Monday, March 29, 2010

My son has his first job! Congrats to Chase on being picked to be a teen book reviewer for the St. Helens Book Shop. He'll be reading and reviewing books interesting to teenagers. His favorite part is that he gets ARC's (Advance Reader Copy), which are books that haven't yet been released, to read and review. It doesn't exactly pay in dollars, but instead pays in books. And for those who know Chase, they know that is perfect! His first review is up today on the book shop blog ( Check it out!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Photo Update

Gotta love spring break! I finally took the time to download and edit the cameras this week and now have lots to share from the last few months.

The boys took turns being team attendants at the Blazers game. HUGE thanks go out to Brian's dad, who has faciliatated having Hillyer's MidCity Ford sponser the boys as attendants. This was Chase's 2nd year and Tristan's first. I posted Chase's photos last year so I'm just posting Tristan's this year. Here's his name up on the jumbo screen. And here he is down on the floor with the players. Look center on the right hand side... he's the one with the giddy look on his face. ;)

My baby girl is 9! This is a difficult age for me. I am always reminded that 9 is halfway to 18. Halfway to grown. Halfway to getting up and going on with a life of her own. It's a stark reality to realize that our time with our children is so short. But she is growing up to be an amazing and beautiful woman.

One of her favorite gifts - she's really into American Girls this year, though there was no way we were spending $100 on a single doll. Instead she got a few of the miniature dolls and some books to go with them. I'm really impressed with what a great job she is doing taking care of her dolls and she seems to love the books too.
Carissa chose to have a hula birthday party this year. It was really fun! The girls made lei's and hair flower clips and played limbo and then we had someone visit to give them hula lessons and show them how to do this twirly ball thing (poi balls, I think it was called). Carissa and Tristan both played basketball this year. It was quite a busy season for us! Carissa had a lot of fun and had a great coach and team. It's not always easy when you're the tiniest player though. LOL
This was Tristan's 2nd year and he moved from half-court to full-court play. It was quite a transition and it was much tougher than last year.
Chase had the unique opportunity to serve as an honorary page for the State Senate. He carried the flag when the senate opened, opened the doors for the Senators and - his favorite - yelled "VOTE!" really loud whenever there was a vote to be made. After the session was over for the day he went on a scavenger hunt around the capitol building and learned a lot about the history of our state. He also got to meet with Seantor Betsy Johnson, who sponsered him as a page for the day. It was a great experience for him!
Little Miss Riss has a new accessory... a nifty pink cast for her newly broken wrist. A first break for her and really not a bad break, but she's in a cast nonetheless. Thankfully she gets it off next week and then life can hopefully return back to normal.
This spring break has been nice off and on so a few days ago the kids took the guinea pigs out for some playtime in the yard. I had to take some pics because they have gotten so big - especially hurly who is pretty much nothing but fur. We had to move the hair out of his face so I could take the picture. LOL

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My dirty little secret...

I've hesitated to post about this before now for a few reasons. The first is because it is so entirely self-centered of me to be doing this. Then there was the fact that until two weeks ago it was just a plan and not a sure thing. And, of course, there's the guilt associated with the plan and the money issues and I just wasn't sure I wanted to share it with everyone. But now that we've passed the point of no return, here it goes...

I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!! So here's the story behind this all. Becky and I met when we were both pregnant with our girls. That was over 10 years ago and she is like a sister to me. She is just such a fabulous person and we get along so well. Our kids are similar ages and the same genders (how wierd is that? We each have teenage boys, pre-teen boys and tween girls). Anyways, she's just a good friend who also happens to love Disney.

Now, the other part to this story is that 2 years ago she had to move away. :( Her husband took a new job in Arizona and they moved there. This job was better for their family and allowed them to be together again (her husband had been working in another state and she still lived here with the kids) so I was supportive and understanding of her reasons for going. But that doesn't mean I haven't missed her! I've seen her twice in the last 2 years and am sorely missing my dear friend.

The other thing I sorely miss is Disney. Yes, I know I just got back from Disneyworld a few months ago, but going to Disneyworld made me miss Disneyland.

Well, one day I was having a conversation with another Disney-freak friend (how do I attract all these Disney-crazy friends?LOL) and we mentioned how fun it would be to have a girls weekend there. Well that got me thinking and I got poking around. I called Bek because, of course, I wanted her to go! She was definitely up for it, since it was within driving distance from their home. She also sorely deserves a little "me" time. So we planned it.

In the end the other friend realized she wasn't able to go right now. Without skipping a beat Bek and I decided to just do it together. So we sat down and crunched the numbers. I volunteered a day of service to get a free day at the Disney park. I watched the deals and scored a great price on a hotel room. And then I stalked the airlines. And I stalked. And I stalked. I was hesitant to actually purchase tickets because I knew once I did that there was no backing out.

Brian and I each put away some "us" money from our tax returns. Brian spent his on motorcycle stuff and a flashlight for work. I saved mine and decided to use it on Disney. Last week I finally bit the bullet and purchased the airline tickets.

I do, of course, have some guilt about it all. For one, telling the kids was no fun. They are good sports but you can tell how bad they want to go too. Secondly, I feel bad about going and leaving Brian here to take care of the kids while I'm gone. He doesn't do very much for himself and that makes me feel worse about leaving him. But at the same time I deserve the chance to go away and not be "mom" or "honey" for a weekend. So I'm trying to let the guilt go. It's not always easy.

I leave May 5, so 1 month, 2 weeks and 4 days... not that I'm counting. ;)

So now it's a sure thing - Disneyland we come! Better watch out cause Bek and I are going to have an awesome time!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today's deal...

I'm not going to post another picture and I promise you I will quit boring you with my savings after a while. But there's a thrill with getting something for next to nothing and I'm just so excited about it.

So here's todays deal...
11 boxes of cereal (cheerios, shredded wheat, fruity pebbles, kix, raisin bran)
3 bags of salad
11 boxes of fruit roll ups/gushers
5 boxes of nature valley granola bars
5 bags of nature valley almond granola bites

Grand total, after all coupons: $16.32

That averages out to 47cents per item.

And it's great to look at the bottom of the receipt and compute my total savings. Original value of all items: $121.85. I paid $16.32. Pretty darned good...

Friday, March 12, 2010

This weeks good deal...

So I posted before that I was starting to watch the coupon sites to see how we could save more money on groceries. Here's what I walked away with today from Safeway:
Here we have 26 items: 12 boxes of cereal, 8 boxes of fruity snacks, 5 boxes/bags of granola snacks and a bottle of Excedrin. Full price for these items at the store was $125. In total, after coupons, I paid $21. That means I saved 83% on these purchases and paid an average of $0.80 per item.
I do have to give credit where it is due. The two sites I frequent are and Check them out if you're interested in saving some good money on your groceries.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I realize that it's March, but I never got around to posting Christmas photos because I was still working on Disneyworld pictures. But it's never too late for Christmas, right?
So, the day after we returned from Disney we slept in nice and late to help with the jet lag and then got up and went Christmas tree shopping. We quickly realized that most Christmas tree farms aren't open on Fridays, though we were lucky enough to find one open. We found this beautiful noble that we (ok, Brian did it all) cut down. The family hauled it out and we brought it home and decorated it. We set the camer up to take some pics in front the tree. We were lucky enough to get one with the dogs too.
The kids have put up this Santa sign each and every year since they were old enough to know about Santa. I'm amazed at how big the kids have gotten over the years and one day will gather all these Santa sign pictures side-by-side to compare. Here's this years pic. Aaaaahhhh... Christmas Eve. The anticipation grows and the kids are all excited for the coming day. The last thing before PJ's on Christmas Eve is the reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas." This year it was a new tradition again. We passed it along one person to the next each reading one page at a time from the book. It was a great way to share the tradition with the kids.
Our newest tradition is one that we picked up from Disneyworld. According to the story, German Americans took to hiding a pickle on their holiday tree. On Christmas morning the kids would all look for it and the first child to find it would get a special gift or privilege.
In our house we left the pickle out on the plate with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer, hoping that Santa would know the tradition and would hide the pickle for us. He did hide it, though the kids didn't remember first thing in the morning. They were too excited opening up their stockings and checking out their gifts from Santa. When we reminded them that there was something they were missing, they frantically started looking for the pickle. Santa hid it very hard this year, but it was finally found by Tristan who won the privlege to be the first to open a gift this year.
This is the kids on Christmas morning, all smiles and cheesing it up so they could open more gifts! LOL
Here's Carissa with a gift that she got from Tristan. The bottom one is the Webkinz guinea pig she got from Tristan which actually looks quite similar to the top one, here real guinea pig, Koda.
These were a gift that came on Christmas Eve in the kids advent calendar. They are plastic bubbles... the kind that I remember playing with as a kid. They come in the same little foil tubes with a tiny straw. They even smell the same plasticy smell that they did when I was a child. To use them you put little balls of the plastic gunk on the end of the straw then carefully blow. The kids got some rather big ones and had a great time doing it!
Somewhere along the line we got some snow in Scappoose. Not much to speak of this year, just a little here and there. Nothing too great or that lasted too long, but we did take the dogs out and Tucker had a lot of fun chasing and chewing on his tennis ball in the snow.