February 26, 2013

Allison's 6th Birthday!

 I did a carnival theme for Allison's birthday. When the girls first arrived, I gave them a carousel horse coloring page & a paper lunchbag to decorate. Then, we ate corndogs, popcorn, and apples with caramel dip.

I painted some metal washers with nail polish and made them into cute little necklaces for the party. I flipped them all face down, and the girls got to go "fishing" for the one they wanted.
 We used some empty soda cans for another game. The girls even got to pick little Happy Meal stuffed animals for prizes.
 I tried to think of other Midway games at the fair & remembered ones where you won a goldfish or tossed the ball into the fishbowl. I combined that idea with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and this is what I came up with. I thought it was cute!
 We used empty water bottles decorated with duct tape for our bowling pins. Mia was in charge of this game & got to re-set the pins for each person. I was thankful for the help & she enjoyed it too.
 Originally, this was going to be a beanbag toss, but I couldn't find them. - I think they're already packed somewhere. Luckily, I found some balls we had that worked perfectly.
 The girls loved these sticky darts that I found at Dollar Tree. I drew a target on some posterboard, and Mia & Addy colored it. EASY game & Tons of FUN!
After all our fun games, we had some free play time. Some girls played with toys, while others danced to the music. I took the chance to take photos of everyone with the birthday girl. For every set, we took a nice one & a silly one. Aren't these great?
No party birthday is complete without cake & presents. I made her chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting and mini chocolate chips on top.
 When I look back, it may have been crazy-noisy, but it was fun. I was pretty proud of myself too. I actually planned for 16 (including the sisters), and I figure that I only spent about $50 on prizes, supplies, and food. Not bad at all...

Misc. Catch-Up (a little bit)

Well, it's been almost a year since I've shown the blog a little love...Oh well, I think I'll just start from now. Things have gotten a little crazy around here in the last few months with us making plans to move from IL back to AZ. Our house here sold in 4 days! INSANE! After the quick sale, things became a little more definite & I ended up making a house-hunting trip to AZ. It was a crazy few days. I saw about 35 houses in 4 days.

While I was in AZ, we actually offered on 2 different houses. The first one, we were just too late. The second, however went around a little. We offered, heard back that they had other offers, and RE-offered. All this time, the sellers were on vacation & their realtor was trying desperately to reach them. Well, they came home to 3 offers on their home (we were the best), rejected the offers, and pulled the house off the market. JERKS! Either they weren't serious or they think they can get MORE if they wait a little. On my last day, I saw another house that I loved. While I was travelling home, Bryan was getting our offer put in for it. (Yes. House #3). This house was a foreclosure, so the offer had to be approved by the lender which was taking forever. While we were waiting around to hear about this property, there were more offers received (we don't know how we compared). Then, we waited longer, assuming they would send out a multi-counter offer (for everyone to give their best offer so they could pick). Waiting...Waiting...MORE WAITING. During this period, Bryan found another property that is pretty close to the same floorplan with a bigger lot. He decided to pull our offer & offer on property #4.

This one is a short sale, so we knew it might be months of waiting. Things are moving along slowly. The seller was scheduled for foreclosure in February, but it was postponed until May. We hope that it's more cost-effective for the lender to take our offer now on a short sale, rather than go through a full foreclosure later. Another bump in the road...We've found out that the seller has over $23,000 in judgements & liens against them. I guess now we just wait to see if the lawyers & creditors can settle things in a way that the seller can live with. We just wait & hope this can be worked out, so we can buy their home.

In the meantime, we are slowly packing things here. Much of the packing will be done at the last minute, because I still have to live here for another month. I just keep reminding me that STRESS is a normal part of life, right? Opposition & hard times makes us appreciate the good even more. Yeah, I know it, but I want to poke those optimistic people in the eye sometimes.

April 24, 2012

March is LONG Gone...April will Shortly Follow

March was a relatively quite month, until our Birthday Marathon toward the end. This March was particularly special, because Amelia turned 8. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (I am a Mormon), and the age of 8 is when children can choose to be baptized & become members of the Church. We were very happy to have Nana & Papa come from Utah. We were grateful Grandma, Grandpa & Aunt Katy could come from Arizona. It was a great experience for a special little girl. We missed all those who could not attend, but are thankful for those who came tom support her.

Adam got to go on a backpacking trip with the Scouts over spring break. He was a little sad to leave before Grandma & Grandpa left, but he had a good time...He would've complained about our activities anyway.
Since this was Katy's first trip to visit, we took her to Chicago. We had to look around Millennium Park.
The girls LOVED checking out American Girl...
A couple of days after everyone left, we had quite an eventful evening. We lost track of Allison. Last I knew, she was playing on the neighbor's trampoline. Sometimes, she has been known to go inside this neighbor's house. - Though THIS day, I had told her to stay outside. Anyway, we could not find the girl or her friend ANYWHERE. I was out to dinner with Adam, and had to come home. Bryan had banged on the neighbor's doors & drove around the neighborhood, before finally calling the police. I came rushed home & was almost hysterical, when greeted by 4-5 police cars.

I walked through EVERY bit of my house calling Allison's name. - No Luck. Bryan even climbed into the egress to bang on the neighbor's basement window. The Officer banged on the front & back doors after ringing the doorbell repeatedly. I just kept saying that there wasn't any place else she would go.

Then, CRAZY! These two 5 yr old girls come walking between the houses from out the front door to the backyard where we were standing. I grabbed her & took her inside. Come to find out, the neighbor's 14yr old sister was upstairs the whole time. I can't imagine how she freaked when the Lady-Officer entered her house & asked her to call her mother on the phone.

I was SO grateful to find Allison, but come to find out the other girl played "Hair-Stylist" and cut chunks of Allison's hair. I think THIS girl is where I get the MOST gray hairs...
For Mia's birthday, she wanted to get her ears pierced. Well, things were a little crazy around her bday with company & spring break, so we waited a bit. I took her out on a date to get her ears pierced, eat some dinner at the food court & do a little shopping for Easter stuff. The poor thing. She was SO excited, but then she panicked & FREAKED OUT. The associate literally had EVERYTHING ready, and she just started to sob.

So, I took her over to look at all of the different pairs of earrings. After some talking & choosing some super-cute stuff, even promising to get her a "Best Friends" necklace set, she gathered her courage and got back into the chair. Luckily, there were 2 associates working, so they pierced both of her ears at the same time. She was surprised & relieved that it didn't hurt like she was expecting.

She loves her little, pink peace-sign earrings, but can't wait until she can change them out for another pair.
Now that she is 8, Mia gets to participate in Activity Days. The girls in our ward got to do their own Pinewood Derby race. She had so much fun painting her car, then watching the race. She didn't place, but she was 5th out of 13 girls. Not too bad.
Adam got these things in his Easter treats. He thought they were funny. They are!
Misc. shot of Avery enjoying her ramen noodles.
Some shots of the kids with the girls in their new skirts I made for Easter.
 My Guy...
The Flash on my old camera quit working, so it was ind of an excuse to buy a new camera. I LOVE it. I got a new Canon ELPH300, and it has SO many features on it. The "Fish-Eye" is pretty fun...
My favorite thing, is that I can isolate a color & take photos that are mostly black & white with a POP of color. - Cute Baby!
Yes. Laundry. Anyway, this is the pile of Avery's clothes waiting to be sorted & put away. Isn't it cool how the camera can isolate the red/pink colors?
I LOVE this one of Allison.
Cute Adelaide.
The green? It's a little tricky...Lips look a little green.
Cute Girls.
Adam also got to use the weed whacker for the first time. He wasn't thrilled to work, but I think he enjoyed using it.
We had fun at playgroup at the park. Avery loved climbing, but wasn't sure about the slide or the bridge. She didn't like the way she could see through it.
I love this. She came over & sat down to play. She LOVES this guy. Believe it or not, he is only 8mo. old (Avery is 16mo), and he is as big as she is. Oh, well. I just make 'em little. Did you notice her little piggy-tails?
Well, school is almost over & I expect to be very busy. Hopefully, I'll remember to take some time to update things here.

February 26, 2012

My Fun Little Project

Do you ever just ignore those coupons that print out at the grocery store?

I seem to get MORE than my fair share of "$10 off when you change your prescription to ___" coupons. Many times I get coupons for things that I've just purchased (and probably won't need more of before the expiration) and competing or name brands of things I purchase. Sometimes, I get some that say $ of a certain purchase of $ in bread/meat/store brand/etc. Occasionally, I get those coupons for actual $$ off any purchase. Usually, they end up in my pocket or wallet only to be found after it's too late.

Well, recently I received one that I got rather excited about. - I got one from Cub Foods with a code for a free 8" X 8" photobook. I became very excited, because at the very least, we were talking a savings of at least $20 for a softbound book. As I added the code to the site, I was even more surprised to find that it was actually a hard-bound book offer. Wow!

I knew that I'd have to pay shipping. But after having some books printed at Christmas time, I knew that this was a coupon I needed to use NOW.

So, I decided to make a Quiet Book of sorts. I went through all the pictures I had in digital format & selected a TON. I literally crammed as many photos on a page as I thought possible. I ended up keeping things very simple & I love the digital result. I'm hoping the hard-copy will turn out just as good.

I'm not sure why you can't go to full-screen. - If you click the "YouTube" icon, this will open in YouTube with more options. You can then view it larger or full-screen.

The Kids have already been very interested in this project. Because each child has a 2-page spread of just pictures of them, they LOVE to look at those, then go on to others. I am hoping that this will be something that they WE will treasure & look through often.

February 21, 2012

February Fun

Wow...I don't know what has come over me. I mean 2 posts in one month? Yay ME! Anyway, I just had a few pictures I wanted to share of some fun stuff from the last couple of weeks.

I love this picture of Avery. Somehow, I remember the other 3 girls having a bit more hair around a year, but I was still able to force it into a cute little ponytail on her head. - I heard all kinds of giggles and side-comments about "the cute little baby & her tiny pony on top of her head".

I found some big cinnamon rolls at Sam's Club. My kids really like them...ALL of my kids.
My Valentine made me a new pantry. We took down the stuff out of the tiny coat closet & put up some shelves. - I've filled it right up. So far, it's pretty organized...That probably won't last too long. Either way, I love all the extra space I have now. Thanks Honey!
Allison's birthday was on a Tuesday this year. She asked me why the other kids didn't have school on their birthday. Well, one is in the summer, and another is on a Saturday. She did seem to feel better that Adam will have to go to school on his b-day.
She loves her new Belle Dress & can't wait to spend her gift card from Grandma.
Birthday dinner & fun at McDonald's...What could be better when you're 5?
Pose Much?? I love Mia & her Rock-Star pose.
Birthday Girl!
We Love Daddy!
Avery LOVES chicken nuggets. Not only could I hear her yelling from across the restaurant (while I was ordering), she screamed as I approached the table with our food. Crazy little girl ended up eating 8 (yes EIGHT) chicken nuggets. Wow! Poor thing was obviously StARvinG!
My attempt at an Ice Cream Cake. - Not bad. Crust was a little too hard frozen & my ganache topping was a little too rich, but it was yummy with the Strawberries & Cream ice cream that Allison picked.
This last Saturday was our Ward Temple Day. We thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the off-season deals in Nauvoo. Bryan looked around & ended up settling on the Nauvoo Cabins. At first, the kids were bummed out that we would be in a cabin instead of a hotel. However, they were all surprised & LOVED it.
This is the entryway by the door.
To the left just inside the door.
Upon arrival, Adam immediately "called" the top bunk.
 Adelaide & Amelia shared the loft bed.
Avery kept trying to climb the stairs, but they were steep - more like a ladder. The girls took her up to the loft, but Bryan had to bring her down. Then, she was pretty much cured of trying to climb them.
Adam guarding his spot...
Family Photo-Op
 Nauvoo, IL Temple
My Bookends
 The Middles
Allison was VERY disappointed when we were leaving. She started crying & said she wanted to back to the "wood house". She said that our wood house was even better than a hotel. Silly Girl.

Avery traveled relatively well, but had a couple of meltdowns. - It's OK baby, we'll get out of the car soon.
Overall, we are doing well. I've enjoyed the mild winter & actually hope it continues and that this doesn't mean we're in for a crazy-hot summer. But, let's face it. - It doesn't really matter, because I'll be spending part of the summer in AZ where it'll be even HOTTER.