Friday, November 30, 2012

Speaking of Food Storage

Yesterday I shared a heartwarming story of food storage bringing people together.

Today I watched Extreme Couponing.

Now, I've had a LOT of people ask me if I watch this show.  You see, a long time ago I used to be a serious grocery shopping.  Spending lots of time planning and figuring everything out to the T.

And then I had Princess P, and I never really restored to my former glory and then we moved. 

There is a rush of making the deal workout.  It's similar to the rush I get when we're in an emergency at the hospital.

Only problem is, when I couponed I was like 60 pounds overweight.  Maybe more like 80...  And I think it may have had something to do with it.  But, a lot of it is where I was at that point in time.  Who knows why it was but I will say a great majority of the women on extreme couponing are finding their rush in couponing instead of working out.

I love how one lady spends 60 hours a week working on deals so that she can lower her grocery budget.

Newsflash.  I would make over 1500 dollars in a 60 hour week.  My grocery budget is 80'ish.

Not sure it's a good use of her time.  Even if she made minimum'ish wage she'd make around 500 for those 60 hours.  And, most likely she wouldn't be dumpster diving.

So, I feel like I'm currently in the best of all worlds.  It is, I will mention, a lot easier to get better deals on groceries here then it was in CA.  I price match at the Walmart that is just down the street.  I'm pretty sure that I'm getting more/better groceries for less money here.

I spend maybe 30-45 minutes perusing the ads and writing down the goodies in my price point book.  Then, I go through and highlight the best deals/things I need most.  Then, I go online and look for coupons that are on those products.  I add the things we need onto the grocery list and I'm done.  It probably takes around an hour for the whole process.  On a slow week maybe an hour and 15 minutes.

I price match a lot of produce at food city.  I end-up buying a fair amount of my canned goods at the Great Value price as the brand name items are rarely on sale enough to be cheaper then them.

I don't mind not getting the rush, because I'm no obsessing over my grocery list for 3 days before I do it.  And I don't have 40 boxes of fruit snacks sitting my garage waiting for my kids to gorge themselves on them.

My other main beef is all the junk these people are getting.  Vitamin water and coffee wouldn't be on my list anyway.  The insane amounts of soda they're getting.  Yuck.  No bueno.  And what good are 20 frozen pizzas to a family?  I miss getting the body wash and toothpastes for free.  I need to do better about that.

Anyway, I think there's a way to find a happy medium where you're not obsessing but still finding value with your dollar.  Spencer asked me if I was watching hoarders, enough said. :)

Favorite Friday: Rolling Pin

My grandma left me something when she died.

I'm not sure she left anyone else anything.  Sorry.

But after my grandpa died my mom brought me a little something.

It's my great grandma's rolling pin.

Sure, I had another rolling pin, and it probably worse better then this other one, but it's taken a back seat to the "new" one.

You see, my great grandma is someone I really admire.  My mom has told me story after story about the woman she was.  How she could whip up an outfit just by seeing it in the store.  How she was an amazing baker and how everyone knew just who to call when they had a question, because SHE knew the answer.

She died when my mom was a tweenager.  I think.

Do you think that people who have died come to help you sometimes?  Do you think that they watch over and care for you as you make your way through life.

I do.

I think that they have a vested interest in how you're doing and want to assist you in getting back to your Heavenly Father.

I feel her sometimes as I roll out dough.  I think of how my grandma knew I'd be grinding wheat and making my own bread, channeling my great grandmother without really even knowing it.  How she knew it'd be perfect for me.

There really aren't coincidences in this world.  I'm sure of that. And I feel lucky to notice the small things.  And sometimes even roll dough out with them. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why We Have Food Storage

Let me paint you a picture:

It's yesterday, 3 pm.  It's early out day -- I hate early out day.  Conner's just gotten home and we're headed to the library (frankly, also not a huge fan of the library with my kids, but that's a blog for another day).  Phone rings.  It's the missionaries.

My head: "Oh, they're just calling to confirme dinner."

Sister Missionary: "Hi, this is the sisters, we're just making sure we're still OK for dinner tonight, yeah -- we need to move it up to 5 from 5:30, is that alright {crap, we'd better hurry at the library}, and we also had transfers and got another sister, so there will be 3 of us, is that ok? {tight squeeze, but I'll just add some more pasta and zuchinni to the pasta salad I'd planned} oh, and one of us is allergic to dairy and the new sister is allergic to gluten, is that alright {WHAT THE @&$(? }"

Me. "sure, that will be fine -- no really, I'm sure I can figure something out." {WHAT THE @(%&? }

BTW, &*#$ aren't sweare words it's more like heck or dab-nab it... just fyi. :)

So, I get off the phone wondering what on earth I'll do.  And I realize I have a whole freaking pantry.  The world is at my finger tips and I can make blackbean soup with almost all the same stuff I was going to put in the pasta salad.  HORRAY!

And I did.  AFTER, going to the library.

So, I throw everything in when I get home and it turns out fine.  I put all the "weird" stuff (aka cheese and sour cream) out the side  so people can figure out what they want on their own.  Thankfully, my mom gave me a little support in the gluten free area, as she's gluten free also.

Sister missionaries come in, "Hi, I'm Sister Elliot, what's your name?" (to the littles), she looks up at Drew "MR ERICKSON!"

Turns out Drew had her in his band class when he worked in Orem.

How crazy is that?

It's a small world and somehow that makes me feel a little better, just knowing that.  And sometimes God makes us put in a little extra effort so we can truly see the miracles.  I was really close to just telling them, "NO FREAKING WAY, WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU THINKING?" but I didn't.  Because I have enough food for plenty of gluten free meals with the sisters.  And I'm thankful for that. :)

Do you think things like this are coincidences?  Why, or why not -- do elaborate, please? :)

TMI Thursday: Birth Plans

Have I written this blog before?

Maybe so, it's something I hit quite often in my profession.  Although, not as often as some people think.  I would guess maybe 5% of our patients have a birth plan where I am now.  Maybe 10%, I would think the number would be closer to 2% at my last hospital.

I just have to say this is one area where you need to just be prepared to take what comes.  Sure, have in your mind that you don't want an epidural but if the pain is truly more then you can sucessfully take without going out of your mind with pain, then get an epidural.

Sure, say that you don't want a c-section, but really -- who does?  By saying it, I swear you increase your chance of getting it 3 fold.

But, my final plea is that if you want a home birth experience, give birth at home.  We just have SO many rules at the hospital that we HAVE to follow that can't give you a home birth experience.  We HAVE to monitor, we have to follow what the doctor says.   It's just the way of the hospital.  And we take so much risk by letting you have your way with things.

I constantly wish I could just deliver babies without policies or charting or worries.  But, our friends lawyers have made that a thing of the past.

Just remember that your nurse is on your team.  She wants the same thing you do -- a healthy mom and baby.  It's no good trying to fight it. ;)

** After reading this post I think I sound really anti-natural birthing.  And I'm not.  I went 12 days past my due date with Princess P and I'm not usually an advocate for pitocin.  BUT, I've just heard some crazy things lately about pitocin use and I'm not sure where people are getting it.  Also, I just want my patients to realize I am ON their team.  100%.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Up Wednesday: Drew

Poor Drew.  He just doesn't get life like he used to.  I remember hauling kids to his concerts and helping out boosters.

And then I had Princess P.  She just put an end to so many things.

Drew just finished up marching band season.  Sure, they have  parade left but I won't miss this special time he gets to spend with 60 of his closest teenage friends.  He needs to work on finishing up the semester at ASU.  I think at the end of this we'll be 1/4 done with his degree.  I won't miss paying that tuition. 

He just pruned the heck out of our yard over Thanksgiving break.  I love the look of freshly pruned trees.  I wish I could do that to myself sometimes...  prune off a little fat here and there. :)  Admit it, you do too. :)  He even fixed the drip system on Black Friday.  I may admit a little joy in the fact we found it when he was home.  Horray for that.  Sad that anyone had to fix the drip system, that is just sad stuff.

Drew's got a new calling.  Nervous about how this will work out, but grateful that God wants us to do something. I'd hate to be left behind by God, wouldn't you?

Anyway, Drew is alive and well.  Continuing to be the stable one around here.  Love him for that. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thoughtful Tuesday

I woke up early this morning with so many thoughts swirling in my head.

I hate it when that happens.  I prefer to wake-up after some WILD dream and just content that my own life is my own and not the 3 headed monster mistress Drew just revealed that he had. :)  Ok, maybe I just prefer to wake-up content with a good night's sleep.


Thoughts about selfless service and how I wonder if anything I ever do truly is selfless.  I raise my kids in hopes that they will prove to be successful happy people who contribute to society.  I admit that if they turn out to be  complete failures I may feel badly.  Hence, it's not really selfless -- is it?  I help at school to spy in kids and hope that it all will get to be a little better.  I babysit kids in hopes someone will do it for me, and the list goes on.  I need to be better about doing things while expecting absolutely nothing in return.  I shall work on that.

Thoughts about how Costco had the new samsung phone for only 30 bucks on black friday and how could I miss out on such a deal?  HOW I ASK YOU!?

Thoughts about our move here and if it's worked out like I'd envisioned and if it was worth it.  I'm glad that our move was forced.  I think I'd live in the past a bit too much if I actually had a choice in the matter.  I did have a choice.  I shouldn't say I didn't.

Thoughts about how if I thought about other people a lot less I could concentrate a lot more on myself.  I'm not talking about thoughts like "she is so nice, I really like her" but more the "WHY ON EARTH WOULD SHE DO THAT" kind of thoughts.  I need to eliminate those.

What do you think about in the early morning hours?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Play Me: Snorta

Our church just got moved to 1pm.  Can you hear the groaning?  Me too. In fact we get to be at 1 pm for 14 months!  Yay!

But my secret is that I kind of like afternoon church.  I'm less likely to nap the day away (easily done).  I'm also much more likely to maybe sleep in a little bit but then actually spend time with my kids.

And for some reason they like that.

We really try to play a game every Sunday while we're waiting for church. Some of you might not think that's appropriate, but I'd think you'd have left this blog long ago if you're that type of reader.


This past week's game was Snorta.  And holy guacamole is that game expensive all the sudden!  Well, if you see it at Goodwill or Savers, I'd pick it up.

Basic premise, everyone gets a barnyard animal, you share that barnyard animal sound and then hide the animal in a barn.  Then, you each flip cards off your deck and when your card matches someone else'se you have to yell their barnyard sound before they do and the winner gets to give their flipped cards to the loser.

First one out of cards wins.

Our main problem with games is that we span quite an age range, but because P got to have a frog in her barn, all was at right with the world.  She also liked to flip her cards and say the animal name.  We'd help her yell people's sounds, but either way she doesn't really care if she's winning or losing.

It's ages 8 and up, but Mr Middle is 8 and he's been playing it a couple of years without a problem. 

I'd like to review a lot of our games on here (and we have a LOT) but I'd love to hear your family's favorites as well!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's All About Being Thankful

Well, as the season of thanksgiving is in our rear view mirror, it's time for the season of "I want".  Drew and I fed into that season for a long time.  Our kids had lavish Christmases, but since the move and we're really hoping to go into debt as little as possible for grad school we've decided to prioritize.  That doesn't mean our kids aren't getting anything, but they certainly don't need crap, just to fill the gift wrapping.

Anyway, I love this video.  I think we're all thankful for different things at different times.  I'd like to focus with my kids what they're thankful for when we say prayers together at night (frankly, I'd like to remember to say prayers with them nightly, that's also something I need to be better about).  But, gratitude is everything. 

What are YOU thankful for?  And how will you remember those things when you see a lot of things to "want" during this seasons?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Oven Baked Chicken

This isn't really a pintrist recipe.  The picture wouldn't make your head spin, but there are nights where you need to throw something in the oven and help with homework, then toss a salad and call it good.

And this recipe is great for those nights.

PLUS, chicken thighs and drumsticks (bone in and skin on) are a great budget stretcher.  EVen if you don't eat the skin for this recipe (and I usually pick a small bit that looks the crispiest and the yummiest and eat that) it's still really yummy (and fast).

Get a bag, throw some bisquik, pepper, salt and paprika in it.  Then, toss your chicken in it. Line a cooking pan with foil (it is a little messy, so this saves you some clean-up) and put the coated chicken in it skin side down.  Then put it in a 425 degree oven and bake for 35 minutes, then turn it and cook for another 15.

I often serve with some rice a roni and some veggies.

Kids like it, and it's a quick fix.

In case you want a real recipe I found one here.  I don't use the buter, but I Do pam the foil.  I'd hate for some of the deliciously crispy skin to stick to the foil.

Bon Apetite!

Friday, November 23, 2012

My New Lunch Routine

I have a new lunch routine.

It's Nanny 911 or World's Strictest parents.

Lately, I feel like my parenting skills need some brushing up.  Have you guys seen the ad that talks about how once you have your second baby you're an "expert" -- I have a nice laugh on that one.  Especially since the woman has like a 4 year old and a baby.  Yup, she's an expert.  I know a good parent when they say they basically have no idea how to parent and are just going by the seat of their pants.

Anyway, Nanny 911 is kind of reminding me how to parent a preschooler again.  It's easy to get lax with those little ones.  P has found a lot of freedom in coming out of her bed for an hour every night and I just won't have it anymore.  Rules are rules people.

World's Strictest parents is helping me think a lot about El Presidante and how I can best serve him by helping him be respectful and obedient. 

This week, I was mostly reminded that the parents need a strong marriage to really face the kids with a strong front.  Also, that we often think it's the kids that need changing, when in reality it's often us that needs to change to fix the kids.

Do you have a favorite parenting show?  Comment and let me know!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Somehow Thanksgiving is always the hardest to be away from family for.  It I kind of rediculous at this point, we haven't been back "home" for 12 years and a good portion of those years I have worked Thanksgiving (this year I am on Christmas, yay.).

I miss going to my grandparents (who are both dead) and having a good time with family (my two uncles are also dead), having celery with cheese....

So, the key to me is making our own traditions. By jove I have a 12 year old.  It's time to own it.

So, me & the kids made 4 dozen of my favorite crescent rolls then we went on our poultry pedal this morning. After that I threw in the bird in (following Alton Brown's Good Eats recipe), made smoothies and then it's out to watch the Macy's parade. I love that parade.  It is all Thangsiving for me - a little piece of home.

I am thinking of a long game this afternoon, maybe the game of
Life... and then a movie tonight, I saw Amazon had Brave on sale.

Because the people I love are right here, and I am most thankful that one day Jesus has made it so my whole family can be together one day.  So thankful for that.

So, if you're away from family, how have you made Thanksgiving your own?

Gratitude Replacing Fear #22: Thanksgiving

I am SO thankful for a day to be thankful.

I think that a great deal of the nation's "hardships" would be made a whole lot lighter by being thankful for what you have.

Realizing that you are VERY blessed and will continue to be.

I truly believe that when fear is getting you, and maybe there isn't enough faith to patch out the fear I will quickly turn to gratitude.  SO grateful for what I have and while in that moment I am very much OK.

And today I will OK with turkey and sweet potatoes.  More then ok, I am great. :)

Greatful. :D

The end.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #21: Hard Times

We read this book for book club this month.

Now, I had a few issues with it.  Most of them had to do with Mormon women in general but I did get one thing from it.

Hard times make is what we are.

Hard time remind us we can get through.

Hard times make us grateful for the easier times.

Also, reading about other people's tragic events reminds me of two things:
1.  I'll take my own trials, thank you very much!
2.  So many people have "sorrows that the eye can't see" and we need to be a little more fragile with everyone.  Who knows what's going on behind the scenes.

And so I am grateful for the things I have gone through.  I am grateful for the people who helped us, who prayed for us and were overall amazing when we moved.  I'm grateful that God had a whole new home set-up for us here.  I feel very lucky.

And while I want to die at the thought of doing it again, I know that fear isn't going to help it, and that God always has a plan for us.

Do your hard times make it easier to be less fearful?  Tell me about it.  Write a blog post and send me the link!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Replacing Fear with Gratitude #20: Princess P

When I look at this little wonder a lot of fears are eased.

We spent a few years wondering if there would be a #3, and when labor and delivery nurses are pregnant I think it is impossible to imagine the fears that run through our heads.  Every delivery that goes/has gone bad every mom who has a problem, you just KNOW that will be your fate as well.

But she came, and she was perfect, well as perfect as a now sassy 3 year old could be.

And God has a timetable for us.  I think a lot of our fears can be attributed back to wanting to live our own timetables...  She came when it was perfect for her to come. 

Love her.  Mostly.

So, let's get on with my top 10 of this little she-ra.

1.  She is learning how to read.  She is actually getting through books now, and not just on her own memorization skills.  I love it.  I love teaching my kids, I derive a huge amount of joy from it.  I will also be happy to pass her off to Kindergarten in a couple of years.

2.  She really loves me.  I kind of always wondered what it would be like to have a kid who missed you an ounce when you leave them.  Turns out it's not so great, but part of me is happy to have a little one who ADORES me.  She can't get enough of my hair or my face or my voice.  She wants me all the time.  Yay.  :)

3.  She is girly.  I know I used to be afraid of what a little girl would bring to dinosaur town, but turns out fairies and princesses don't bite at all.  Dinosaurs do, fyi.

4.  She loves her clothes.  As do I.  I get a lot of joy from going to Goodwill and finding great outfits for her for like 3 bucks.  Double yay!

5.  She is normally pretty amazing at meetings.  I have a lot of meetings with my many pto positions and she is a champ at them.  I recently had a 3.5 hour one and thanks to the leapster and a few minutes on my phone she did great.  Thanks Princess P!

6.  She loves her friends.  When one of her two best friends come over she hugs them and say she is SO happy to see them.  I see a visiting teacher in the making in this one.  She loves the ladies.  Not so much for boys, besides her brothers....

7.  I love all the time I get with her.  There are days where I feel like I've been the mother of a tiny forEVER and it will never end, but normally I really love the groove that we get in.  I will truly be a mess when she leaves me.  A happy mess, but a mess.

8.  I love to cuddle on the couch with her.  She would like to live inside my rib cage, but somtimes my lap is enough.

9.  I love it when I come home from whatever thing I'm at and she throws her arms around me and tells me how much she's missed me and that she loves me SO much.

10.  I love how at Costco when she wanted their GINORMOUS (and insane) dollhouse she just kept saying, "I want that dollhouse mom."  And I told her she'd need to ask Santa, so then she screamed  "SANTA, I REALLY WANT THAT DOLLHOUSE, OK?"{waiting for his reply}.  Not to be outdone by her trick or treating by saying, "I NEED CANDY!"  Tactful, not so much.  We'll work on that after she's reading. :)

Anywho, this little girl brings so much joy, peace and hope into our lives.  I worry a lot about raising a girl in an age where people make SO many awful mistakes, but I know I just need to work hard at being her mamma.  And hopefully she'll still hold my hand for a few more years.  In the meantime I'll savor every minute of her little-ness.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear # 19: Born of Goodly Parents

Don't get jealous on me.  But, I have the best parents God ever made.

Besides myself, of course -- but I couldn't very well parent myself, so he gave me second best. :)

My dad is self-depricating, smart, plays very well with others, thrifty, wise and true.

My mom is funny, protective, loyal, thrifty, thoughtful and smart.

They balance each other out so well.

I need to talk mortgage refinance, I call my dad.

I need to talk primary lessons, I call my mom.

They really are so helpful.  I'm not sure why I hated them so much in high school.  Oh wait, maybe because they called the highway patrol on me once when I was out with friends.

But, I need to remember I fear Conner hating me (really, not so much) but it always comes back around again if you stay the stable one.

Me, stable? :)

But, I couldn't let my parents go without my top 10 things I'm thankful for them.

1.  My dad always tells me not to show my fear to my kids (aka, scorpions, we don't need them deathly afraid of them).  I won't mention how afraid he was when they had a mouse in their house, but I digress...

2.  My mom always wants me to have a hobby.  I could probably use this, but currently 3 kids and a job is my hobby.  I'm slowly realizing that maybe gardening and blogging are my actual hobbies, but they seem so much less dramatic....

3.  My parents didn't want me to be a nurse, and perhaps that made me more fiercely want to become one.  I needed that fierceness to GET through nursing school, it was a hard thing for me.  In their defense, there were a LOT of nurses when I went into nursing school in 1994'ish, but by the time I graduated nursing was no longer cool and demand had increased.  I sometimes remind them they never wanted a nurse in the family when they call for medical advice.  I don't think they're particularly amused... 

4.  My parents gave me a great financial base.  My dad always told me that we COULD afford the more expensive jeans, but would it be worth it.  I grew-up in a very label-centric area and I quickly realized that the label didn't mean quality, it meant a label.

5.  I love how my parents come to visit.  I would be very sad if my kids weren't able to spend as much time as they do with them.  It's a serious drawback to being so far away, but my parents have more then made-up for the distance.

6.  I love how my mom loves to read with the kids.  It's made a big difference in how much they love reading as well.  She's gonna be pretty jazzed to find all of P's new found reading skills next time she comes.

7.  My dad is ever the advisor.  I can't really make a big decision without his advice.  I use my mom too (but since usually big decisions involve money I often look at him).

8.  I am glad my parents gave me a big brother.  We are lucky to have kids of similar ages who are ACHING to get to see each other.  I really like my brother, except when he thinks he's right about everything.  Wait, do I really like my brother?  Yes, yes I do. :)

9.  I love how my parent showed me a lot of this country.  While I haven't left the US much, I am impressed by how much driving my parents did when I was little, showing me a lot of this great country of ours.  There is a LOT to see in this country and to be grateful for.  Even if there are small voices in the backseat saying, "If you've seen one tree, you've seen them all..." 

10.  I'm grateful for my parents showing me a good spiritual base.  I'm glad to know the church is based on true doctrine and not how people act.  I have never based my testimony on those around me and my parents were a big part in me finding my own way.  I'm very grateful for that.

So, there you have it.  The second best parents in the world, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the BEST parent if it wasn't for them. :)  Thanks mom and dad!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude Relaced by Fear #18: Modern Day Revelation

I believe in a prophet and 12 apostles who are continually recieving direct revelation from God to let us know the right things to be doing in our life.

And lately they've said we need to step it up with our kids.


But no, we REALLY do. 

This past October they changed the age that young men could go on missions from 19 to 18.  Which gives me one less year to make El Presidante willing to share his beliefs with people in a foriegn land.


But that means all these minutes count.  I really need to have FHE's that drill a point in.  That touch his heart.  That shows him the way.

I'm grateful for that.  I need a kick in the pants.

I may need it often, so feel free to harp on it.  Mm-k'?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cobbling Together Some Cobbler

Had to laugh after reading today's post.  Man, today was a doozy at work.


But, someone posted on Facebook that I have an amazing pumpkin dessert.

AND, they would be right.

The basic recipe is here...

So, you mix together your basic pumpkin pie mix.  Some pumpkin, milk, spices, deliciousness, and love.

Then, you sprinkle a box of yellow cake mix over it.

THEN you pour a melted stick of butter on top of that.

And you throw it in the oven.

And the love comes right back to you because it. is. amazing.

I do this with berries and chocolate cake mix, I do it with peaches and white.  It's just yummy all around.

Add some ice cream and you've got something extra special. :)

Enjoy peeps.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude Replacing Fear #17: Job

The moment I realized that all would be well with our move to AZ was the minute I had the interview at the hospital I currently work at. 

I didn't love my other hospital.  It wasn't my co-workers, it was the management and I wasn't too sad to leave.  But I was sad to leave the flexibility and familiarity.

Flash forward 16 months later, or so... and no one is a big fan of our job right now.  The whole corporation is really in flux, and personally on our unit we're doing 150% of what we were doing just 3 or 4 months ago.  We just don't have the staff or the patience for it at this point.

I personally even wonder if I can keep working there at certain moments in time....

But the truth is I have a great job and we have (in general) great patients who make great parents.  I have amazing co-workers and we have great educators who have taught me a lot in the few months I've been there.

I know we're all suffering, and somehow that makes it better.

Either way instead of worrying that my work is going to be overwhelming for the rest of all time, I can be grateful for where I work and how it benefits me, and not just in my bi-weekly paycheck.

Friday, November 16, 2012

We Interrupt this Gratitude Fest... only YOU can prevent dryer fires...

Kind of a long title, no?

So, I've seen a bunch of pins on Facebook about cleaning the lint out of your dryer, and I knew it was on my to do list, but lately I've been trying to be a little more deliberate with my cleaning of my "room" each day -- really trying to take a task on or organize well.

Fridays is our wash room and our living room.  And today I decided to take on the lint issue in our dyer.

Which, I've never done and we got it used from a friend.  Here's how the dryer usually looks.  You see that big open slot, is where the lint thing goes.  I'm religious about cleaning it off and I figured I was just dandy and I'd just have a little vacuuming to do and we'd be done. {giant game show "wrong" sound "ERRRRR"}

Here's how much I got out, that didn't make it into the vacuum.  It's probably a good 4 or 5 inches on the bottom of a paper grocery bag.

I couldn't get into the area very well and then I figured out you could take off the little screen part that also covers the lint area really easily with just a couple of screws.  I mulled over just leaving it and not bothering with the screws (because I got a fair amount out prior to that) but I decided to go the extra mile and just get it done.  I'm glad I did. 

Anyway, it only took about 15 minutes and I bet it will help the efficiency of the dryer as well as safer.

And we all know I'm a safety girl. :)

Is there any thing you do that's like this, easily forgotten but obviously important?

Back to gratitude.

Gratitude Replacing Fear #16: BB Cream

I took my mom to Ulta when she was last here.

Think Disney and a "Whole New World"

She kind of sprouted legs and walked on land.

But, I found BB Cream.  It's a moisturizer, foundation primer and SPF all in one.  And it really does make my makeup stay on.

I like it.  I bought the one pictured here and as I look at Amazon, it actually doesn't get that great of reviews... so maybe someone likes a different one (and my price point is a drugstore brand, so don't go all Laura Mercier on me).

How does this dispell fear?  Well, I fear that I don't look good sometimes, and when I have this one I do feel good about myself... and that's half the battle, isn't it?  Well, maybe 1/4 of the battle.  I'm pretty sure Princess P alone is half the battle. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #15: Mr Middle

Mr Middle got his name by being in the middle.

"Marsha, Marsha, Marsha" was also a contender, but I went with Mr Middle.

Here are my top 10 reasons I am so thankful for Mr S:

1.  He loves to read.  Did you hear he read ALL of Harry Potter in a week.  That's right, 7 days, not like the way God views a week.  Sadly, he still wants to keep reading about the mis-adventures of Harry.  I am working hard on helping him find other types of literature.

2.  He is uber self-confident.  SO much so I have had to beat him down a few notches before.  Sad, but true.

3.  He still has a little tiny voice.  It's not near like it used to be and I and am also thankful for the peer pressure that has brought his voice into a normal timbre, but I am going to miss that tiny voice someday, won't I?

4.  He is the Barry Manilow of Senior Primary.  When in the right mood, the kid can belt out the hits.  I remember when he was learning to read I was trying to get him to sing the words of hymns as practice and he would sing out loud and proud to "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" until many eyes were wet by either laughing or the fact this little four year old was singing it like Ethyl Mermon, and hopefully something of it had actually taken root.

5.  If Spencer could surgically attach the Ninetendo DS to his hands, he would.  Am I thankful for this?  Maybe, when I really need him distracted.  And boy oh boy will that sucker distract him.

6.  He is giving his other brother a run for his money.  I remember reading a book that said you don't need to intervene in family dynamics when the older child is getting their way all the time because that will soon change.  ANd it has.  Someone nick named El Presidante isn't so happy about this one.

7.  He loves spaghetti pie.  He ALWAYS says it's his favorite food, without fail. It's a simple dish and he adores it.  I should blog the recipe for that one at some point.

8.  He loves the computer.  For homework they are supposed to do a math computer game online 3 times a week for 20 minutes.  Let's just say he's almost done with the 5th grade version of this thing. 

9.  He loves cub scouts.  He just finished his Wolf badge (by doing an outdooor flag ceremony -- see my instagram feed on the right) and he's enjoyed doing the requirements.  I think there are a lot of great things about the cub scout program. I am grateful for it (I also secretly am not its biggest fan sometimes, but I digress)...

10.  He loves it when I walk him to the bus stop or pick him up.  He still really likes me people, it's nice to be liked!

Anyway, I have a lot of fears when it comes to this one.  The word is a mean thing and this one will be facing it head on at some point.  I need to be grateful for the good things in him so I can help him grow into a man strong enough to do the right thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #14: YouTube

Silly Hilary, Youtube is just full of porn and nasty stuff.

Au Contrare, Mon Freir (spelling, not my strong suit).

I am really loving Youtube and not just to make Princess P playlists.

I recently have founds some great organizing videos.  For some reason the anal-ness of this woman is so comforting to me:

I love her videos and most of her information.  She's not over the top with expensive organizers (although she loves the container store more then her fiance, I am guessing) and she has great "real life" solutions.

I also love makeup videos and I've even found a few parenting channels lately that have calmed me when the storm in my heart doth stir.

Do you love youtube?  Do you have favorite channels?  Perhaps, in this case information casteth away fear.  I do love to be informed.  And youtube helps!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #13: My Kitchen

I can't find a picture of my old kitchen.  What a shame.
I lived a long time in a tiny house.

I liked it, I was glad we had a house, and we were lucky to have it.

But I dreamed of not having to balance pans on my sink while making bread, or not having my fruit basket take up a good 1/2 of my counter.

I feared it would never change.

I spent a lot of mental time thinking about how much I hated that kichen.

And in the blink of an eye (3 months, to be exact) I had a new kitchen.

I was watching another episode of Katie where a lady was on talking about her near death experience and how she came out knowing that God's plan for her was greater then anything she could imagine.

And it truly was.

And while I have fears about going back to a kitchen like I had, there's no real reason for it because I know that life is bigger then kitchens.

But larger ones are a lot nicer. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fear Replaced by Gratitude #12: El Presidante

**Some of you may not know why Mr C gets the name "El Presidante" on my blog.  The other two are kind of self explanatory.  He ran for student body president his 5th grade year in CA.  The day of the election he came out and said, "Today is the day I become president" -- was he the only one running?  No.  That kid has some hootspa.

Anyway, El Presidante holds a special place of fear in my heart.  He is the one I am messing up on, he is the one that will go through all these stages first and what if I don't know how to DEAL WITH IT?  Can you see me shaking in my boots right now, because I am.  Well, I would if my boots weren't in a box in my closet because we don't need boots here.  But, I digress.

C had a doozy of a year last year.  It was the move, and the change to middle school and me learning to be more hands off with his homework.  It lead to some crazy grades and some crazy behaviors but I am seeing a new sense of responsibility glimmering in this kid.

And boy oh boy am I glad.

I also see someone who would much rather listen to his MP3 player then his family in the car.  But frankly... I would too sometimes. :)

I think it's so easy to be weighed down by all that parenting hands you.  The responsibility, the long hours, the extreme involvement of it all.  It's just hard to take sometimes.  But, when you really look at this amazing little being that you're helping to mold you can't help but be grateful for what God has given you and how you're learning in the process.

And so, without further adieu, 10 things I am grateful for in El Presidante:

1.  He didn't have a single missing assignment last week and I rewarded him.  If he does his work he does a good job, sometimes he leaves it in his folder or just forgets it all together.  We're working on that. :)

2.  He is loving audio books lately, and that's a great thing to do.  Less great when we take you to a baseball game, but great nevertheless.

3.  He sure loves his little sister.  He is an AMAZING big brother and I am so grateful for him.  When we were in CA I really needed him to step up to the plate a few times and he came through with flying colors.

4.  He and his brother sometimes play really well together.  Look at me focusing on the good...

5.  He picks great friends.  Out of a class of strangers, he somehow picked out the LDS kid and has found a really great friendship with him.  He didn't know he was Mormon until later, and I'm not saying that my kids can only be friends with LDS kids, because that's not true in the least but it was a happy thing for me.

6.  He is such a geek.  I think this will serve him well someday, even though sometimes I want to ignore his questions and hide in a pillowcase.

7.  He really likes music.  I mean, how could he not -- it's kind of in his genes, but I see big things for him with his trumpet, he really likes doing it. 

8.  He really hates Instagram.  I find it amusing, I will get a picture of him smiling at some point.  It's a challenge now, thanks C! :)

9.  He is a strong worker.  Sure, he has his times where he can barely make his bed, but when this kid sets his mind to working there is no stopping him.  I am really proud when I see him a service project or whatnot, just enjoying the camaraderie of the work and getting stuff done.  Love that.

10.  He is slowly understanding consequences and repentance.  He is building a great relationship with the bishop of our ward, and I'm really glad.  Instead of finding him as an annoying old guy (and it would be difficult to find that in our bishop, he's a really great guy) he has found a friend who helps him along the way.  His budding testimony is helping him realize the consequences to all that he does and I'm really grateful for that.

I am really grateful for what this kid is turning into.  I think it's really easy to see gratitude replacing fear when I think of my kids.  If I can really be thankful for ALL That they are, I can find the gratitude in all that they're putting me through.  And sometimes, that seems like a lot. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #11: The Joseph Smith Story

I spent a lot of my life hiding from the Joseph Smith Story.

Well, at first I kind of ignored it.

And this is all kind of embarassing to say, but it's all true.

But, when I taught Relief Society in my last ward I was forced to really look at the issue and decide what I believed.  And it was at that point that I gained a testimony of Joseph Smith.

I have some friends who've left the church over him, stuff in his history stuff like that.  My testimony is in no way BASED off Joseph Smith, but he's now included in it. :)

Joseph Smith started revelations at a young age to prepare him to lead this new church here on earth.  If you're interestedin more info on him, here's a great video, shown in its entirety on Youtube:

And, just in case you don't have a spare hour lying around... here's some highlights. :)

I am grateful for Joseph Smith and all that he did in his lifetime to set our church on the right path.  His lot was a very difficult one, but I am grateful he endured it well.  He is a great example of living well through trying times, I thought of him a few times during our move and I realized that my trials weren't so bad after all.  He certainly didn't live his life in fear of what was going to happen next to him, and neither should I.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gratitude replacing Fear #10: Babies

Shameful confession:  I am pre-writing these posts as I have time.  I just realized I wrote 2 of the titles "fear replacing gratitude"... freudian?  I hope not.

But I digress.

Sometimes people think I love babies and that's why I do my job.

I have a healthy respect for babies, and the inner turmoil they can unleash on a perfectly normal life.

And that is all.

I love my own children, but it takes a few days for the love to really kick in.  Frankly, for the first couple weeks of P's life I may have loved her clothes more then her.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  I adore my little kitty kat now. :)

But I do see a lot of babies.  And I see a lot of loving parents who are going to be amazing with this new little life.  And sadly, I see a fair number of people who should've had a big rubber stamp on their head "do not reproduce".

But the babies go home with them (well, most the time they do).  And their life starts together, and the fact that thousands of people every day are willing to have a little baby gives me hope in the world.  They have lots of other options to do with their life, and yet they'd like to bring a little someone into this world who will hopefully make it a little better.

The very fact that people are willing to give up their own life for someone else makes me know this world is a pretty good place.  Hats off to all the parents out there!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Gratitude replacing fear #9: My Mop.

Oh man do I have a love hate relationship with our tile. 

Inside I fear it's never really that clean, and somehow I don't have that same feeling about carpet, although that is entirely irrational.  So, I was steam cleaning it weekly for a few months -- which is a pain in the toukas...

Until I found this beauty:

I'd been jealous of some of my friends with the Swiffer Wet Jet, but I knew that buying bottles and bottles of solution I wasn't quite sure what was in it was in my best interest.  I just love how I can mix my own solution (if anyone has one they love feel free to comment -- right now I alternate between vinegar and pine sol) and the pads do a great job of cleaning.

Is it as good  as steaming it?  Probably not, but frankly my tile is colored like dirt so maybe my fear is replaced by ignorance.  And there's nothing wrong with that. :)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Fear Replaced by Gratitude #8: In Laws

My husband has five sisters.

I have none.

And frankly, I am often happy for that at certain times, but that's a blog for another day....

Let's just say it was different entering his family.  I was suddenly around a lot of strange women who I was 90% sure were judging my every action.  You see, at one point I wasn't as secure as I am now.  Who knew?

At some point I realized that I needed to stop caring what they thought and somehow that freeing thought let me love them each as a person.

Now, I will say that when all of Drew's family is together it's overwhelming for me sometimes.  I have one brother, and our kids are of similar ages (and are huge fans of each other, thankfully).  I know our dynamic so that makes it easy, but entering your husband's family is often a whole other bag of chips.

Luckily, I like salt and vinegar too. :)

So, what I'm trying to say is that my fear of what they're thinking about me, has been replaced by deep gratitude for each of his siblings as well as his parents.  After 15 years I have figured out my place and I am highly amused by many funny brothers in law.  I have learned a lot from sweet sisters in laws who each have brought something into my life.

Drew's parents are extremely accepting and thoughtful of me when we're there and I'm deeply grateful for them.  They raised a loving man who is a great compaion for me, what isn't there to love?

Sometimes you need to figure out what the anxiety or fear is rooted in and just let it go.  They may hate me, and I'm cool with that too.  They'll feel really badly after they read this blog entry though. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Fear Replaced by Gratitude #7: Downton

Oh my goodness, Downton Abbey.  I had a cold over the weekend and did a serious Downton marathon and boy oh boy do I love that show.

But it's not just the show.

It's kind of what the show showed me.  I'd been watching a lot of crap in the past few years.

Toddlers and Tiaras, Sister Wives, Jon and Kate, just to name a few.

Drivel, I know.

But I think Downton showed me that TV doesn't have to be watching someone's else's lot -- it can be really getting into plot and characters and maybe learning something along the way.

And, I think I'm finally coming out of my reality TV era.  And perhaps entering a BBC era.  I've been watching Doc Martin, which I really like.  I've had 3 or 4 friends email me about Call the Midwife and I LOVE that show.  I am a huge historical fiction fan (as long as it's not too hoity-toity) and it's facinating to see what my job would've been a few years ago.

I think I feared becoming a reality character, while now I can realize that there are plenty of people out there living beautiful lives to watch, even if they slept with some Indian official and he died.  I really love that scene when they haul him back to his bed. :)

Thank you Downton Abbey, I await your next season with quiet anticipation (frankly, it's not that quiet).

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Gratitude replacing fear #6: Timers

I seriously love a good timer.

And I did mention some of these thoughts were going to be highly superficial, so, here goes.

I love timers.  And here is why, in my heart I know I can do almost anything for like 10 minutes.  Even if I stare at my kitchen and wonder what whirlwind came into it and how on earth I will ever see my counters again, my mind knows I can work like crazy for 10 minutes.

So, I set it -- and forget it.  I just work, work, work and when it goes off I look up to see that things are MUCH better and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief that all is right with the world.

Well, maybe not ALL, but more is right with the world then when I started.

The one pictured here happens to be my favorite. I like pushing the number buttons instead of an up and down button...

I have a fear that my life is going to be swallowed by housework.  And, frankly it could - but my timer, as well as my cleaning schedule keeps that at bay.  Sadly, I'm also getting my children addicted to timers.  30 minutes on the computer, 10 minutes of weeding.  Good thing they're so cheap at Ikea.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #5: Hubby

What would it be like if Drew died on his way home from work?
What if he tripped and died?
What if he got cancer?
What if he didn't evacuate Lower Manhattan and then was eaten by swamp monsters?

I used to spend HOURS wondering if Drew was in an accident when we were first married and I'd feel the horror of having the police come knock on my door.

In my defense, Drew is often late.

And we didn't have cell phones back then.

And I usually didn't have the car so I was stuck alone until late at night... and a nurse's mind tends to wander.

More then is healthy.

But I think something in me thought if I imagined it enough it would take some of the hurt away when it really happened.

Like, when I have a canker sore and I touch it 9 million times to get all the pain out but really it's just making it more painful and uselessly so.

Truth be told, I have an amazing husband and can you even IMAGINE living with me?  Ok, don't answer that.  I'm already so fragile. :)

He is funny, and smart, and SO willing to help people out.  He has a million friends on facebook and he really does know all of them.  I have recently REALLY tried to focus on the positive things with this big guy.  It's not that I have a lot of negative to dwell on but when you rarely see a person, sometimes you forget.  I love having fun with him, I love going on dates and how he helps out around the house.  Litle known Erickson fact:  Drew folds all the laundry.

That's right, baby.  ALL of it.

Lucky doesn't begin to describe how I feel when I say I have this man in my life.  And instead of worrying, I know that gratitude will only help our love grow stronger!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gratitude Replacing Fear #4: The Spiritual Internets

Once upon a time, people said things and we actually had to remember them.

The horror?

I dunno, maybe kids sat more still back then, but there is absolutely NO way I can take notes during general conference.  And even if I did I'm not sure that all those talks are things I need RIGHT then.

Enter the internets.

Now I can play talks at my leisure, as I get dressed in the morning or when I'm taking a self time out in my room.

I don't know what kind of stuff you believe in, but I would recommend finding some talks or spiritual messages you can listen to on your own the rest of the week.

I love church on Sunday (ok, I mostly love church) but there are 6 other days of the week determined to drag me down into insanity.  And frankly, that's not very far away at this point.

So, instead of the fear that I end in a spiritual black hole devoid of life, I can instead listen to a conference talk and get a little perk.

**Footnote:  I listen to conference talks on my Gospel Library app on my phone.  Mormon Channel is another option but it seems to take too long to load.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Full Monty

Ok, no Monty here, but I do find it to be a catchy title.  No?

Since I love Halloween so much I thought I'd share my pictures today too.  And I just happened to get them edited (within the same week I TOOK them, insane, no?).  Without further adieu (which, btw -- what the heck does that mean?  Without further goodbyes?  Am I saying it wrong... is this my cold talking?)

I just can't really "take a picture" of how this girl was transformed in her cat costume.  Needless to say she felt fi-yi-yine in it.  What a cutie.  Did I mention I wish I looked that good in a unitard (but instead I am GRATEFUL that I have a little girl that does). :)

Here's the whole family.  Did you notice everyone is smiling and looking at the camera.  I don't believe in coincidences, this is obviously a miracle.  I wonder if you can dislocate your hip by throwing it out too far...?  That girl.

A pretty sweet action pose...

But I bet you wanted a closer peek of how sweet I am looking.  Trouble beware.

And yet another sweet action pose.  Not sure how Spencer is going to help catch crooks with his tongue, but I digress...  Maybe this should be entitled "elbow pose" --  luckily we all have some pretty sharp ones.

Somone wore his costume to school.  He's just so cool. :)

And the dynamic duo needed a shot together.  I really like this picture.

The green lantern NEEDED a jumping shot.

And then he wanted to learn how to take jump shots on his own while in manual with separate focus.  I just wanted to say YAY, HALLOWEEN IS OVER!!!!

** Footnote:  I really like having full family costumes with a theme.  I really hope that it's something my kids remember and I think they really enjoy them right now.  I will mention these particular cotumes, at least those that are "homemade" (Robin, Batman and Wonderwoman) were all made before I had 3 kids.  Honestly, if I was doing them again I think I would die.  BUT there are less labor intensive ways to do them, and I do recommend, if it's something you think you can add to your plate. :)
Also, if you're interested in what we've done other years:
A previous year's review (including Star Wars, Superheros circa 2008, Calvin and Hobbes and Peter Pan)

Gratitdue Day #3: Halloween

I know a lot of people hate halloween.  And there are certain aspects of Halloween that I abhore.  I HATE the Spirit Store (but they did have kitty cat ears this year, thank you very much).  I'm not a huge fan of the candy, but I realize it's a great part of it for kids.  I, personally, let my kids keep as much candy will fit in a freezer bag and they can keep that til' Thanksgiving'ish at which point I chuck it.  I'm not a big candy mom so it's exciting for them, and I have decided not to take that away with a visit from the Great Pumpkin.

But, back to Halloween.

I think a lot of my love for it revolves around marching band.  I think it's starting to wind down by the time Halloween comes and I'm finally starting to feel like my marathon of single parenting may be coming to a close.  Often, Halloween is the first time I've spent actual time with my WHOLE family for a while.  It feels good to have fun together.

I go overboard with the family costumes, but I have dreams of my kids sitting around a table some day talking about all our crazy Hallowee costumes.  Think that will happen?

I think I just enjoy times that communities can come together, enjoy the kids and the times they share.  I like how neighborhoods see each other at Halloween, that doesn't happen as much with other holidays.

So, while there are many creepy crawling, not so fun aspects of Halloween (I was trying to explain the difference between "spooky" and "scary" to Princess P -- to no avail) I think it's fun to maybe show how brave you are when you enter your neighboors spooky doorway, and know that your mom or dad is just a few steps away.

Thank you Halloween, see you next year. :)


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