Friday, February 20, 2009

Taking Some Time

Just before I took the kids to school this morning, our power went out. I immediately had plans to get into the garage and do some cleaning up of the shelves. We keep our games in the garage and they haven't been organized in a while, so that was one of the major projects I set out to do. Joe helped me round up the stray pieces that needed to make it back into games. We taped up corners of boxes that were coming apart. I counted puzzle pieces to make sure they were still worth keeping (no one likes to go through the effort of putting together a puzzle to find one or two pieces missing, right?).

As I was finishing up and getting ready to head back into the house, I remembered that Lily had been playing with the memory game in her room recently and a few pieces had been left out. Joe and I had put them back earlier, but I didn't know for sure if they were all there. I took the game into the house, spread the pieces out on the table, and began matching up the animals.

Joe didn't really understand what I was doing, and that kind of surprised me. Then it hit me that I have never sat and played memory with him. Alexis was given the memory game on her 3rd birthday from a friend and she played with it daily for the longest time. I was feeling terrible that I have never taken the time to teach Joe such a great game. It's not that we don't play games together, in fact he currently loves to play Pictureka and can beat me to finding the pictures more times than I would like to admit. I suppose since we have more games than we did when Alexis and David were little, some of them just get forgotten about.

So, today I decided to slow down and take some time to play some matching with Joe the way I used to with Alexis. Joe had a fun time looking for the animals, especially the snake. Then we built towers and knocked them over. We had great fun together, and I look forward to playing much more with those blocks in the future.

A cool tower

Evie found her own way to make a tower

Joe thought Evie's way looked easier

What a Deal!

I have always been thankful for a mom who taught me the value of a great sale. Shopping the sales saves so much money, and actually brings an immense amount of satisfaction!

About a month ago, I was at Walmart with Joe and Evie for the normal quick trip, I can't even remember what I was buying. As we were packing up our bag and getting ready to leave, I hear the woman next in line chatting with the cashier about the great deals she is getting on the toys she is buying for her grandkids. She mentioned a great sale on items in the garden center.

Well, you can't hear a sweet, delicious tidbit like that and not go check out exactly what she was considering a good sale! WOW! It wasn't a good sale, it was a tremendous sale! Our Walmart was clearing out a number of toys, probably what they had bought too much of for Christmas. There was a section of toys for $1 and $3. There was a wall of games, all $3 or $5. And then there was one longer wall with toys running $10-$50. I started to look around. I started to fill my cart. It was the most exciting toy shopping I have EVER done! The sad part was that I had 2 kids with me and there was simply no more room in the cart, plus I had to get Evie to a doctor's appointment that I was already running late for due to my need to purchase many cheap toys. Everything rang up to about $80.

I couldn't stop thinking about all the great deals, and after Evie's doctor's appointment, I went back for more. And boy, did we get more! It was great fun to find all sorts of fun things for dirt cheap prices. The best deals were on the games, and we stocked up. The absolute best buy of the day was the Little People Castle, which we had bought for Evie for Christmas for $30. When I saw it for $5, I knew I had to get it. It will make a fantastic birthday gift for my little niece! Upon checking out once more, I spent another $102.

I spent $182 on a ton of toys. I only spent $10 on two separate items, and the rest of the items I got for either $1, $3, or $5 each. Should you find any of these fantastic toys in packages or presents for you, know that we hope they make you as happy as they have made my wallet!

Check out what I got! I did my best to show everything, but there's just no way to do it without slightly more boring photos.
(Sorry for the not so lovely background! The photos were taken on top of the freezer in the garage because I didn't want to haul everything in the house!)

The one thing I was tempted to buy but didn't was the Smart Cycle. It was on sale for $50, and while I knew that was a good deal, I didn't want to splurge that much! A few weeks later, however, I found myself back in Walmart with Joe and Evie. Joe remembered finding all sorts of cool toys in the garden section and asked to go back in a look at the toys. So, we went back to check. There wasn't much left, mostly it was the more expensive items marked down even more. There were 3 Smart Cycles there, and I went to see how much they were asking--$20!!! So, I of course picked it up! I'm not sure if it will be a birthday gift or for Christmas next year, but it will be great fun to have!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our Valentine's celebration was spread out a bit over the week due to Ez's busy schedule, but it has been so fun!

Wednesday night Ez came home around midnight, and he greeted me with a dozen beautiful roses! It was such a sweet surprise.

On Friday, Alexis and Lily had a few friends over to make some Valentine's goodies. We had a last minute cancellation due to illness, but four friends joined them in frosting and candy-ing goodies. I didn't want to make sugar cookies this time, so I mad a bunch of mini cupcakes, some brownies, and rice krispie treats. There were tons of goodies for the number of girls we had, but everyone got to make and eat and take home a ton of stuff! The girls also ate pizza and had a fun time playing.









Saturday was Valentine's Day and I was glad that Ez's gift came in the mail--it got here on time! I got him some fudge from the Nauvoo Fudge Factory--Rocky Road and Maple Walnut. I'm afraid the Maple Walnut wasn't the best choice, he doesn't love it, but it is all still good! We took the kids out to lunch at In-n-Out and then Ez has to head to work.

Today we had the missionaries with us for dinner and we had our nice Valentine-ish meal. Ez grilled some steaks, and we had asparagus, baked beans, and rolls. Then we had brownies and ice cream for dessert. It was absolutely delicious!

We have had a nice weekend. The kids are off of school tomorrow, so it would be fun to find something fun to do. It was been raining pretty much non stop all day, so the parks will be out. It guess we will see if we get creative or if we just stay indoors!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taco Tuesday

About a month ago I made fish tacos for dinner. We hadn't had tacos (of any sort) for quite a while, and the kids devoured them. David thought it would be fun if we tacos for dinner every Tuesday, which actually sounded like fun. We kind of had forgotten how fun and easy tacos are as a meal. We've had fish tacos, steak tacos, regular tacos. The kids favorite so far was this past week--we had spaghetti tacos.

Never heard of spaghetti tacos? Well, you don't spend enough time watching iCarly! As Carly would say, "What, noodles can't live happily in a hard corn shell?" The kids have been wanting to try Spencer's spaghetti tacos for a while now, so this week it finally happened.

There were two struggles for me in making these tacos:

1. I had to buy hard shell tacos, which I find kind of gross and never buy.
2. I knew I wasn't going to want spaghetti in my tacos, so I had to make regular tacos as well, which means I made two dinners for one meal.

The kids LOVED the tacos! Evie couldn't eat the hard shell taco, but she loved the pasta in a soft tortilla. The kids gobbled up all but one of the hard shells and ate most of the pasta. I was surprised at how tasty they found them!

Duke Love

Duke loves affection. He could sit and have you pet him forever. If you stop, he'll put him paw on you letting you know you're not done, or he'll nuzzle his nose under you hand as a gentle hint to keep up the good work.

Duke is also smart enough to know who allows certain types of affection in our home. For instnce, Alexis loves Duke to pieces and allows him to kiss her hands, her feet, her cheek, she loves it all. Mom on the other hand can't stand that and Duke knows to never even try kissing me. He has fun giving some affection to those who will allow it.

Joe and Duke

Evie isn't sure she loves a kiss from Duke

P is for Pathetic

As previously noted, things got a bit crazy during the "dance off". David was doing a bunch of crazy moves and at one point nearly kicked Evie. He obviously felt terrible. Ez took a picture of him and noted the guilty look on his face. He told David that if that picture went into the dictionary, it would be under "G" for guilty.

A bit later Joe and Lily had a collision, causing a bit of drama. I took a look at Lily's face and told her that her face would be under "P" for pathetic in the dictionary. Still in her moment of drama, she looked at me and said "what, are you going to put that on your blog or something?" That comment alone made the entire moment worth noting! It was too funny!

"P" for Pathetic

"R" for Recovered

Letting the rhythm move you...or something like that

It started on Sunday evening as a debate over who had cooler dance moves--Ez or David. It turned into dancing, spinning, robot-ing chaos.

It always ends in some wrestling sort of thing

Alexis opted out of the dancing. She was in the middle of a good book.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sutter's Fort

Each year the city of Sacramento opens the doors to their museums free of charge. It is a rather fantastic opportunity to go and visit things you haven't before, so long as you don't mind the potential for lines and crowds!

Ez had Saturday off of work and Joe was alreeady in Sacramento since he had stayed the night at Grandma Jane's on Friday, so it was a good reason to go and visit a museum or two.

Actually, we knew we only could handle one. With the ages of the kids and the varying attention spans and quality of behavior in public places, we knew that we would definitely enjoy visiting one museum, but two would be pushing it. We initially planned on going to the Railroad Museum. We haven't taken the kids there in about 4 years and it is a real fun museum for all ages. The only real problem with that one is that it is in Old Sacramento, and we were rather sure it was going to be busy and difficult to park there. We decided to visit Sutter's Fort, which only David has been to once and I have been wanting to go there for a while.

We had a lot of fun there, and it ended up being to perfect place for the kids. Since everything is outdoors, it was okay if the kids were a bit loud and wanted to run in circles and be a bit rowdy (which is what happens when kids are tired, much like a few of them were at that point).

It was fun to look around and see the neat exhibits. The kids had the most fun playing a fun game that was called races. It is a fun game where you take a thin wooden ring and toss it off of two sticks to the opposite player, who tries to catch it on their sticks and send it back to you. Everyone had a fun time giving it a try.

We finished up at the museum and went out to eat at The Mayflower, our favorite Chinese restaurant in Sacramento. We don't get there very often, so it was definitely a treat!

Lily, Jane, and Alexis

Our first attempt at a family photo was terrible! Ruined by the fact the sun was blaring in our eyes!

Slightly better family snapshot

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I have been wanting to see WICKED for quite some time, never really thinking I would. It has been showing in LA for the past couple of years, but I just can't mentally justify a long trip to see the show. Then Ez found out the Wicked was closing in LA and coming back up to San Francisco!

Jane came over and watched the kids Thursday afternoon so that Ez and I could go see the show. We got in San Francisco in plenty of time to drive around and find where we needed to be. We parked and took a nice long walk before dinner. We ate at the Acme Chophouse right next to Pac Bell Park. Dinner was delicious!

The Orpheum Theater, where WICKED is playing, is very beautiful. The only problem is that it is old and the rows are so close together, poor Ez was cramped the entire night!

Seeing WICKED was amazing. It far exceeded what I expected. Although I know the music and have been listening to it for the past few years, the songs took on much deeper meaning and had so much more emotion to them than I expected. I was surprised at how much I fell in love with Galinda. She was hilarious! Songs that have been my favorite on the soundtrack were performed amazingly, but I found that two of my favorites in the show were Popular (hilarious) and As Long As You're Mine (moving). The performance of Defying Gravity was amazing as well, but I fully expected that!

As soon as the performance was done I craved more. I can't wait to go again. Honestly. I am so glad the it will be here for a while, it gives me opportunity to go at least once more. In fact, Ez and I are going to take Alexis, David, and Lily, but probably not until next year. We have a lot of fun things already planned for the rest of this year, including going to see The Lion King, so WICKED will have to wait a bit longer.

Joe's Magical Jammies

Joe was in need of a new pair of jammies. Tragedy had recently struck one pair and his other favorite pair is getting old and a bit small. When we were at Costco on Tuesday, Joe found the perfect pair of new jammies (where else would we buy them, right?)!

It is easily understood that shortly after getting such an exciting new item, they should be worn, right? Joe changed into his pajamas around 2:00 that day. Around 3:00 he wanted to relax and watch some TV, so I turned on a show in my room and let him have some down time. It was nice and quiet in the house for a while. Alexis and David got home from school around 3:30. Still nice and quiet. Around 4:00 I went to check on Joe, and he was asleep!

"Joe" and "asleep in the middle of the day" are typically not phrases you want in the same sentence. That means he stays up far too late at night, past what mom would even call her own bedtime perhaps. Still, he looked deep in sleep, like he really needed this nap, so I let him rest. Dinner time came and he still was not stirring. I let him rest. It was nearing bedtime for the kids and Joe still was deep in sleep! I figured at this point he needed his rest and that quite likely he would wake up in the middle of the night and he could just hang out with a movie on in my room or something. Well, I headed to bed around 10:30, and Joe was still deep in sleep. I was surprised when he did finally wake up--at 5:00 the next morning!!!

He obviously needed a rather good night's sleep, and I am so glad he got it! His new pajamas must be magical, bringing restful sleep to the dear child that wears them!

On a side note, Joe must be growing and that is why he needs a bit more sleep right now. We measured Joe on the wall on December 1 and then he asked me to measure him on Monday, the 2nd. That is just a two month space of time and Joe has grown nearly 2 inches! WOW! He is already the size of a lot of the kindergartners in Lily's class. How big will he be when he is actually in his own class in 2 years?!
A well rested Joe

Free Breakfast?

When we first heard about the free Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's on Tuesday morning, I thought it would be great fun to take the kids. BUT Ez was going to be at work. Still, I thought with Alexis and David's assistance things could run rather smoothly. Then I saw on the news how long the lines were and quickly decided that long lines in the chilly morning with 5 kids was definitely not the place for me.

The kids were happy enough with our home made version of Denny's grand slam. The best part was that the kids got to sleep in a bit longer! Joe didn't even wake up until after breakfast was over! A fun alternative.