Monday, January 30, 2012

From the Mouth of Babes

I have recently been re-assigned in my church assignment. For the past three years I have worked with the young women (12-18) teaching lessons, participating/planning weekly activities, camp, conferences, dance, volleyball, basketball, etc. I now teach the 3-4 year old class (aka Sunbeams) on Sunday. (I'm actually still assigned as the YW Camp Director which I find to be the best of both worlds because I love Girls Camp!).

I have an assigned co-teacher and we rotate and teach the Sunbeam class every other Sunday. This allows us to go to our own Sunday School and Relief Society meetings every other week (blah blah blah opinion as to how it should go - however, that is how our ward does it, and who am I to question the inspiration and direction provided by those in the bishopric and primary presidency - so I'm trying not to mumble).

Anyway, I wanted to share a few of things that the kids have said in our January lessons so I can remember...

Teacher: What does it mean for you to be a child of God?
Sunbeam H: It means I'm Jesus' baby.

Teacher: What makes you happy?
Sunbeam A: When my mom is sick.
Teacher: Well that doesn't sound very kind, why does that make you happy?
Sunbeam A: Because it means she's having a baby and I'm happy when my mom has a baby. Do you think my mom could be sick again soon?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I Got An Email With $102 In It!

Seriously - I really did - and it's awesome.

You see, we get our car insurance policy renewal information by email and I got our bill for our next 6 month premium that is $102 less than we paid last August! I have no idea why it went down and they clearly state that our next premium will be what we previously paid - but I am happy for the relief to our budget - even if only temporary.

Actually, I believe that shopping around for insurance is one of the best ways to reduce your monthly budget. "Because, as every housewife knows, the first check you write is for the mortgage, but the second is for the insurance." (If you can name that movie we are GREAT friends :))

Anyway, I personally shop around and compare our insurance rates about once a year - or when I'm feeling strapped for cash. I can't do much about our mortgage payment (though I can tell you the going interest rate because I always keep track in case it would be a benefit to me) but I can save on insurance.

I know that some people love their insurance company - and truthfully - if all costs were equal we would go back to State Farm in a heartbeat because we love our agent (he still provides some of our life insurance and our ring policy) and they have great response times in emergencies (we flooded our basement twice and had a fender bender so we can speak from experience). But rates aren't equal and we have saved several hundred dollars a year by switching.

I have no loyalty to an insurance company - I have a loyalty to the hard earned money we have and how it affects my families bottom line. This was actually a really difficult lesson to learn - because I felt a sense of loyalty to an agent or a sense of responsible to help him keep making money. I felt that it was connected to friendship and insurance has always been a loaded relationship for me. But - I finally decided - to get loyal to my family and our finances.

So I shop around - often - I do the work to switch when the savings are great enough. And I love getting an email meaning I have $102 more to spend in February - maybe we will eat out after all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Learning to Say Thanks

My sister is the best person I know for sending notes, cards, thanks, etc. Rarely a holiday has past that I haven't received of her kindness and thoughtfulness. This isn't a virtue that I inherited but it is one that we want to instill in Addison. So, the Sunday after Christmas, we gathered around the table to make thank you notes for all the people that sent/gave Addison gifts. She did the painting and I wrote a quick little message. As she gets older, she'll be privileged to do both.

I saw a recipe online to make my own finger paint out of flour, water, and food coloring. And since Addison spent more time licking the paint then actually painting - it was good that it was edible. Oliver gave it a taste after she kept licking away and it didn't taste good at all...silly girl.

All I did was add about 2 tablespoons of white flour with a little water to make a thin paste and then added a few drops of food coloring. To make painting extra easy for Addison and her VERY short attention span, I taped a piece of waxed paper to the kitchen table and then every 15 seconds or so I laid a clean piece of paper over her work and "picked it up" creating 20 pictures in less than 5 minutes. I just kept dropping color of paint onto the waxed paper in between each picture and she kept eating and smearing. She was more than done after 5 minutes - but we got enough "works of art" to mail to everyone that loves her so much!

(Now if I could just get my act together and get them in the mail - that would be a miracle. I did buy stamps on Friday night so I'm hopeful. Either way - it's the thought that counts - right? Okay, I know, wrong - so I'm trying really hard!)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Too Good to Pass Up

I wasn't going to share my awesome find from today - but then I realized that millions of people don't read my blog - and those 20 that do should are people I love and they should get a great find too. So, without further ado, I paid $2 for all of the tape below!

Awesome - is it not?!?

Anyway, Target routinely marks their Christmas stuff down to 90% off on January 6th. From some stores it is 70% on January 6th and then 90% off on January 7th. Don't ask why I know that - I'm just an idiot savant I guess.

Anyway, what most people don't know is that anything they got specifically for Christmas they mark down to 90% off - all over the store. So not only can you purchase picked over ugly Christmas decor - but also wrapping paper, bags, plates, cups, napkins, parchment paper that says holiday on the outside, plastic wrap, home decor pillows, and some years even TAPE!

The other secret is that it isn't marked as clearance and it isn't in the Christmas section. So, if you are in the mood to hunt the aisles of Target, there are some great deals to be had. This tape was in the Office Supply section where the tape always is - I just grabbed the ones that said gift or looked somewhat holiday promising and then went looking for a scanner to check. They were listed on the shelf sticker as $2 like always - but scanned in at $0.20! And who doesn't need tape.

I was actually at Target buying clearance shoes for Addison (this is the time of year that Target always clearances their shoe section) and just happened upon the tape. I started at the AF store and bought the above pictured tape and then had to go back to the Sandy Target to return a pair that didn't fit her and they didn't have any tape.

But, if you're out and shopping anyway, hopefully you score some twenty cent tape - and if not - hopefully you can remember my Christmas Clearance secret for next year!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 - Never Posted

I have all these things that I wanted to post last year that I just never got around to. Like Addison's 1-year pics...Anyway, this week I'm going to try to get some things from last year captured.

Our big house project last year was transforming our master bedroom. The project was finally completed with Oliver's Christmas gift to me - so I guess you could say it isn't that old of a project. The first pic is what our room looked like when we bought it. Don't you just love the black curtains :) We have window seats in every bedroom in the upstairs and don't need the storage it provides in our bedroom so we decided to turn it into a reading nook instead.

This was Oliver's first time taking out walls, adding electric sockets, adding drywall, etc. I had some experience mudding/taping from my mission (I spent 9 months, 4 hours per week, volunteering for habitat for humanity in California as part of my mission service. I even fell off the roof (which is a story for another day) :) So between the two of us - and a little help from a neighbor - the new reading nook looked like this.

Then, I don't really have any pictures from the painting saga - which included Home Depot mixing the wrong color in the second can and me just thinking it was darker because it was wet. Then taking all the tape off just to have to re-paint. UGH! If you're OCD like me you can still tell in some spots.

But below you can see the new paint color, the little reading nook, and mostly it was to document Oliver's gift of organization to me. We turned the wall when you walk into our room into our little planning area and we actually use it! Because our office is in the basement we weren't really using the calendar downstairs - but this seems to be working.

Also, I tried my hand at DIY artwork for the first time to finish off the wall space in our bedroom. I don't know if you've noticed - but big wall art is EXPENSIVE! So I bought a $9 canvas from Hobby Lobby and used leftover wall paint to paint toilet paper and wrapping paper tubes and make my own 3D art for above our bed. We love it!

Stay tuned for more missing documentation from 2011.

PS The guitar was Oliver's other gift to me (he got it as his white elephant gift from work) so I need to learn a couple of things apparently - because I know nothing about guitars at all!