TOP 10: List for Preparedness on a Budget

About a week or two ago Jason cleaned out his truck.  It is always interesting when either one of us cleans out our cars because it doesn’t happen very often.  When it does, all sorts of neat things get found.  Melted crayons, the lost permission slip (or book, or shoe, or DS or jacket or bracelet or doll, or….well, you get the point), and in the case of Jason’s truck, all manner of informational paperwork.   Most of the time I have no idea where it comes from.  But I like it.  The following list is the perfect example.  Since there was no website or phone number or other identifying marks on the paper I can’t give you a link to look up the information or give credit for copyright.  Hopefully, listing the sponsoring companies will suffice.  And since you can’t just click a link to look it up, I will type it all.  It is worth it.  🙂  A list sponsored by FEMA, Division of Homeland Security, Utah Citizen Corps, and Be ready Utah.  It is titled

TOP 10: List for Preparedness on a Budget.  

1.  PLAN for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where ou live.  You may need to plan for a snowstorm instead of a hurricane.

2.  CREATE your own personalized list.  You may not need everything included in “ready made” kits and there may be additional items you need based on your personal situation.  For Example, if you have pets, you may need special items.  Don’t forget to have supplies in your car and at work.

3.  BUDGET emergency preparedness items as a “normal” expense.  Even $20.00 a month can go a long way to helping you be ready.  Buy one preparedness item each time you go to the grocery store.

4.  SAVE by shopping sales.  Make use of coupons and shop at stores with used goods.  Don’t replace your ready kit items annually, just replace and cycle through those items that have  shelf life (eg. batteries, food).  You may want to test the radio and flashlight every September to make sure they are in good working order.

5.  STORE water in safe containers.  You don’t have to buy more expensive bottled water, but make sure any containers you use for water storage are safe and disinfected.

6.  REQUEST preparedness items as gifts.  We all receive gifts we don’t need or use.  What if your friends and family members gave you gifts that could save your life?  Don’t forget to protect them by sending preparedness gifts their way, too.

7.  THINK ahead.  You are more likely to save money if you can take your time with focused and strategic shopping.  It’s when everyone is at the store right before a storm hits that prices are going to be higher.  Use a list to avoid duplicating items when you are stressed o panicked.

8.  REVIEW your insurance policy annually and make necessary changes.  When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will help you get back on your feet.  Renters need policies too, inorder to cover personal property.

9.  UPDATE contact records.  Have an accurate phone list of emergency contact numbers.  If you are prepared, you may be able to help friends and neighbors who need assistance.  By sharing preparedness supplies,  you can help each other.

10.  TRADE one night out to fund our 72-hour kit.  Taking a family if 4 to the movies can cost upwards of $80-$100.  Just one night of sacrifice could fund a 72-hour ready kit.

 

CONGRATULATE YOURSELF.

The majority of Americans are not prepared.

Pre-planning will help you and your family better survive a disaster.

Well, there it is.  A golden find buried in the corners of the truck.  We use almost every one of these ideas in our own family.  Some we are better at then others, but on a whole, we are doing pretty good.  If you haven’t started any kind of food storage or disaster preparedness, then this list is an excellent way to get started.  If you have started and even if you are an old pro, this list gives a good review and may even inspire a new way to approach your already tried and true techniques for preparing.

Buying Meat in Bulk and Storing it for Easy Usage

This has been a happy month for me.  This last month Costco had pork on sale.  One of my families favorites!  You could by it in chop or roast form.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about buying meat in bulk and how I store it.  I like to buy my meat from a wholesale type store because in general it is priced better.  Not all the time, but usually.  It is always a good idea to keep your normal grocery store adds handy because they can have some really great deals, but when they are all lacking, the wholesale stores like Costco can save you a few dollars.  I also like to buy my meat in bulk because it saves me trips to the grocery store, which saves me money in impulse buys (you never know when you are going to need the sandwich cutter that leaves the sandwiches in the shapes of a dolphin…) as well as saving me time.  And lets face it, we are all trying to find ways to be better in our time management.  🙂  In our house pork goes a long way.  We fry, bake and slow cook it in all its forms. Yummy! Needless to say, we were pretty happy when we saw the coupon for $3 off per package at our local Costco.  While I was there, I decided to buy hamburger meat as well, since, well, we were out.

Here is what I bought.  As you can tell, I forgot to take a picture of the roast before I split it and bagged it.  But you will get the idea as I move along to the chops and the hamburger meat.

The first thing I do when I get home with the meat is tell myself that I DO in fact have the energy left from shopping with  my 4 year old to put the meat away the proper way and not save it for later, which never comes.  Then I get out my Ziplock Quart Freezer bags.  I love these bags.  They hold so many different wonderful things.  🙂 Not to mention the box tops that come with the Brand.  My kids love them.  It has become a little bit of an addiction in our house.

The next thing I do is label each bag.  If you wait till the meat is in the bag to label them, the pen or sharpie has a harder time writing for a few reasons.  The meat is a soft surface when you need a hard one to write on. Reason 2, your fingers are usually covered with meat juice and I personally don’t like to get my pens all slimy.  Reason 3, the meat causes condensation to form on the outside of the bag and the pens don’t like to write in the moisture.  When I label my bags, I put the amount of the meat, either in pounds or in this case the number of chops, in each bag.  I also put the date so that I know when I froze them and thereby know when I need to use them.  Here are my labeled bags.

 

Now, there is a fair amount of controversy when it comes to my next step.  If you choose not to follow me, there is nothing wrong with you.  I promise.  I cut the chops in half.  Much to the chagrin of my husband, sometimes. 🙂   He prefers them thick.  But I don’t like to cook them thick. Occasionally I will just to spice things up, but usually I cut them in half to make my life easier.  Storing them is easier, cooking them is easier, and it makes our pork chops last much longer AANND it helps us to eat a little bit less and watch out portion control.  Anyway, I cut them in half length wise.

After I cut them in half, I put them into the bags.  I know that for my family I need 6 chops for a meal.  One for each of us and one for my husband for lunch the next day.  Unless we are super hungry, then he just takes a sandwich or he eats out.  I put them in stacks of 3 and shove them in the bag.

Whaa Laa!!  6 dinners all ready to go.  Throw them into the freezer and use them within the next 3 months and you are golden!  That is only 2 pork chop meals a month which is just enough to savor it but not too much that you will get tired of them.  Next I tackeld the hamburger meat.  As you can see in the picture at the top, I chose to buy the meat that is in the nice handy pre-rounded stacks.  This saves me the trouble of splitting the mound and measuring it to get the pound I am looking for for each baggie.  The meat is the same price per pound regardless of the way you chose to purchase it.  I try to buy the packages that are between 6 and 6 1/2 pounds so that I know that each stack is “about” one pound of meat.  This makes the separating SUPER easy!  I label my bags then throw a  stack in each.

And there it is.  6 more meals ready to thaw at my whim and put into dinner deliciousness.  And last but of course not least is the roast I purchased with the chops and the hamburger.  It was a 7 pound roast and I split it in 2 so there is atleast 4 more meals for us.  Yes, I said 4, not 2.  Yes, I can add.  🙂  The roasts make enough shredded pork (which is what I almost always do to it after it has been sitting in my crockpot for the day) for 2-3 meals.  We make Cafe Rio style salads, Pork Nachos, Pork sandwiches, Pork Quesadillas….whatever your pork imagination can come up with.  I should also mention that a 3 – 3 1/2 pound roast will not fit in a Quart baggie.  I use the freezer Gallon Bags for these beauties.

I only have pictures of one of my pork roast halves because the other one is in my crockpot as we speak.  Ohh yummy salad here I come!!

It makes me happy.  There are 16-18 meals ready and waiting for my family for dinner.  All in manageable sizes to be thawed early or in the microwave at the last minute when you forget that you have nothing planned for dinner.  The freezer bags will keep the meat freshest for 3-4 months.  If you are like me, sometimes it sits in there a lot longer then that, and it still tastes fine to me.  But if you want to store your meat for longer then that intentionally, I would wrap it up differently to avoid freezer burn.  But that is a post for a different day. 🙂

February and March

The last month and a half has been full of both adventure and normalcy for us. 🙂

It has been an especially busy time for Garion.  Basketball has been going very well for Garion.  We have watched him improve substantially in his defensive manuvers and handling of the ball.  He has become good at blocking his assigned person and at stealing the ball.  He had a couple almost baskets and he has excellent sportsmanship.  Garion also turned 9 last Friday!  He had a Poke’mon party with 10 of his friends and it was a blast!  It was kinda weird because the boys were so quiet!  I am use to Kayla and her friends running around screaming and screeching.  But the boys huddled in the middle of the living room floor and payed Poke’mon for the first hour of the party.  We had pizza and bread sticks for dinner and then they all ran around playing guns and a few played the Wii.  I tried to make a Poke’mon cake in the shape of Garion’s favorite character, Archeus.  It wasn’t my fines cake ever, but  Garion liked it so I guess that is all that matters.  After the party Garion had his cousin Spencer and his best friend Tyler spend the night.  They stayed up till 11:30pm and woke up bright and early at 7:30 the next morning.  I think they spent the time looking at Garion’s plethara of new Poke’mon, playing the Wii and reading comics.  Saturday, Garion played in his last Basketball game, went shooting with Jason, and had dinner with some more friends.  All in all it was a fabulous birthday for him!  In addition to turning 9, Garion earned his wolf badge!  He has worked hard, mainly over the last 3 months instead of the year, to make all the requirements and get his badge.  I am so proud of him! Here are some pictures of the events and the many faces of Garion.

Kayla has been as happy as ever.  She is working hard in school. Though I struggle to get her to do her homework.  She has discovered the fun of makeup and insists on wearing it almost everyday.  I am trying to teach her that less is more and how to blend.  Some days she listens and others she just looks a little bit clownish. 🙂  Kayla’s newest fettish is baths.  She LOVES them!  She wants to take multiple baths everyday.  Usually I can keep it down to one, but sometimes she won’t even ask, I will just find her in the bath.  At least she is clean. 🙂

Brynn had quite the adventure in February.  Most of you know already that she decided to take the dog for a walk all by herself.  She was coloring on the floor in the living room while I went upstairs to get dressed.  I came back down about 10 minutes later, and found that both her and Sophie were gone.  The first thing I did was call the neighbors to make sure she didn’t go play.  Then I walked down to the park, because last summer she escaped several times to the park and slides without my permission.  When I couldn’t find them there, I really started to panic.  I got in the car and started driving around the neighborhood.  I called m neighbor, Michelle, and asked her to call and start our neighborhood phone tree.  After about 20 minutes I called Jason and could barely talk because I was crying so hard!!  He told me to call the police to get assistance in the search.  I was very impressed with the promptness of the deputies and their thoroughness.  They searched the house from top to bottom looking in every nook and cranny they could find.  Everywhere from the  closets to the dryer to inside the freezers!  When they were satisfied Brynn wasn’t hiding in the house, they joined the search outside.  I am soo deeply touch by the response of our neighbors!  Word got out on Facebook and through the phone tree and people came from everywhere to help look.  There were people out driving, hiking up the mountain, and walking door to door all looking for Brynn.  I don’t think it is possible to convey my gratitude for all their help and prayers.  For an hour, Brynn was out walking.  My neighbor Julie is the one who found her a mile away and about to walk to into a huge field.  Sophie, the best dog ever, was still with her.  She was cold, and very tired, but otherwise unhurt.  Her first two sentences to me were “Mommy, I’m cold!  Mommy, I got lost!”  Needless to say, we are VERY grateful to have her back home safe and sound.  I have tighened my grip on her, so to speak.  I have learned the hard way, that I cannot let my guard down for even a second.  2 days later, in Joann Fabrics, I lost her again.  Only for about 5 minutes and I without much drama, but I about sent myself into a panic again when I realized she wasn’t next to me.  Brynn hasn’t been very happy when we go to the store lately, because she has to sit in the cart!  🙂  One last word on Brynn.  She has a new phrase that I find quite cute and funny.  Whenever she is asked a question that she wants to answer in the positive, she says “I believe so!”  In her cute squeeky voice, it is so funny to hear such a grown up phrase!

Jason has started his paintball season and will be making some trips to Mesquite for certain turnaments starting this month.  He is also currently taking a hunting course that he is fully enjoying.  Jason is also very excited for the spring season.  He spent the day yesterday in the yard pruning the plants, turning the compost pile, and starting to get things ready for the spring planting.  Fun, fun, fun!

I have started training for a marathon.  2 in fact.  The first one is in June in Utah Valley and the second one is in July on the 24 in Salt Lake.  I am 3 weeks into my training schedule and feeling very good about it.  I am also trying to find to motivation to get out in the yard and help in the spring preparations.  I am not the gardening type, but I have high hopes that I will find more enjoyment out of it this year then I did last year.  I am starting the season with a better attitude and an pretty sure that will help me.  I have been busy with a couple home improvement projects as well.  I finally finished painting the closet doors in the girls bedroom as well as hanging up the plates from my grandma, and a couple other pictures in there to give it a finished feeling.  I recovered my dining room chairs in a deep red vinyl that I love and I cleaned out and organized the big closet in our basement.  All in all a busy and productive couple of weeks. 🙂

I will try to keep you updated on a more regular basis, but as usual, we will see what happens!   Love you all!

Basketball Season has started!

This has been a really fun week.  It started on Monday when I had the opportunity to accompany Garion and one other friend on his basketball team to the Jazz game at the Energy Solution Arena.  The Jazz played The Miami Heat and totally kicked butt winning by 29 points.  The final score was 118-89, Utah Jazz.  We had a great time at the game with Garion and L.J.  buying food, screaming really loud and laughing.  Garion had his first basketball practice on Thursday night, and his first game yesterday.  He missed the game, due to a super fun weekend spent at the cousins house, but will make his official appearance next Saturday.

On Tuesday morning I went to lunch with one of my best friends Jana to IHOP.  We had a great time.  Talking and catching up can be quite entertaining when your 2 and 5 year old are running circles through the restaurant playing chase with their friend!  🙂  It was really embarrassing, but not quite enough for me to put my foot down and listen to them scream int eh seat. 🙂  That night, Jason and I went to the temple for ward temple night and really enjoyed the time to relax, talk with friends and get away from the world, even if only for a couple hours. 🙂  However, the evening was spoiled a little bit when I got pulled over on the way home and got my first ever speeding ticket.  I was really annoyed!  I have been driving for 15 years, and haven’t gotten one yet.  Until Tuesday anyway.  Of course I am completely blameless, and I would never drive 38 in a 25 right out of a stop sign with Jason right in front of me in his truck.  But apparently, the Tahoe has a bit more kick then I thought.  The cop was “nice” however, knocking my speed down to 34 in a 25 to “keep the cost down” and marking me as eligible to go to traffic school.  Whoo hoo!!  I can even take it online!  I had to stop at In-N-Out on the way home for some comfort food.

Wednesday, Garion and I went to scouts.  This was my second den meeting since receiving the call to be a Wolf Leader.  It is really fun actually, but on Wednesday I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  The boys were all really crazy!  Julie is really good at keeping them kind of in check, but I think I need some serous prayer and inspiration on how to keep them in line.  It is hard because  I want the boys to know I love them and want them to have fun, but scouts need to be respectful to their leaders too.  I am sure that the more I go, the easier it will get.  That is what happened 3 years ago when I was a den leader.

Thursday night was my monthly book club night.  This month we read “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  It was an excellent book that reminded me not to be so stuck on “matters of consequence” that I cannot see the invisible things that are the most important.

Friday we took the kids to Jeremy and Heathers for the weekend.  They are the saints in my life that keep me sane. 🙂  IT was soo thoughtful of Heather t offer to have the kids spend a cousin weekend so that they could play and Jason and I could have some time alone.  We were suppose to go to Denver in November fora weekend, but the plans fell through when Brynn got Swine Flu.  So, this was a make-up weekend.  The kids all had a blast.  I did feel bad though because Brynn has a cold and it gave her diarrhea throughout the weekend.  Not to mention, making her wake up, up to 5 times at night.  Why is it that Brynn gets sick every time we have extended plans to go anywhere?  I wonder if she has some secret hidden agenda to keep us close to home.  🙂  Other then that, Garion and Kayla had  a great time playing, watching movies, swimming in the hot tub and eating.  Jason and i had a wonderful weekend attending preparedness classes on wheat and emergency power outages.  We mozied through Costco, I got a facial at the Philosophy counter in Nordstrom and we went on a group date to see Avatar.  The best part was sleeping through the night with out interruption. 🙂  We picked the kids up today and went right to church which ended up being pretty uneventful, luckily.

Garion and I spent about an hour this afternoon working on his wolf badge.  He is very close to getting it!  It is crazy to me that he is going to be 9 in about 6 weeks.  He is working on his Leave No trace Award and the World Conservation Award.  I am really proud of him.

On to another week that is bound to be filled with fun, starting with Robyn’s birthday party!  Kayla won’t stop talking about it!

Liquid Pectin or Powdered?

I have made a LOT of Jam this summer.  I have come to notice that several of the recipes I use call for liquid pectin instead of powered pectin.  I am a frugal person and it pains me to have to pay twice as much for the liquid pectin.  So I did some research and have learned that you can use powered pectin in a recipe that calls for liquid pectin, but you have to add the ingredients in a different order.  The two pectin’s are not quite interchangeable, but all of my results have been fabulous.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: When using powdered pectin for cooked jam, add it to the strained juice or chopped fruit BEFORE heating. Next, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down). THEN add the sugar. Bring to a boil again and boil for 1 minute.

When using liquid pectin, first combine the chopped fruit (or strained juice) with the sugar and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil; (stir constantly so you won’t scorch the mixture). Then add the liquid pectin, return the mixture to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.

Summer Photo catch-up!

The last three weeks have given me exactly what I wanted.  The nice scheduled school life.  🙂  So in a way it has settled down, but then it is still as busy as ever.  I guess what the difference is,is that we are on a schedule now so it is much easier to manage everything.  Both Garion and Kayla have started soccer and are doing great. They have had two games now and both their teams have won both games.  It has taken Kayla  a while to adjust to her new schedule. Between kindergarten and soccer she has been a little shy and unsure lately.  This is really not a part of her personality that I have seen before.  She struggles to go into her kindergarten class because she doesn’t have any close friends there.  And she has a good time at soccer practice after she spends half the practice attached to my arm telling me that she wants me.  I am not sure how to help her have more confidence, but I am learning to be more patient with her and I am just trying to really encourage her and let her know that I am always going to be here and then reassure her that she is going to make new friends as she learns and participates.  I am not sure she believes me.  Other then her timidity, she is dong really well.  She loves to do her homework and is as helpful as ever around the house.  You know, when I threaten death and torture, she is more then willing to do her chores. 🙂

Garion is doing really well at school and in soccer and in scouts.  As part of the soccer package, the kids got a free ticket to a Salt Lake Real soccer game.  Last night they had a special promotion that all the AYSO kids got to go onto the field with the team and sing the National Anthem before the game.  Kayla decided she didn’t want to go, so Garion and I had a special date to the game.  It was totally fabulous!  It was a lot of confusion when we first got there.  It took us a lot of wandering, standing and asking to get to the right line for the kids to line up.  We found the majority of the kids on his team before we found his coach, who was suppose to take them onto the field.  Parents weren’t allowed.  Once we were all together, we joined the chaos of kids and coaches waiting to enter the field.  I was surprised that it was as unorganized as it was.  There was no lines or meeting places or anything.  It was up to the individuals to arrange their own meeting places with their kids.  I was scared to death that I was going to lose Garion in the crowd after the National Anthem.  We designated a meeting place and I told him that if we got separated anyway, to ask a worker help him find his seat.  He then put his ticket in his sock and I reluctantly left him to the chaos.  It turned out to be really neat.  All the kids entered the field with their coaches, several hundred of them, then Real came out and then the Anthem was sung.  Garion and I found each other right away and had a great time watching the game after that.  We got some greasy food to eat and soda to drink and had a great time talking about soccer and just about any other random thing we could think about.  Garion spent the entire car  ride home talking to my mom on the phone and I was really surprised because I didn’t know he had that kind of communication in him.  🙂  After we got home, we had some ice cream with Jason and then called it a night.  I am totally going to add one on one dates with kids into our calender.  It was soo much fun!

Brynn is the same.  When Kayla started Kindergarten, Brynn would cry the whole way home because she couldn’t stay and go to school with her.  She has stopped those tantrums, thankfully, and now just follows the big kids around trying to be included.  She is a cutie pie!!

Jason has been busy working and camping.  Over Labor Day weekend, he went backpacking with 5 of his guy friends for 3 days.  I tried asking him what they did up there and I kinda wished I hadn’t.  When you start hearing about fart jokes, sphincter scales and other gross guy things, you learn that the curiosity isn’t necessarily worth it.  🙂  I am just glad they had a good time and came home safe.  This is the second year they went, and I am pretty sure it is going to be an annual even from now on.

I have had fun over the last two weeks re-dong my living room.  We got rid of our old couches and got a new one.  We have inherited a bit of new furniture from Jason’s mom and it has turned my living room into the semi-formal retreat I have always wanted it to be.  With a little bit of help from IKEA to fill in the blanks, and the rearranging of our existing accessories, I have a new room.  I LOVE IT!!!

Well, I am going to post a bunch of pictures at the end here.  A bunch from the summer, Finally pictures of Kayla’s birthday cake, soccer games and some photos of the living room.  Enjoy!

Back to school time!

The last 2 weeks have been crazy!!  We have been to 8 doctors appointments (doctor, dentist, eye doctor and urologist), cleaned out our bedroom and put in a new bed set, had a great birthday party for Kayla, started soccer practice, met Garion’s teacher, had Kayla’s kindergarten assessment, School started for Garion, I ran a half marathon,I jammed 51 pints of plum jam from our tiny tree in the back yard (and we aren’t done yet!!), Jason paintballed in Idaho, and Garion had pack meeting for scouts, etc.  I am out of breath just remembering our schedule!!  It seems like the two weeks before school each year get really busy, but this year has been the busiest yet by far.  I am just hoping and praying that this isn’t a trend of increased busyness each year.  If it is, then next year will kill me for sure and I won’t even have Brynn in school yet. 🙂  I am really beginning to understand and appreciate the importance of calendaring.  Without it I would have been lost.  Because of this new appreciation, I have added a new phone to my Christmas list. 🙂  A smart phone so that I can have my calendar and address book with me at all times.  And, probably most importantly, a calendar that I can add to when I am out and about.  I do almost all of my phone calls while I am in the car and almost all of my appointments are made when I am NOT at home.  Anyway, I am very excited for life to settle down into the school routine and get back to normal.

Well, normal for this year anyway.  It will be quite different because Kayla is starting kindergarten!!  As I mentioned above, she turned 5 this last week and we had an awesome birthday party for her.  It was a princess Barbie themed party complete with a barbie cake that I made with a real barbie doll.  (I will post pictures later this afternoon.)  We started with a craft of making necklaces and bracelets and headbands.  This was really fun, but a little too advanced for 5 year olds.  All 9 of them needed help at the same time.  In spite of it all though, they came out with several very cute pieces of jewelry.  We then moved to the pinata which was a unicorn.   This didn’t turn out exactly how I had it planned either because it broke open on the second person to hit it.  Nice hit Allison!!  Luckily, the plethora of candy that then became available dispelled any complaints from the girls that didn’t get a chance to take a swing at it.  🙂  Next came Kayla’s favorite part.  The presents.  She got every thing from jewelry, to makeup , to a gumball machine, to stickers with her name on them and a personalized notepad.  She was very excited!  She is still trying to carry everything around with her that she can all the time.  I can understand, sometimes it is hard decide what to play with!  So why not play with it all at the same time. 🙂  Last, we did the cake.  This was hard for me.  I had a little bit of drama making the cake, so it was hard to cut into it.  But that is the point and to my delight, it tasted very good!  It was my first time making and decorating with homemade butter cream frosting.  It was excellent, if I do say so myself. One last note on Kayla.  She started soccer practice this week.  She has 2 more practices next week and then her first game on Saturday the 29th.  She is on a team with only 3 other kids, all girls.  She is the only one without previous experience, but I Think she is going to really enjoy it.  We are going to spend some time this week as a family playing so that she can get a little more practice before her next practice.

Garion started third grade on Thursday.  This is the first year that we have had to supply supplies for him for class.  Not much, just a binder a dry erase marker, and pencil box.  He was very excited to go to the store and pick out his stuff for class.  As I am sure you all know, there is a TON of stuff for the kids to choose from.  It gets hard to explain over and over again why he doesn’t need the $20 camo binder with fifty pockets, a ruler, pencil case and built in flashlight for third grade and only the $.97 one. 🙂  But in the end, we found some great stuff and off he went.  He is riding his bike this year again, only this year he is riding with his friend Tyler who has started 1st grade.  I am much relieved that he has a riding buddy for the year.  His teacher is Mrs. Jackson, who happens to be the wife of his football coach from last year.  It is a small world!  🙂  His first day of school went well.  He likes his teacher, his best school friend, Joshua Callahan, is in his class and he eats lunch before he plays this year instead of the other way around  (like it was last year, which I didn’t know.)  Garion is also starting soccer, but his practices start this week.  His first game is also on the 29th.  Luckily enough for me, both games are at the same time at the same place on boardering fields.  So I can stand in the middle and cheer both of them on.  Hopefully!  Garion has been working hard in scouts.  In the last 2 weeks he has passed off a wolf requirement and earned his compass and map beltloops.  Good job Garion!

Brynn has been doing a good job being happy as we drag her all over the place with us.  She is turning into the epitome of a 2 year old.  She tells everyone that she can that she is 2, she loves to giver her opinion and pretend that Kayla’s new things belong to her, and she loves to talk to me.  Beware to those who don’t answer her on her first calling of your name.  The second and third time calling turns into screaming and it is almost as cute as it is annoying.  Almost.  Brynn has had a growth spurt over the summer and is now wearing 2T and sometimes 3T.  She has also grown in her vocabulary.  She is talking in complete sentences most of the time and her articulation is becoming very good.  I was a little worried that she would be bored once Kayla starts school, but the more I Think about it, the more I am SURE she will be happy to have some solo mom time!

Jason has been crazy at work.  I guess this time of year just has stress written all over it whether it is at school or work.  To make matters worse, he has been battling a sinus infection.  He finally went to the doctor and got on an antibiotic so he is feeling much better.  He left almost as early as I did Saturday morning to drive up to Idaho for the day to paintball.  I was glad he was able to go since he hasn’t had a chance almost all summer.  He had a great time, despite the heat and came home with some nice welts on his back to show off. 🙂  Jason has been busy this summer getting some major yard work done.  We are expanding our BBQ pit so that it doesn’t block the gate to our neighbors house, and we are trying as always to grow a garden.  There is a definite learning curve here.  Jason is more knowledgeable than myself and because of this, he does the majority of the work out there.  He has also been busy helping me get the house organized.  As I mentioned above we got a new bedroom set that we inherited from his mom and so to get it in the room, we had to organize and clean out the old set.  We are also in the process of organizing the basement to move in a new desk and the garage as we clean out all the baby stuff.  For some reason (probably because we have been gone traveling for most of the last 2 months), most of this organization has had to happen in the last two weeks.  I have no idea what I would do without him.  Thanks for putting up with me and my craziness honey!

As for myself, I have been going crazy trying to keep up with everything.  I have discovered about myself that I do not do well under pressure.  When I get tired, I fall to pieces.  Hence the importance of calendering.  If I am organized in time, I am happy while I work.  Yesterday, I ran the Hobble creek half marathon with my best friend Michelle and it was totally fun!  There really isn’t a greater feeling than crossing the finish line 20 minutes faster then you thought you would and knowing that you gave it your all and the months and months of training have paid off beautifully!  It is quite an emotional experience.  My sister in law Heather ran it as well and did a great job coming in at 2hours 6 minutes.  Michelle and I came in at 2 hours and 32 minutes.  🙂  Now that the race is over and school is underway, I am on a quest to finish the processing of all our plums, and then move on to our apples.  I am pretty sure the rhubarb needs to be harvested as well as some peppers, garlic, and onions.  Another personal revelation that I have had this summer is that I really don’t like to garden.  It is hot and their are spiders and I usually am really behind on my house work, which goes even more to pot when I have to work in the yard.  Then all the produce becomes ripe right around the time school is starting and it is one more big and time consuming project to harvest it all and then preserve it.  So, I don’t like to garden.  But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I love to look at all the pretty jars of preserved food on our shelves and see the rewards of our labors.  It is satisfying!