dolls together, board games, etc. However, I have to get things done around the house too, and I think it's good for her to be able to entertain herself a little bit. How do I accomplish this? Get things done, yet play with her enough, while not giving into her too much. Am I being selfish, or is my daughter turning into a spoiled "queen of the house?" Any tips to finding the balance?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Number 19 on the Way!

So I should preface this by admitting that I'm from Arkansas. Not sure that matters but there you go. But what do you think about this????

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What to do re: flu season?

Our little girl is due at the very end of December, right in the thick of RSV and flu season. This year's flu season is predicted to be bad, and where we live so close to Mexico, the H1N1 (aka- Swine) flu is a particular threat. Both my in laws and Scott are being strongly encouraged through work to get flu shots, and Scott's work already has a plan in place for how to handle things should mass amounts of officers be out at once. Officers are already being told not to come in if they show signs of being sick, and that they will be sent home immediately if they do show up for work sick.

I've had a nurse strongly suggest that I not take our new baby (Eva) out and about during flu season. She recommended that I not even attend church. Normally (as in the one time I've had a baby!) I do not miss much church due to it. But I am really nervous about flu season so I'm contemplating keeping Eva in for at least the first month or two. But this brings me to my next issue... Eva and I avoiding church and public situations is one thing, but Cecelia is the one who seems to always get sick at church. During the winter, she is lucky to make it to church every other Sunday because she always gets sick on the in between weeks. :P Nursery is basically a big old pool of germs. So do I keep her home from church as well????

I hate the idea of missing church, but I am concerned about the health of both my girls, especially our new baby. What are your thoughts on this? I know we're blessed for being at church, but I also think its important to do what I can to keep my family healthy and safe. Opinions?

For your favorite pixie fan

You can view the first six minutes of the new Tinkerbell movie at The DVD comes out in October.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What is your dream car?

Bread Machine Quest

I'm in the market for a bread machine, but I want a good one that mixes everything up (unlike the one I had that left some of the dry ingredients in the corners of the loaf!). So my questions are:

Does anyone have a bread machine they love? Why?

Does anyone have one they don't love? Why?


Healthier cookies

How do you make cookies healthier?

Does anyone have some good recipes?

Monday, August 24, 2009


Lately my almost three year old and I have been having a rough time. She is going through a stage where she is especially defiant and is testing her boundaries to the max. I am working on having more patience, but sometimes I just feel like we battle each other half the day! Anyway, it's really having a negative effect on the whole family. I start out each day fresh with patience and a positive attitude. And by the time my husband gets home, I am ready to hand him the tot and run screaming to the next city. It's not fair for him to be greeted with this, especially because he has been pretty burnt out with work himself. Instead of coming home and relaxing, he comes home to a tense household, where we all feed off each other's grumpiness!

Help! What do you do when your kids are going through stages like this? How do you attempt to stay fresh and upbeat to greet your husbands at the end of the day? And how do you give yourselves a sanity break in the evening, without just dumping on your husband (who has also worked hard all day.) The other night I put on my ipod and attacked the mountain of dishes, while my husband watched our little girl. It actually felt like a treat to do dishes, since I got to escape eveything else going on for an hour or so. But it was better than actually just leaving for the evening, which wouldn't be fair to do every night. (But I'm telling you, these days I almost feel like it...)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Drawing with toddlers

I've never used any workbooks or read anything about coloring with toddlers, but my soon-to-be 3 year old likes to draw a lot and she has inspired some fun drawing activities that go beyond scribbles.

In the past few months, I've been interested in teaching her how to draw things she can recognize instead of the aforementioned scribbles. The first thing I ever tried was drawing a line with a pen and seeing how well she could draw over it with a marker. She liked it a lot.

Then I started drawing circles for her and asking her to add eyes, nose, etc. It was crazy stuff at first, but then about two months later, she decided to try it all on her own and could do the circle, eyes, nose, mouth, and hair and it actually looks like a face.

Drawing something together I think is a great way to encourage drawing skills. You can do the "hard" part, and your child can add something to it. We've done this with houses where I draw the main shape and she adds the windows, door, or whatever else. Sometimes she'll simply draw a line for a flower stem, stop sign, etc. When I thought she seemed ready, we tried a few letters. She is lucky that the letters in her name are not hard. She doesn't know what the letters sound like or anything, but she's getting exposure and it's amazing how introducing one thing can lead to another when they show you they're ready.

I have never been good at organized learning with my kids. I think it would be cool to have a bunch of planned learning activities ready for each day, but it's not practical for my life and the time that I have. But I have found fulfillment for myself and my kids in teaching things in the spontaneous activities we do throughout the day.

If anyone has insight to share in the world or drawing, please share!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Preschool

Has anyone ever done a home preschool with their kids? A few moms from church and I are going to start one up this fall, but we're debating about cirriculum. We are leaning heavily toward Joy School found at but I wanted to know what others have done or if there are any other options for lesson plans, etc. out there.


New Moon

I'm on Team Edward but this trailer still excited me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

How often do you write in your journal? Do you have a journal?

I came across this quote today from Gordon B. Hinckley.

"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many-now and in years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings."

Project SAHM

My friend started a project a couple years ago that is really awesome. It is called Project SAHM (Stay at Home Mom). What she originally did was she would collect donations up to $150 and then she would go to the mall during the day, scope out a Mom, find out if she was a stay at home Mom, and then suprise her with $150 to go buy herself a new outfit! Then she would take before and after pictures. I loved her idea. It is so awesome to reward stay at home moms. She is trying to expand her project and is looking for some new ideas and she is trying to collect donations to suprise Mom's with. I just thought I would share the link so you could all go check it out. It is so cool. Share your ideas with her if you have any too. She would greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The DivaCup

So, I just happened upon this. What do you think?!?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Primary Program Preferences

I am once again in charge of writing the primary program for our ward and wanted to get some input on what everyone thinks about primary programs. Are there things you have seen done that you really like? Or don't like? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks a bunch!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update for Those Who Are Interested

I posted a few weeks ago that we found out our baby was a boy and asked you girls where you buy boys church clothes... well just to keep you in the loop, baby boy ended up being baby girl in our last 2 ultrasounds, so its back to easy church clothes shopping for me! :D I'm just glad our last ultrasound was a really, really clear shot and we know for sure that its a girl... at least, as sure as you can know before the baby arrives!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite kind of "eat out" food?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family-friendly stir-fry recipes

I am looking for some new stir-fry recipes to use with my family. They are not super picky eaters but the kids wouldn't like anything spicy. Does anyone have a recipe to share?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Breast feeding baby doll

What do you think about this?

Staying at Home

Well I used to be busy all the time. Even as a stay at home Mom. Between the kids, shopping, taking care of my husbands grandma, and school I was overwhelmed. Well right now I don't have school, money to shop, or my husbands grandma to take care of anymore. So I am finding myself with not a whole lot to do. I would like to read but it is hard to sometimes with kids. What are your days like? What do you do that doesn't cost money or keeps you away from stores? (I like to spend and stores can be dangerous!) I just want some ideas to fill my time and keep me away from sitting at the computer all day or in front of the TV.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What is a talent that you wish you had.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite decoration in your house?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Whoops! Sorry I missed posting this on Wednesday, this week has really flown by!

What is your pioneer heritage?

Baby Boy Church Clothes

We found out this week that our new baby is a boy! I am so excited, and have already started shopping. (Ok- I'll confess, I started shopping weeks before our ultrasound. I kind of thought it might be a boy so of course I couldn't pass up a good deal on cute clothes... and bedding... )

Anyway- the one thing I'm finding to be more difficult than shopping for girl clothes is when it comes to church outfits. Never hard to find a cute dress... but boy church clothes are proving to be harder to come by. We want our little guy to look nice- like khakis and a polo, or even white shirt, etc. What do you dress your boys in for church? And where do you find cute church clothes?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Do you like road trips?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harry Potter 6!

It's here!

Anyone going with all the teenagers tonight??? :)

Are you excited????

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Does thunder scare you, even a little bit?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Private Blog?

This post is for people with private blogs who love google reader, or have friends who love google reader, or who have friends with private blogs and love google reader. Have I confused you yet? :)

My husband and I love google reader! Its so nice just clicking a button and knowing which of the blogs you like to read have new posts. The problem is that google reader doesn't show private blogs, so you still have to individually check each of those blogs sporadically to see if they posted. I guess my husband and I are lazy people b/c we hate doing that. So what we did was pretty ingenious I thought, so I figured I'd share it with all of you in case any of you were interested. We have a private blog: That is where we make all of our posts and such. We have a public blog: and on that blog we link to all of our blog posts. So people can put our public blog on their google reader to know when we post, and then click on the link to take them right to our blog! Its not that much more work for us, and it keeps people reading our blog. (I don't think my family would otherwise...they're lazy like me. :) ) Anyway, I figured I'd share in case anyone might be in the same situation I was in. :)

Happy blogging.

Book Recommendations, Please!

So, I have recently been hitting the library a lot more this summer because my son is enrolled in the Summer Reading Program there. Well it just dawned on me today that I could actually check out books for myself once in a while!! (my brain has been on vacation for the past year or so.)

I am not one (especially with 2 kids in there with me) to just browse the aisles and read the book flaps to find good ones. So I need some suggestions so I can go in with some names to check out.

I LOVE the Twilight series, Harry Potter and Nicholas Sparks books. So basically sci-fi,magical series or romances (not Harlequin type romances, obviously!) I am also open to mysteries and other genre's.

I have heard good things about Jodi Picoult books and wanted thoughts from any of you who have read them.

Also, I have read good reviews on The Time Traveler's Wife, but from non-lds sources so I wanted to see if any of you had read it and know if it is fairly PG-ish.

Thanks and I appreciate any and all suggestions!!

Stay Cool Summer Kids Craft

I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar and I love making storybooks an activity! Check out this fun idea for bringing this classic to life, courtesy of A Wednesday Afternoon!

Oh, the fun you can have with felt!


Do you Twitter?
Something else?

Sometimes I feel like I'm keeping in better touch with my family and friends and I'm so glad that I have a facebook account. Then there are the times when I realize that I'm wasting a lot of time and really haven't done much in the time I've been looking at my facebook homepage.

Our old Stake President discouraged MySpace very vocally. So I'm just curious what your take on these sites is.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Siblings Sharing Rooms?

I'm ready for my daughters to share a room. Mostly I think that my two year old gets pretty lonely at night...she's started asking me to sleep in her room with her or requesting to sleep in my room. Since neither of those is an option, I think I can compromise by moving my baby into her room. It was always the plan that the two share a room, I was just waiting for the baby to sleep thru the night. She's not there yet, but I think the girls are ready to share. I have a few questions though for people who's kids share a room: do you put one to bed first and then the other? If you don't put one to bed first, do they keep each other from going to sleep? Do they wake each other up at night/in the morning? One of my girls is 2 1/2 and the other is 8 months. I'm definitely thinking that they'll probably still need to stay apart at nap time, because that's much trickier..I'm just trying to figure out how sharing a room works (I can't remember back to the times when I was sharing a room with a sibling...). Anyway, any advice/tips/answers to my questions would be great! Thanks!
P.S. Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

If you could pick any other time period to live in which would you pick?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stay Cool Summer Kids' Craft

Okay folks!

Want something else fun to make with your kids? How about spicing up an old dud that your kids can even help with??? do i sound like an informercial yet???

This is so easy! And for the get-stains-out-of-laundry-impaired Mom like me, it's perfect! I did this for Father's Day just this weekend! (don't worry, I didn't make my Dad a butterfly t-shirt, I made a BYU scrub cap for him to operate in!)

All you need is cute fabric, a cute tee, preferably one with stains that you want to hide :), stitch witchery or something like unto it, and an iron and off you go!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Parents for Free!

That sounds funny!  
But really, go to this blog for an offer to get Parents Magazine for two years for free!  
I had a free sample when I had my first baby but didn't subscribe so I'm excited! It looks like there are no strings attached.

Pop Star

Has anyone else heard that Michael Jackson passed away today? My husband and I like a lot of his music. I'm not sure if I have a favorite though. Do you have a favorite Michael Jackson song?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Better late than never, eh? Sorry I'm posting this so late. I remember all week to do this and then forget today.

Are you an early riser or a night owl?

Potty Training Manipulation & Pacifiers

Okay, so blessed, blessed day: my daughter is potty trained. It is glorious. It is wonderful. I am so happy. And yet.....all of a sudden, my daughter has control over me (she learned on her first day of being potty trained). Whenever its time for her to go to bed, she always has to "try one more time.." Or whenever we're leaving a store/playgroup/anywhere...we always have to go back because she "really has to go potty." Does this happen to any of the rest of you? How do you keep yourselves from being manipulated without just saying, "Oh well...I guess you're going to have to pee your pants."

Also, I still let her wear a diaper for naptime and bedtime b/c I've heard that's normal and its a lot harder to potty train for sleeping times. Do/did any of the rest of you do that? When did you switch to underwear all the time?

On to my second subject: pacifiers. It is time for my daughter to get rid of hers. She is fully addicted. It is not healthy. A year ago we made a "pacis are only for bedtime" rule and she's done fairly well with that, but lately she's been trying to sneak them all day and when I take them away she has a total breakdown. So...we're getting rid of it. But, do any of you have any suggestions on how you got rid of your children's beloved pacis? (I know that its gonna be rough no matter what...I just figured I'd ask to see if there's any suggestions to make it a little easier...)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stay Cool Summer Kids' Craft

Are you guys as hot as I am????

The heat index today for my town is 110 degrees!!! Augh!!!!

I would love to embrace the outdoors during the summer but 110 degrees is a bit much for me!

I love the shells idea, it's creative, it's easy, it's cheap and it's green! But hey, give me a pot and a glue gun and I'm thinking buttons all over or put the shells on and then paint them, or heck, let 'em loose with a bunch of stickers! One of my favorites was covering a 10# can with scrapbook paper and mod podge and going to town!

What do you want to make???

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do you want to post Wednesday Weekly?

Would anyone like to post Wednesday Weeklys this summer?

Hot Topic

What are your thoughts on the Jon & Kate Plus 8 saga? Do you follow the show? Do you believe that the kids are being exploited? What are your predictions for their marriage and/or the children's future?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spotlight Tiffany

My husband and I in December 2007. We had just seen Blue Man Group for free by being ushers.
My girls and I on Mother's Day.

1. What is your age and physical description? I am 26, 5' 10", brown hair and brown eyes. (I've secretly always been jealous of blue-eyed people)

2. Where were you born and where are you now? I was born in Naperville, IL and now I live in a little town near Seattle, WA and we're moving to Provo this summer for my hubby to get his MBA.

3. What do you do for a living? I am a mother! :) I taught 2nd grade for a year and plan to go back to doing that once my kiddos are in school. I would like to start a "learning to read" class from home one of these days, I just need to get the gumption to go for it and do it.

4. What is your favorite and least favorite color? Favorite: blue, Least favorite: ? I like most colors.

5. Did you go to college and get a degree, If so, where & what? I went to BYU (Go Cougars!) and got my BS in Elementary Education.

6. How many children do you have? How old are they? I have two beautiful little girls. Megan is 2 1/2 and Emily is 7 months.

7. What’s your favorite and least favorite food? Favorite: apples, spaghetti, most fresh fruit, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, and Chipotle burritos. Least favorite: tomatoes (I like them cooked, but not raw), brussell sprouts, and olives

8. Are you right or left handed? right

9. Do you play any instruments? I wish. I took piano for a long time and never practiced and so I can't play well at all. Someday I'm going to buy a piano and take lessons again! I like to sing though.

10. What are your hobbies? I love to read, play board games (the German ones), go on hikes, go on bike rides, dance (I can't dance well, but I like to do it), and take naps (when I that a hobby?)

Make You Think...

11. What did you want to be when you grew up? A mom, a teacher, or an actress/model

12. What is your biggest fear? I am constantly worrying about something happening to my husband or my children....or me. As shallow as it sounds, I often worry that I'll die and then my husband will get remarried (which I would want him to) but then my kids will forget me and love their new mom better. Good thing I have the gospel and know that everything will work out like its supposed to no matter what happens...and I'll be happy no matter what. That doesn't stop me from worrying though....

13. Who has touched your life and influenced you the most and why? Probably my firstborn daughter. My life completely changed when she was born and I have grown so much since then. Plus she's constantly teaching me new things every day. Being a mom really taught me how much Heavenly Father loves His children and how much I need to rely on Him and trust in Him.

14. If you could accomplish just one thing with your life, what would that be and why? To teach my children how to obtain their own testimonies and to build and strengthen that testimony every day of their lives. I would love to have my whole family in the temple together someday.

15. What is your worst habit and if you could quit it, would you? My worst habit is probably my love for sleep. It tends to make me lazy during naptimes... I probably should quit. I'm currently working on it.

16. Who would play you in the movie of your life? Who would play your husband? I know its been said before by other people, but I think Sandra Bullock would play me pretty well. I feel like I can relate to certain characters she's played and I've been told before that I look like her. I just asked my husband who would play him and he said, "Based on looks alone: Brad Pitt. Just kidding...I would probably be played by Screech." So..there you have it.

17. What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life and why? This is the question that I was most excited for b/c I constantly think about stuff like this. (I'm sort of crazy about music...) I actually made a soundtrack of my life in college b/c I thought it would be fun. So, sorry, but I'm actually listing a bunch of songs. :)
"Baby Mine" from Dumbo b/c its my daughter's song, "Snuggle Puppy" by Sandra Boynton b/c its my other daughter's song, the Jem theme song b/c I wanted to be Jem when I grew up, the Book Report on Peter Rabbit song from "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" to represent my school days, "Have You Ever?" by Brandy to represent my emotional/drama-filled teenage years, any Backstreet Boys song b/c I was obsessed, "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago b/c my husband sang that to me when he proposed, "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge b/c I love it, "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds b/c I danced with my husband to that song for our wedding reception, "Always" by Atlantic Starr b/c I'm cheesey and want my life to be like that, any High School Musical song b/c I love them all (yes, I'm 16 at heart), "Stacy's Mom" b/c it reminds me of college, "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw, and "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" from the EFY cd. There would be more...but I should stop.

18. If you could meet any one person in history, who would it be, and why? I would really like to meet Joseph Smith (and Emma) and George Washington (and Martha). I also just re-watched The Testaments recently and I think it would be pretty awesome to be in the Americas when Jesus came and to meet him and hear his teachings in that context. I would prefer that over Jerusalem I think.

19. If you lost everything you have tomorrow, what three things would you save and why? My journal with my memories of Megan and Emily (the cute things they've said and whatnot) b/c otherwise I know I would forget those little things; Megan's blanket (she cannot sleep without it); my laptop (it has all my pictures on it)

20. What is your favorite quote and why? In General: "Don't worry, be happy."
Churchy: "It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers." President Hinckley
Motherhood-wise: "Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow, For babies grow up, I've learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep." --Author Unknown
From the Twilight series ;) : "Could a dead, frozen heart break? It felt like mine would." .... "Could a dead, frozen heart beat again? It felt like mine was about to." -- Midnight Sun and "'Oh, and also, I'm wretchedly in love with you.' Keep it light." -- Midnight Sun
From a Movie: "I don't even own a gun, let alone many guns which would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do with at gun rack?" "You don't like it? Fine. You know Wayne, if you're not careful, one of these days you're gonna lose me." "I already did lose you...two months ago. We broke up. Are you mental? Get the net!" --Wayne's World

Just For Fun

21. Do you sleep with the closet door open or closed? Open. My husband actually took the doors off b/c they were the sliding ones and they drove him nuts.

22. What is your biggest pet peeve? When people smoke around children. It makes me so sad for their young, impressionable lungs.

23. Where are the top three places you'd like to travel to? Cancun, Chile, and Hawaii

24. Do you ever dance for no reason even though there’s no music playing? ALWAYS. There is always a song in my head and I'm always dancing to it. :)

25. What size is your bed? King. My husband and I cannot sleep on a queen b/c we cannot touch each other while sleeping. We discovered that right away after we got married. :)

26. What do you drink with dinner? Water, but my husband drinks milk. It's pretty funny.

27. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? 13 Going on 30, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, all of the High School Musicals, Hairspray, Newsies, most Pixar movies... (once again...I think I'm 16 at heart...)

28. What was the first concert you went to? I think Anita Baker or Yanni, randomly enough (my dad got free concert tickets through his work). Favorite concert: Tim McGraw (or maybe the Backstreet Boys... ;) )

29. What is on your perfect pizza? Its a Papa Murphy's stuffed pizza with Canadian bacon, pepperoni, pineapple, and mushrooms with green peppers and roma tomatoes on top. It is the best. pizza. ever.

30. What's the most exotic place you've traveled to?I have never been anywhere exotic. But one of my favorite trips was to Havasu falls in Arizona. It was beautiful!

Spotlight Member: June 15th

This week we will be learning more about...
Tiffany, click here to find the Spotlight Member Survey. Copy, paste it into a new post and fill in your answers. If possible include a recent picture of yourself. We're excited to learn more about you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Keeping the bugs away

My daughter has a really severe reaction to bug bites. I need help! What are your best ways to keep the bugs from your kids (aside from staying inside which isn't a bad option in the south in summer)?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What did you have for dinner tonight?

(Can you tell I'm having a hard time thinking of a question tonight?)

Picky Eater

We've probably had similar posts before, but the answers change with different ages. So I'm asking again for advice about my picky eater. She's about 3 1/2 mos. shy of turning 3. And somehow, despite the fact that my husband and I are not picky eaters, she has become one. The problem is, she won't try anything that isn't one of her norms. What I'm wondering is how forceful I should be at this point. Is she young enough that it's a stage she may grow out of, or is it one of those things that if I don't crack down now, it'll only get worse? My husband and I have learned the hard way that certain habits are harder to break the longer they go on. For instance, we used to be lax about her sitting at the table with us for dinner, until it got out of control and she would take one bite and then run around. So now, dinner time is full of time outs and warnings (so enjoyable) as we undo that damage.

I don't necessarily make her a separate meal. But I do modify what we're having. For instance, if we're having tacos, she might get a plain cheese quesadilla. Or if we have a casserole with chicken in it, I set aside plain chicken for her before I add it to the casserole. Should I just be saying, "You eat what we eat, or nothing at all" instead? It seems harsh at her age, and I worry about her going hungry, because she is incredibly stubborn. But I want to do what's best for the long run, so HELP!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A little child Psyc...

Two of my friends received degrees in psych and couseling and began a blog where they can give all their unsolicited advice and pass on what they know to other moms. They give the "science" behind different discipline techniques, address problem behaviors and give ways to be better parents overall. It is very interesting to read! And they list some great sites to visit on all topics along with some helpful books and activities for kids. The site is:

Monday, June 8, 2009


So my daughter has finally managed to break our digital camera. I have been wanting a better camera, so I guess this is sort-of a blessing. I wanted to know if any of you had any tips on what cameras you like best, or what features you really love. Also, have you found any stores that tend to have better deals? Any tips would be great!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's

So these look so nasty to me, but I am curious if they appeal to anyone else?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What is something on your "to-do" list this summer?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spotlight Member - Heidi's Answers


1. What is your age and physical description?
42, I'm short, blue eyed, dark blond/light brown hair, freckled (that sounds so much better than blotchy) complexion, not thin (that sounds so much better than overweight), usually smiling.

2. Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in Missoula, MT and now live in Alabama. I've also lived in AZ, ID, UT, NH, and OR

3. What do you do for a living?
I am a full time, stay-at-home mom. Before I married I was the Registrar at Utah State University.

4. What is your favorite and least favorite color?
Favorite: Red
Least? I honestly don't have a color I don't like.

5. Did you go to college and get a degree, If so, where & what?
Yes. I got a BS from Utah State University and an MA from Montana State University (both in History - I studied American History, especially Black History).

6. How many children do you have? How old are they?
One - she is 2. We'd like to have a bigger family but I'm a little old for that (but not necessarily too old) so we're interested to see how our family will grow.

7. What’s your favorite and least favorite food?
I love Indian food and Thai food and Italian food.
I HATE, HATE, HATE all kinds of seafood/fish. YUCKO!

8. Are you right or left handed?

9. Do you play any instruments?
None well but I took Violin and Piano lessons when I was a kid. I still play the piano a bit but the violin playing never made it past the painful scratching-sound phase.

10. What are your hobbies?
I love to cook, sew, crochet, blog, find ways to teach my daughter, support my husband in his art and music, and serve in the YW program.

Make You Think...

11. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Shirley Temple. If I was younger I would have wanted to win American Idol (but it didn't exist way back then).

12. What is your biggest fear?
Not living up to my divine mission/potential/worth.

13. Who has touched your life and influenced you the most and why?
"Most" is a huge word. Phil, my husband, has influenced me greatly. We are truly best friends and I've learned so much about faith and sacrifice and obedience from him. My mom has also been a huge influence on me. Both these people are always progressing, learning, becoming better and I think that is awesome.

14. If you could accomplish just one thing with your life, what would that be and why?
Live my life in a way that Heavenly Father is pleased with my contributions to His Kingdom. This includes being a good wife and mother as well as whatever else He has in store for me.

15. What is your worst habit and if you could quit it, would you?
Indulging my sweet tooth. Obviously I wouldn't because I could quit and I haven't.

16. Who would play you in the movie of your life? Who would play your husband?
I had no idea how to answer this and so I asked my husband and here is his answer:
Meg Ryan (me)
Tim Robbins (him)

17. What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life and why?
Currently the soundtrack of my life consists of lots of Primary music, Kids Stuff (by Voice Male - my husband's group), and Miss Melody's Sing Along. Why??? Because I have a two year old.

18. If you could meet any one person in history, who would it be, and why?
Jesus Christ - if I really only get one. I think the "why" is obvious. Aside from Him, I'd love to meet several Book of Mormon prophets, Abraham Lincoln, Susie King Taylor, Anna Julia Cooper, Charlotte Forten Grimke, Samuel Willard, Joan of Arc, Socrates, Zoroaster ... It isn't fair to ask a historian this question. These are all people I've studied and found fascinating and I'd love to really meet them and learn from them.

19. If you lost everything you have tomorrow, what three things would you save and why?
Computer - it has so much documentation on it.
Box of Historical Writings - I worked hard on those and I want to keep them.
Artwork - created by my husband because he worked hard on those and I want to keep them.

I'm sure I will think of a different list tomorrow though...

20. What is your favorite quote and why?
"In matters of preference, bend like the willow. In matters of principle, be firm as the oak." - attributed to Thomas Jefferson (although I haven't been able to verify that).
I just think this is good because so much of life is preference and we needn't get all fussy and rigid about it but when it comes to things that really are principle, we need to be willing to be uncompromising.

Just For Fun

21. Do you sleep with the closet door open or closed?
usually closed.

22. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Poor grammar, but I'm getting less peeved about that all the time (a toddler will do that for you).

23. Where are the top three places you'd like to travel to?
Greece, Israel, South Africa.

24. Do you ever dance for no reason even though there’s no music playing?

25. What size is your bed?

26. What do you drink with dinner?
Water. Once in while we'll have "Kissing Juice" (which is generic Crystal Light with two flavors mixed making it tart and therefore creating a pucker - see, "kissing juice" - my dad made that name up).

27. What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Most old time musicals, Princess Bride, Charade, One Fine Day.

28. What was the first concert you went to?
John Denver (don't think less of me)

29. What is on your perfect pizza?
It depends on the day. I love traditional pizzas like Hawaiian but I also like BBQ Chicken or Spinach Alfredo.

30. What's the most exotic place you've traveled to?
Probably Italy but Switzerland is a close second.

Spotlight Member- June 1st

Sorry I've been such a slacker when it comes to posting Spotlight Members! To say life has been hectic lately would be an understatement! But I'm back with this week's Spotlight Member...

Heidi, click here to find the Spotlight Member survey. Copy and paste it into a new post, fill in your answers and if possible include a recent picture of yourself. We're excited to get to know more about you!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Girl's Night Out ideas

I think this may have been a post before, but I couldn't seem to find it.... but does anyone have some fun girl's night out ideas? I'm looking for some things to do that are free, but still lots of fun.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

On a scale of 0 to 10, how spontaneous are you? (0 being not at all, 10 being very).

cute idea for planning your summer

Click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunday Newspaper

For those of you that are also into the couponing, I was curious how you get the Sunday newspaper. I haven't been able to locate any specials in our area, for just the Sunday paper. In fact, it's actually quite a bit more expensive to have it delivered to my house. However, I don't like to have to break the Sabbath by buying a paper every week either. I've been trying to find a box at a gas station or somewhere, that we can just get one outside. I was wondering what the rest of you do though. Do you have it delivered to your house?

Monday, May 25, 2009

My money saver

It's not much but my husband and I save money by cutting each others hair. His is easy, I learned about 4 years ago and at first it took me an hour to cut his hair, now I'm down to 15 minutes. My hair is plain and simple, he just cuts it strait across the back. If I wanted a certain style I'd go to a salon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Will you/Do you give your kids an allowance? How will you/do you teach your kids about money?

Wednesday Weekly

Describe the weather conditions on your perfect weather day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coupon Sense

Does anyone use Coupon Sense or any other coupon-ing site? I'm wanting to get better about using coupons and saving money, especially for getting my food storage built up, but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to saving money. Spending money is definitely my strength! :D I don't mind paying for the help, but I want to be sure that I'll save enough for it to be worth it. Any thoughts you all have would be great!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fun for free

What places/events do you and your kids utilize in your community that cost little or no money?

Freezer Tips

Every Friday on my blog I post a recipe or some other food-related thing. As I was doing this week's I thought, I should share this on Sugar and Spice. And so I am.

Here are some ways I use our freezer. We have a deep freeze but any of these would work in a conventional freezer too. For me it is largely about convenience. I'm lazy like that. It is also a way I can make good use of grocery deals and save some money.

  • I've already blogged about freezing cheese. See here for that.
  • I've already blogged about freezing fresh chicken strips or breasts so that they aren't all clomped together when you are ready to use them. See here for that. Also, this same concept works for pork chops or steaks or any other kind of meat.
  • Did you know that you can freeze fresh spinach? I wasn't sure so I did a little googling and found that about half the people said "no way!" and the other half were divided in the ways you could do it. Some said to blanch it first, some said it had to be fully cooked, but some said to just buy the washed and dried stuff and stick it in your freezer. I like that idea. I had just purchased a HUGE amount at Sam's Club and was anxious to not waste it. So I pulled out my trusty qt. sized freezer Ziploc (no, I'm not being paid) and made several serving-sized bags and threw them in the freezer. It worked great! Here is the important tip: don't thaw it out. Take it straight from the freezer and steam it immediately. I've made several batches of spinach pasta (see here for a great tutorial and recipe) and it really does work great. You can use it in anything that calls for steamed or cooked spinach. Obviously it doesn't come back well enough to use in a green salad or anything that calls for raw spinach.
  • I hate fatty hamburger. I've been paying the $4/lb for the really lean stuff but then I see the 80% stuff on sale for $1.50/lb and I think, "even when I subtract the weight of the fat it is a better deal." So what is a frugal-and-trying-to-be-healthier girl to do? Well, I bought the 80% and fried up the whole thing (several pounds). Then I drained and RINSED it to get all that yucko fat off. Then I took out the Ziplocs and created several bags of pre-cooked ground beef. This has been AWESME because I can pull it out to make any number of things (tacos, sloppy Joes, spaghetti, pasta bake, etc.) and my meat is already cooked. One less step for me and one less pan to wash for Phil. If this isn't a win/win I don't know what is. I got cheap meat, made it less unhealthy and I get the convenience of pre-cooked meat. Voila! (Oh, I still buy the expensive 95% stuff for those rare times we have hamburgers or some other recipe that won't work with pre-cooked hamburger - like meatloaf or something.)
  • Cottage Cheese freezes pretty well so if you find a good deal on it, stock up and put some in your freezer.
  • Butter freezes just fine so you can stock up on that too when there is a sale.
  • If you grind your own wheat into flour, you should freeze the flour that doesn't get used immediately. It retains the nutrients better in the freezer than at room temperature.
  • Bacon bits (either that you create or if you buy the big bulk bag) can just be kept in the freezer and then used as needed. They will last much longer in the freezer.
  • Yeast should be kept in the freezer and just used from there. This will keep your yeast much fresher and it will perform better for you. While we are on the topic of yeast, I highly recommend Fleishman's Yeast found at Sam's in bricks. I open one brick and dump it into a freezer Ziploc and then keep it in the freezer.
  • My freezer also has lots of frozen veggies. Whenever there is a deal on frozen corn or beans or broccoli (Eden's favorite) or stir fry or whatever, I stock up.
  • Cake freezes great. Make cupcakes and freeze half of them for the next time. (Frosting freezes ok but it is messy so it works best to freeze them before frosting.)
  • Breads and rolls freeze pretty well too. This recipe freezes and then thaws out really great and tastes yummy after freezing too!
  • Pizza dough freezes well. This recipe is the one I use and it makes two pizzas. We don't eat two pizzas at a time and so I take half the dough and put it in a freezer Ziploc (really, no payment) and then I have a pizza crust just waiting to be used. Do not defrost in the microwave though. It will kill the yeast and your dough will be flat and tough. Take the dough out of the freezer at least two hours before you intend to use it.
  • And now, for my number 1 favorite thing in the freezer:
Ice Cream!

What's in your freezer?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

Who is most likely to pinch pennies in your marriage?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

show and tell

I found this idea on some blog (can't remember which one). The idea was for a "Rainy Day Suitcase" full of fun things to use when the weather is yucky. Well I decided to make a "I have a new baby brother and my mommy might need a break" suitcase for two of my nieces. It was a combined birthday present for them. I went to Salvation Army and found this old blue suitcase for $3, then used a hot glue gun to attach $1 ribbon and buttons my sister found. Then we both bought clearance items, dollar store items, Target dollar spot items, etc... to fill the suitcase. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of the stuff inside before we sent it to the girls. I really like how it turned out, and from what I hear the girls were super excited!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day gift from ward

So it totally doesn't matter, but I think it's fun to hear what wards give to the women on Mother's Day. My ward gave out a handful of Lindt truffles and Ghirardelli chocolates wrapped in cellophane with a quote from President Monson. Definitely had a woman's touch, though I could be wrong about that. Maybe it was all created by the brethren?

What did your ward give out?

Getting together for less

With Money-Saving May in mind, I have been thinking about ways in which you can get together with friends and neighbors without spending too much. I like to have people over for dinner and will continue to do so, but it can get pricey. Here are some alternatives that are fun and allow you to get-to-know people better in your home.

Have your friends over for:

1. Family Home Evening (did this tonight, so fun)
2. Potluck dinner (and maybe choose a theme: all appetizers or Mexican or Italian...)
3. Dessert
4. Playdate
5. Book Club or other hobby

Can you add to my list??

Laura's Show and Tell

Every year I have a blast making my daughters' birthday cakes (this year's were the castle for the 5 yr old and the horse for the 3 yr old). So, when I saw an ad for Wilton cake decorating classes at Michael's, I signed up. The first course was just four Mondays in April, and I learned SO much! I've always been able to decorate cakes (like the bday cakes) by shaping them or putting stuff on them, but I couldn't do cool things with the frosting itself--I thought that seemed too much like painting, which is VERY intimidating. The class covered the basic frosting techniques and tips, including taking a picture (like the alligator) and transferring it onto the cake. Plus we learned how to make roses, which is very cool to know! I highly recommend the class, and I'll definitely be signing up for the next one.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a wonderful mother's day to all you ladies and the wonderful ladies in your lives!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Weekly

What was the first job you ever had?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stephanie's Spotlight

My daughter and I on a recent trip to UtahMy daughter didn't really cooprate for this one, but it's the most recent family pic I have!


1. What is your age and physical description? 26, around 5 ft, 5 1/2 inches, and average build I guess. I have dark blonde/light brown hair and blue-green eyes. I never get to say one word answers for those questions, wish it was more simple!

2. Where were you born and where are you now? I've lived in Michigan my whole life, kind of boring I guess. I grew up in a small town and traveled an hour away to attend college. I met my husband at school, and when we finished we stayed in MI. We've just never had a reason to venture farther away. We have jobs here, and our families are only an hour away!
3. What do you do for a living? I am a Neonatal nurse, and I work two nights a week in a NICU. Because I only work eight shifts a month, I am home quite a bit with my daughter as well, as a homemaker. Sometimes I struggle with insecurities, and worry what all the other SAHM's think of me at church. I always hope they don't think I am choosing career over my child, by working part time. But our situation calls for the extra income and health insurance, so I have learned to be grateful to have a job that is flexible, allows me to be home most of the time, and is something that I love and find rewarding.

4. What is your favorite and least favorite color? Favorite is yellow, though not to wear. I just like how cheery it is. Least-maybe gray?

5. Did you go to college and get a degree, If so, where & what? MSU, BSN

6. How many children do you have? How old are they? I have a daughter that is 2 1/2. We have struggled with secondary infertility for quite some time now...hopefully our family will be blessed with an addition sometime soon.

7. What’s your favorite and least favorite food? Pizza and Mexican food are my faves. I'm not too picky of an eater, but the first thing that came to mind was jello with carrots in it. YUCK!

8. Are you right or left handed? Right

9. Do you play any instruments? Not anymore. I played the saxophone throughout school. I wish I played the piano.

10. What are your hobbies? I love scrapbooking, and doing other crafty things that aren't too complicated. I'm not much of a sewer (yet). Also reading and outdoor exercise like running, biking, and tennis. I've always enjoyed shopping and getting a good deal, so lately I've gotten really into the couponing thing and tried to focus my energy on saving money instead of spending it!

Make You Think...

11. What did you want to be when you grew up? I've actually wanted to be a Mom and a Nurse for as long as I can remember, definitely since I was a young child. So score, I accomplished that!

12. What is your biggest fear? Something happening to my makes my breath literally catch in my throat

13. Who has touched your life and influenced you the most and why? I know we're supposed to answer one specific person, but I feel like I carry around bits and pieces of a lot of people that together help influence me and mold me into the person I want to be. My mother, amazing friends, random mothers from church who were examples to me, home and visiting teachers, etc.

14. If you could accomplish just one thing with your life, what would that be and why? Same as everyone else, raising a family that is strong in the gospel. My lifetime personal goal is to have the kind of steadfast, immovable faith that allows me to face anything life throws at me without doubting, questioning, or complaining.

15. What is your worst habit and if you could quit it, would you? Rrrrghhh, you got me. I am quilty of getting caught up in gossip now and then. Part of working with a bunch of young, catty women. Yes, I am constantly trying to quit!

16. Who would play you in the movie of your life? Who would play your husband? This one's hard for me, I really don't know. Maybe Kate Hudson? Not because I look anything like her, but because I think she can be sweet but also pretty spunky and a little sarcastic. That's probably a bit like me! And maybe John Cusack for my husband? He has dark hair, and it seems like he always plays the nice guy...

17. What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life and why? My soundtrack would have the biggest variety of music you've ever heard. My ipod has everything from Kenny Chesney to Beyonce, with a little Josh Groban and a band from the 70's! I get bored listening to the same thing, so I'd have to say my life soundtrack would have to "keep it interesting" as well!

18. If you could meet any one person in history, who would it be, and why? I'd love to go back and meet some of my ancestors. My great great grandparents came over from Germany. My great grandparents were farmers who had 13 children. I love listening to the stories from my grandma's childhood. It always makes me realize that I am a bit of a whiner, and we don't realize how good we have it!

19. If you lost everything you have tomorrow, what three things would you save and why? You guys make me feel quilty with the whole "my scriptures" thing. Am I horrible for thinking I could just get more? Granted, I would miss all my markings. But it would be good motivation to start studying again! Aside from my family I would grab my scrapbooks, my safe with important documents and picture CD's etc, and an heirloom such as the rocking horse Mitch's grandpa made for Skyler.

20. What is your favorite quote and why? I love President Monson's motto "Find Joy in the Journey." And my favorite scripture has always been D&C 121:7-8, "Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high..." I always try to keep in mind that this span of life is just a small speck in the eternal scheme of things. And that I need to enjoy this time and find happiness, instead of getting caught up in the small insignifcant things. I say try, because, well it's a work in progress!

Just For Fun

21. Do you sleep with the closet door open or closed? I guess I would prefer closed, because that would mean my room was clean. But in all honesty, it's probably usually open!

22. What is your biggest pet peeve? I have a lot unfortunately, but for some reason they aren't coming to mind. My husband does this thing that drives me CRAZY. Whenever he does dishes, he leaves the drain thing off, so that the sink gets clogged and I have to go fishing in disgusting filthy water and unclog the drain. I know, I know, at least he does dishes. Good thing I love that guy, I guess I'll let it slide!
23. Where are the top three places you'd like to travel to? Hawaii, Europe, and Australia

24. Do you ever dance for no reason even though there’s no music playing? Of course!

25. What size is your bed? Queen-it's perfect. A full wasn't enough space, but if we had a King my husband wouldn't cuddle with me at all!

26. What do you drink with dinner? Usually milk

27. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, Just Like Heaven, Serendipity, The Family Man, Boys and Girls, A Walk to Remember, Elf

28. What was the first concert you went to? I think it was Backstreet Boys in high school. Embarassing! In my defense, it was for my younger sister who was completely smitten!

29. What is on your perfect pizza? Pepperoni and green olives, with a thick crust!

30. What's the most exotic place you've traveled to? I haven't done a lot of traveling. I went on a curise to the Bahamas with my family in high school, and a cruise to Mexico with my husband last year.

Saving Money and Heidi Show and Tell

My daughter is tall and skinny (wish she'd gotten that from me). This means that her pants never fit. By the time they fit in the waist they are too short in the leg. The solution? Altering. Here are her 18 month pants cut off for summer shorts. I also added a belt on one of the pairs. I also made some capris out of another pair but she was wearing and napping when I took these pictures.

These aren't fancy but they are one way I can "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" (one of Pres. Hinckley's favorite sayings).

We bought these sweats at the thrift store. She wore them long until they were just too short so then I cut them off to be shorts. The flower covers up a little hole. Doing a zigzag hem stitch is easy and cute.

I bought these on clearance at Target. She wore them as long pants until her legs got too long. Now they are cute shorts. The embellishment on the pocket was already there and I just used a metallic thread for a zigzag hem to match.

These are my favorites. I originally bought the pants at the DI while we were in Utah. She wore them until they were both too short and she'd worn a hole in the knee. I added the fabric cuff and tie belt and a matching heart on the back pocket (not shown). I love that this pair of pants are in their third life.

This skirt was a dress. The bodice was cute but never fit her well. It was too low and gaped. I cut the skirt part off, removed the zipper and sewed it back together. She put it with this belt of mine and it just cracked me up. She looks like a little gypsy.

The thing I like most about all of these projects is that I didn't have to buy a single item for them. I used scraps and fabric and buttons and things I just had or re-purposed things. It is a great way to be frugal and creative and earth-friendly all at once.