Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday menu day...

Have you heard of the blog This week for dinner? This week for dinner; and they give you their weekly menu. The comment section is full of other weekly menus as well.

Anyway, I'm posting my own menu here. My goal is to feed my family for under $100 a week. This weeks menu cost $87.13. But if you don't have a well stocked pantry it could cost you more. I had most spices except corn starch. Here it is, each title links to a recipe.






  • Vegetarian Spaghetti - I try to make a vegetarian meal once a week. This is one I made up. Substitute portabella mushrooms as the meat (if you don't like mushrooms, eggplant is a great substitute as well.
  • 1 yellow onion, minced garlic - saute in olive oil until translucent add more olive oil in pan, add 3 chopped portabella mushrooms, salt and pepper and basil. Saute and poor 1 can crushed tomatoes in pan or 1 jar of spaghetti sauce. Done! Serve with green salad.

Saturday and Sunday - I'm out of town this weekend but we usually eat leftovers on Sunday and sometimes on Saturday. Along with serving one vegetarian meal a week I also try and serve fish. Saturday would be our fish day.

The total cost, $87.13 also included snacks and lunch items so the above menu should be cheaper than that. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is stake conference weekend. Last night Kiel rushed home so we could go to the adult session of stake conference. Bruce stayed home with a sitter and we took Rhyan with us. We were able to hear some great talks and then get dessert afterwards. On the drive home, I mentioned that I really didn't want to drag the kids to the morning session on Sunday. And he was silent. I jokingly nudged him and said "you're not going to give me the green light to stay home?" And he just replied "what do you want me to say? It's okay?" And there it was, the nudge I needed, to go.

Now, I can sit here and type up a MILLION excuses of why I have the right to stay home. My babies are small, they need their naps, they don't understand anyway. But instead I will tell you why I go by myself with my babies every Sunday:

I go, because I don't know how to raise a child in this world.

A world, where shootings happen at high school parties. A world where babies are taken out of their safe beds for no reason but for harm to fall on their precious little heads. A world where it is uncool to be a virgin in high school.


I have no idea how to raise a baby in this world.

But I do know, that I was promised my babies would be alright if I bring them to church. If we have family prayer, every day. If we make family home evening a priority. And have family scripture study. I am told these things by my church leaders. I have faith in these things. I believe in them, wholeheartedly.

Now, did Bruce learn anything about Jesus or Heavenly Father today? I can promise you he didn't. I can promise you Rhyan didn't either. And I got to listen to one talk before Bruce made me chase him into the play room, and the play room is where we stayed for the remainder of conference.

But that's okay. We went, we took in our surroundings. We were suppose to be there.

I can say the same, when we get together every night and say family prayer. Does Bruce know what is really going on? Not really. In fact, he probably doesn't like prayer because he associates it with bed time. Some days he sits in his reading chair while we say prayer, other days he takes advantage of our eyes being closed and whacks us on the top of the head. (We now say prayer with at least one eye open.) But he now says "Amen" after we do. He sometimes folds his arms. He sometimes doesn't. But we do know he's learning.

We will continue to do these things. Because sooner than I would like, my babies will not always be in the safety of their home. They will be in public school and around people that do not have the same values and morals I hope to instill in my beautiful babies. They will be tempted and they will fall. But I hope, when they do, they will reach up and grab the iron rod so they can pull themselves back up again.

I know that I am not alone. And I'm not writing this to get a pat on the back. There are many mothers who show up to church alone because they are divorced, widowed or married to non members. Whatever the reason, is not an excuse to stay home. But instead the opposite. The responsibility lies solely on us to set an example for our children.

So did today make a huge difference in their future? Probably not. But you miss one meal, then you miss the nutrients that would have come with it.

Today was a good day. I learned a lot today. A lot about parenting.

And next Sunday, I will do it all over again. But I will be dreading it even more because I have to give a talk in Sacrament.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More about us

Below i posted about our vacation, here is a little more about what's going on in our lives, if you care to read ;) (I happen to find it extremely interesting but I'm also narcissistic.)

I quit my job. I was working 30 hours a week from home and it was very stressful. I hated it. My home life was suffering. I rarely had time to make dinner, grocery shop or sleep. I was going to bed at 2am every night, struggling to get my work done. I made the executive decision to quit. Kiel said ok. Done! Now I'm budgeting better to make up for the economic opportunity loss. I'm back to clipping coupons, checking out the sales, meal planning and making Kiel's lunch.

Kiel put in his transfer paper work for Dublin and a few alternative cities if he doesn't get his first pick, all are in the bay area.

We are house hunting and hope to be home owners by June. We are looking mostly in Brentwood but also in Dublin and Clayton. Brentwood homes are really nice, great schools and decent neighborhoods with low crime rate. Of course Dublin and Clayton are better but what we can afford to buy will get us a 3 bedroom condo versus a 5 bedroom house in Brentwood. Oh the stress and excitement jumbled up in one giant package. We are looking for a home to raise our family in, a great community and a nice neighborhood.

Church is now at 9am. The stress of trying to get two kids ready and myself and be there on time so I can serve in my calling is very overwhelming. I bathed myself and the babies the night before and had the diaper bag packed and ready to go. I was still twenty minutes late. Sacrament is at the end again. I should be there at 8:45 so I can help prep the primary room. Anyway this wasn't the hard part, managing both babies during sacrament was nearly impossible. Bruce was awful. He threw his quiet toys, crawled under benches, tried to escape and succeeded more than once, running up and down the chapel laughing all the way. Then when I pulled out the snacks he insisted on getting them himself and of course made a mess doing so. People must have felt sorry for me because three people got up to help escort me and my two little ones to my car during closing prayer. (We had to leave because Bruce was throwing the biggest temper tantrum.) These are the days I wish Kiel had a normal 9 to 5 job.

Both babies are sick. We see the doctor again today. Rhyan's cough has gotten worse which is not the best news. Bruce just started a cough, so I decided to take him in too.

Bruce is saying a lot of words. He is a talking parrot and surprises me everyday with a new word. He says, poo poos, pee pees, cookie, guck (truck), ca (car), he has some what of a new york accent, he says; Amen, more, hungry (and signs it too), chips, turkey, shoes, lights, on, off, up, down, phew (pee eww), side (outside), out, please, thank you, baby, sissy, mommy, daddy and of course our favorite (eye roll) No and no no and no, stop it. When he says "no no" it means he is doing something he shouldn't. He mimics everything. He is very cute and fun but a handful to say the least. Here he is dancing with his dad.

Bruce got glow in the dark pj's from Omi and Opa for Christmas and absolutely loves them. He asks us to turn off the lights so he can walk around in the dark and check out his pj's in the mirror. He also started walking around with a blanket over his head. He thinks it's funny when he runs into things. And he also started to spin in circles.

He's also a big boy in nursery although he is the youngest in his class. I get reports that he is such a gentlemen and shares his snacks with the ladies ;) Here he is during song time. Of course he doesn't sit in a chair by himself yet.

Rhyan has two bottom teeth that broke through during Christmas vacation. She baby talks all the time. She loves her brother and always tries to talk to him. Bruce talks to her and repeats what she says. Here is a really cute video of Bruce talking to his sister and Rhyan talking back. I apologize for it being poorly filmed. I was holding Rhyan and my phone. But Rhyan gets upset when Bruce stops paying attention to her and then goes back to cooing when she gets his attention.

Rhyan is also rolling over both ways and grabbing her toys. She sits up a tiny bit and started rice cereal today. She is growing up so fast.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Christmas Vacation

(Nothing like the movie)

I guess I'm underlining everything, stupid blogger.

Anyway, I was waiting for my mom to send me pictures from our trip since a) the battery was dead on my camera and the charger is no where to be found and b) Kiel and I always have a baby in our arms which makes it difficult to take pictures. But my technology incompetent mother does not know how to send an attachment in an email, so I'll be waiting for quite awhile. I think she wants to send them snail mail. So, here is what I have scrambled off of our phones and I'll fill in the pieces with my eloquent words of wisdom (you'll be smarter after reading this, if you feel the opposite read the disclaimer at the bottom.)

Shall we start with packing? (I know what you're thinking, "thank goodness the underline is gone!") It took me three days to pack. BUT, I didn't forget anything, at MY house anyway, I can't say that for the stops we made along the way.

These adorable boots deserve a picture of their own. Rhyan's winter wear ;)

Our two week vacation insisted on a lot of driving, Kiel and I decided that driving through the night would be best so the kids would be asleep and we could use our stops to fill up and get back on the road. Yep, we're genius like that. Anyhoo, as you can tell from the picture above or you might have already known because of Facebook (stupid social media, really ruins a good foreshadow) the boy didn't sleep, AT ALL. And we were exhausted as well. Whenever we tried to pull off the road to get some shut eye, the babies would cry, our only solution was to keep driving. Somehow, we made it safely to Frannie's (yep, call her that for now on) where we slept and then packed up to head to Brittany and Gabe's and then to Oregon.
Bruce in the rabbit pen.

Bruce and Luke playing with the bunnies on the front lawn while we pack up the car.

The girl wasn't the best traveler either but as long as she was sleeping we were driving and Bruce was usually hollering. We decided to leave Brittany and Gabe's at around three and hoped the kids would be better travelers. Long story short it was still a nightmare but we made it to my mom's at midnight and promised not to do long drives for a couple of days.

Oregon was a lot of fun. My mom and stepdad, George live on 8 acres, surrounded by a forest. They have chickens and goats and frequent visits from deer and other wild animals. They have a beautiful garden that George takes care of and grow almost anything and everything. They can during canning season and we got to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Home made apple and grape juice, salsa, pickles, beef jerky, and eggs fresh from the farm are just a few of the many things we ate the week we were there. I felt like I gained ten pounds but after hopping on the scale that couldn't possibly be true because it would have meant I weighed my goal weight before the trip.

Nana and papa have a season pass to Wildlife Safari and some friends of theirs gave them a pass for four to feed the lions. Kiel, George and I fed four lions. These are massive animals. We were in a tiny cement hallway with only thick mesh wire keeping us away from these lions, who wanted to eat us. It was amazing to hear them roar and watch them eat and see them up close. The pictures don't do their size justice, but we were RIGHT there.

Afterwards it was too late to drive through the zoo so we visited my Aunt Myrtle, who is the only one left living in my grandmother's generation. It was great to see her and introduce her to our children. It made me wish that my grandma was still alive so she could meet our babies as well.

We also took Bruce to the Umpqua river and on the way back we noticed a pig farm. We stopped and asked if we could visit. We showed Bruce baby pigs and a baby calf. He was more interested in the play set. I didn't grow up on a farm but I raised lambs, pigs and steers for 4-H and rode horses since I was five and was even good enough to compete in Gymkhana and win many gold buckles. I want to get back to riding and maybe even have a horse of my own again and hope to pass some of my skills to my kiddo's. But who knows, Bruce doesn't like to touch the animals just look but he's still young.
Here's a picture of the princess because she's adorable.

We definitely wore the boy out!
Christmas Eve we celebrated with a small group and feasted on all the goodness my parents made. We also opened all of our presents. Growing up, my family holidays have always been split up between both parents. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my mom and Christmas day with my dad. I'm not quite sure what our family tradition will be as far as what day we open gifts but I'm leaning more towards Christmas day. My mom always did a great job of making the holidays fun and a big deal. While we were there we drove through Roseburg park where they had Christmas lights set up throughout the entire park. It was awesome. The rotary club make them every year. As a kid we would drive through the neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights every year. Bruce really enjoyed the lights.

Christmas morning Bruce and Rhyan opened their stockings and gifts they got from Santa. We also went to church. I think Christmas should be on a Sunday every year. I loved going to church on Christmas.
The next day it was time to go halfway home and hang out with our family in the bay area. The ride home was much better than the way up.
The cousins enjoyed sharing their Christmas gifts. Bruce really liked riding in Ashton and Luke's Ford F150. And Luke liked to play with Bruce's police car (tiny, toy police car.)
We also went to Chuck E. Cheese and played with Jacob and Natalie Erlick's little boy. Here's Bruce in another truck. (I think he would gladly trade his reading chair for one of these.)
We had a lovely dinner with my dad and Karen. My only living grandpa was there and he met our children for the first time. It was so fun. We also had dinner at Brittany and Gabe's the night we got into town with Omi and Opa and Celia. Brittany finally had her baby on her due date and we saw little Sophie in the hospital. It was a great trip!

Kiel and I also went house hunting in Brentwood. We've been thinking about buying a home for awhile and we have been looking in the bay area. The homes in Brentwood are huge and decently priced. I've checked out the schools and in the neighborhood we want to buy the elementary school is rated 9/10. Besides it being next to Antioch and Oakley it's absolutely perfect.
Unfortunately the palm tree is in the way and covers up the beauty of this home. It's actually quite massive (3,500 sq ft) and beautiful in the inside. The palm tree would be the first thing to go if we bought this house.
So after driving through, we were sold. Kiel put in his transfer paper work and we are hiring a realtor. We hope to be in one of these babies by June this year! It will be bitter sweet. We love where we live now and the friends we have made but are anxious to have a place to call our own and a ward to raise are children up in.

Merry Christmas all, it was a wonderful vacation and so nice to see everyone~