Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SFOM Campout

My family had the opportunity to go on the SFOM campout. It was awesome and a huge success for the group. Sometimes I don't realize how much I am blessed to be apart of things that are bigger than just my cute family. So there were about 7 families all with multiples and these sweet families kept my children so busy I hardly saw them all weekend. I am definitely signing up for this next year.
The group rented out a great family campsite up near Mt. Vernon and it was so much fun to see everyone had a great time and relax. It was enclosed and so I didn't worry much about the kids escaping the campsite. I did however worry that Adele would go home with someone else, she seemed to cling on to other adults over me or Clif. I hope that she didn't bother anyone, but everyone seemed to really enjoy her.

Super cool tree to take a picture in, the kids didn't seem to want to cooperate but I think this one turned out mildly well. This is near the beach trail that we hiked down to on Saturday. I really loved the weather and sunshine. It was supposed to rain but it hardly did all weekend.

Cute Adele, she always had this cheesy grin on her face and says CHEESE when you pull the camera out. It is super fun for us t0 take pictures since she is always so agreeable. The twins, not so much.

On Saturday we went down to the river about 1/2 mile away. There was a great little path that we hiked lined with ripe blackberries. We took twice the amount of time to walk to stop and eat the blackberries. It was a dream. My kids were not even hungry for the snacks since we stopped every 10 feet to get more handfuls of them. So much fun for our family.

Near the river was a sandy beach that the kids got to played in and threw rocks with their dad. Clif enjoyed it too it seemed, and he doesn't particularly like the beach. He showed the kids how to skip rocks. The kids kept picking up rocks half their size but it was the effort that counted right?

Cute one of MyraJean.

This is Evelyn, she looks like she was talking. Either that or she was telling me that her hands were dirty. Breakfast on Saturday, pancakes and syrup with sausage. I thought Clif and the kids were in heaven they had so much fun.

Whenever we go camping the main thought is there enough food. Hence the pictures showing us what we ate. This year as in years past, we succeeded in bringing enough. I made blueberry muffins and foil dinners. There was a pot luck dinner on Saturday and Clif and I made a dutch oven dump cake. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think we will do that again the next time we go. Over all we brought enough food and snacks that I didn't worry about the kids starving for the weekend.

Aren't the twins cute? If you notice, Evelyn has a cup in her hand. She and the other kids carried these cups around and collected dirt and rocks to play with. I am so glad that I "remembered" to bring these toys for the kids to play with. I have never seen kids have so much fun with used plastic cups and spoons. Adele was the worst though, and she screamed anytime we took the cups from her. She also ate every huckleberry she could get her hands on, which was a lot. I am glad that Clif knew they were OK to eat though, since I couldn't keep her out of them.

He has so much of his dad in him. I thought this was such a great picture. I loved going camping with my little family. It was so relaxing and we just played. We ran around and did nothing but played. Warning to those that play tag with my kids, Liam is FAST, and you don't want to be "it" from Evie, she whacks on the back hard. Still we had so much fun, scrapes, owies, tiredness, and dirtiness aside. I will treasure this opportunity and the sweet memories that we got from it. Not to mention, we made some awesome new friends. It was so fun and I can't wait to do it next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Manna from Winco.

As an LDS mom with 4 kids 5 and under in today's economy, I have a really hard time budgeting my family on 400 dollars a month. This 400 dollars includes diapers, food, clothing, gas, and any family extras. This includes any holidays, vacations, gifts for others, or taking my kids out for treats. Did I mention that I live in the Seattle area, where food, clothing, and any extras are really expensive for me and I feel the money crunch most of the time.
I have become the most frugal person I know. I shop only garage sales, use the local Freecycle (like crazy), accept hand me downs graciously and shop the local Tukwilla trading company and Winco for groceries. Why would I travel 30 minutes by van since both of these stores are on the south side of Seattle and we live on polar opposite side and use my gas to grocery shop? Because I can make my money stretch to the point of hilarity. The picture below is a typical shopping trip for me and I spent only 120 on that trip. I do only shop once every 2 weeks and it not only must last us those 2 weeks but it must replace our food in our storage.

Did I also mention that I have a huge garden that is not producing well this year but I have canned like crazy out of our garden in years past. We do home canned pinto beans (large bags from the store), green beans, carrots, beets, pickles, relish, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, pears, peaches. I make freezer jam after picking the berries (raspberries) or getting a crazy deal like 88 cents a lb (strawberries). I freeze the rhubarb out of the garden and store the winter squash for the winter and can the pumpkins after Halloween. Our prophets continually tell us to be diligent with our finances and to store for times of need. In this economy I know this has become so important but we do it since we were hard up in AZ.

So that was the explanation but here is the reason why. I want to brag, I may not be talented with fashion, or can sew, or musically inclined. But I can be crazy frugal and keep my storage up. So here is my weekly blog, my ability to live off of 400 a month, ready?.....

This is what it look like on a typical Winco run. What you cant see in on the bottom there are 6 gallons of milk as well. This one cost my 120 for the two weeks. Have to say I am pretty proud of myself. I don't use coupons, I find that I don't generally eat snack items or name brand items. That leaves me with sale items or shopping certain things that are only in season to get the lowest price.

These are the two freezers and refrigerator in my basement that are filled with the food that will not fit upstairs in my cutesy 1940's era house.

This is the meat freezer that has all the pig and beef bought from Clif's relatives and brought back to Seattle and also all the good deals on chicken that I can find.

This is my dairy, fruit, and veggie freezer. What you don't see is that it is filled to the bottom. I also keep the lunch meat and extra turkey in here.

This is my fridge that we brought from our house in AZ. We decided that our very older model fridge upstairs didn't have enough room for the 5 dozen of eggs or the 6 gallons of milk so we plugged it in and use it extensively.

So this is my dry storage. I keep all my store bought items here. This includes also our cleaning items. Upstairs in our closets keeps our hygienic items that we have. I think I have about 6-12 months storage of those items but it is not very impressive since the closet is also our linen closet.
Like I said, I am not crafty and I am not good at the typical motherly things, but this has to count as a talent. I have really enjoyed learning how to be frugal and have realized that I have talents that I was able to hone. I love to garden and can my veggies and fruit. I know how to balance a budget and to make good financial decisions. Hopefully this doesn't come off as total bragging, I promise that I will not post this again, but I want to blog it once for record.

Sleepwalker or Frankstein, you choose

Liam fell out of his twin sized low to the floor bed last night. Can you believe the damage? We're not quite sure if he was totally awake or not. He sure was after he fell... oh my what a night.
I know the picture doesn't show it, but his eye is bruised, we are really lucky it is not a black eye.
So now that I see this, it really looks fine but in reality his upper lip is totally still swollen. His right eye is not black or swollen but has a nice blue and green bruise that is pretty. Wish I could wear eye make up that was that pretty.

This shows the damage. What is crazy is that the last time he fell and hit his lip on the girls crib he hit the other front tooth. I guess that I need to say is that we are lucky we weren't in the emergency room. Crazy what damage happens when they fall 1 1/2 feet off the bed to the floor. CRAZY!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I am amazing. Look at my new beds!

This is what I found on freecycle this week. I am so amazing.. Yes, yes be amazed!


Got my kids and I dentist appts. This was too cute not to blog.

Summer time and activities

The other day I went to water the garden and I found to gnomes sunning themselves on my front door step.

We also had the twin annual summer picnic. My sister co presidents the club with my good friend Carrie. It was a smashing success. We had lots of families, crazy amounts of food, and a bouncy house. It was a lot of fun and the kids had a ball running around. It was like 60 degrees though, so if it looked cold it was because it really was.

Ok, this is so pretty of her, and she is never still so I had to add it to the collection of picnic pictures.

This is V-R. She is a super cute baby, she challenges Adele in personality and I love her strong character.

There was this super cool fountain thingie, I tried to get all the kids to look at me. It didn't quite work but it was super cute anyhow.

Did you ever see such a cute family... urg and a cranky Adele? Just thought I would brag.

At least she is smiling in the picture even if she won't look at me.

He is the cutest kiddo ever. Don't you love his cheeks? He wasn't even feeling good but you sure can't tell.
I have a bajillion of these where I have 2 kids in the way and one coming down the slide. But usually I don't have a good one of Evelyn so I was pretty excited

No need for Kindergarten here

Overheard conversation at the dinner table the other night.

Liam: So when you are dead you get buried. Then you get your body back but when you get your body back, people take your bones. Then they send the bones to the factories to be cleaned. When they are cleaned and dried, people package them and put them in bags. So that is where dogs get their bone treats, understand? Now you know because I am older and I already told you, so now you know.

And I lay at night wondering where I am getting the money to put my kids into medical school. Guess I can retire instead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Can't wait

Clif ran the girls bath on Sunday night. He got the bath filled, got the twins undressed and went looking for Adele to undress her. This is what he found, I guess she just couldn't wait. Dude, she is funny!

family fun and raspberries

We went to pick raspberries with my Mom last Tuesday. It was a ball and the kids were so well behaved. My Mom treated us to McD's afterwards and the kids got the largest icecream cones I think they ever saw.

I made 8 batches of freezer jam and adding that to the last 10 batches of strawberry freezer jam, we have a ton of jam. I don't have a picture but I wish I did. This year has been so cold that I have not had pictures of our canning (since it hasn't produced much). Thankfully the only thing I really wanted was squash and I am growing it. Now if I can kill the squirrels that are eating it, I might just be happy.