Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Feeling so thrifty

In the past Irish and I (okay, mostly Irish) have tossed around the idea of doing a strictly cash budget when it comes to groceries. Each time he brought up the subject I wasn't too excited, not because I didn't think we could do it, but I'm all about the points! With our MC we earn points, which in turn can give us free groceries. My only hang up was loosing out on those points.

It was about the middle of January when Irish finally 'put his foot down' and said that this is what we are going to do. I rolled my eyes, and almost felt like telling him to start doing the grocery shopping, BUT as a good & supportive wife (like I try to be) I said OK. We discussed what we thought would be a reasonable weekly amount for our family, and withdrew that amount.

So here I am, as I drop him off at work, with an envelope 'full' of cash. Off to the grocery store I went. I decided the best way to 'manage' the money would be to write each item I am putting in my cart down on a piece of paper, along with it's price, if it's a weigh-able item...then I would have to weigh it and figure out how much it cost. After all, how am I suppose to know what is in my cart and what my bill is going to be when I get up to the cashier. That was/is my biggest fear of paying with cash, not knowing my total...and then coming up short, then having to ask the cashier to remove items. I could have just kept a running total in my head, but with this prego brain I've got going on, and two little ones in the was best that I wrote it down!

Before we made the switch from plastic to paper (MC to cash) I would have never described us as people who just bought what ever, or purchased items that we didn't really need. Yes there were times that one of the kids would say "Oh Mom, look at this" or "Could we get _____ please". Every once in a while I would 'indulge', because everyone needs a treat now and then. Plus I didn't always want to be saying NO to my kids.

When you are buying with plastic, it's SO easy to over spend, because 'money isn't an issue'.

I can not tell you the freedom ( that the right word?) I felt when buying with cash. I knew exactly what was in my cart, there was no surprise at the total when I got to the till & to be able to pay in full right then and there, knowing we didn't owe the MC company for the food we just bought, was AMAZING! 

It almost feels like a game, I feel like such a winner when I purchase everything we need for the week (I like to plan my meals a week in advance, so that I know all the ingredients I will need, thus resulting in one weekly grocery trip) and come out UNDER budget! This has happened both times I've gone so far since starting our cash budget. The last time, which was our last shopping trip for the month, we had a nice little amount left over. So I 'treated' us by going to Costco and buying some items that we've been out of for a while, but use on an almost daily we had company coming that weekend, so I wanted to be all stocked up! You know what?? I even have $7.50 left after shopping at Costco!! I was so pleased with my self!

In the end, I would recommend doing a cash budget if you are looking for some way to save some money. In the two trips I've taken, I've noticed that we are now spending on average $30 less a week in groceries. Now keep in mind that I haven't had to replace the Tide, or buy more chicken, which are big ticket items, but I'm still fairly confident in my self that I can remain on budget! (we also decided that diapers should not be included in our grocery budget, and have a different amount set aside for those)

Ooh and the bonus of it all, is that with the new program our store has come out with (we shop at Superstore, and they now have their PC Plus Points system), I can STILL earn points on the items I purchase (that have been selected for plus points) even when I pay with cash!! I don't get my points for bringing my own bags...but at least I'm getting points! Yay, happy day!!

Some New Digital LO | 2013 Yearbook

I've been working hard trying to get my 2013 album all finished up. I still have lots to do, but at the same time, I feel like I have a lot accomplished. It's getting exciting though, as this will be my first printed (and complete) album.

I started 'seriously' scrapbooking after Marshall was born & I have a FULL album from just his birth day until he was about maybe 4 months old, haha!! Perhaps I was a little over zealous?! It took me a bit to realize that you can not scrap absolutely every picture you take...and even then, when you 'down size' the allotted pictures you want to print, you should go through and do that process again...and one more time for good measure!

I have fallen in love with digital scrapbooking! Here are some new pages I have completed lately :)

I had the opportunity to run in the Color Me Rad race in Calgary (

 We had a lot of Court Cousin time this summer, the kids were in Heaven!

 Took a day trip out to Writing on Stone with the Fam Jam

 Spent Thanksgiving out at 'the Farm' in Rosemary, with our Lilburn Cousins.

 I decided to make our announcement for baby #4 a 12x12 page, so that it could be apart of our yearbook!

That's it for now, I better get back at it!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Where did he come from?

At the beginning of January we started a new session of swimming lessons. I wasn't overly excited about the fact that we were going to be doing them at the same facility, as I haven't been too impressed with the instructor that one particular child kept on getting. I was too late in registering with another facility, and wanted to keep the lessons going. I decided that it was better to have them in lessons to keep the confidence and hopefully progress up, than to not have them in any at all.

I had also made up my mind that if this particular child was given the same instructor, that we would be OUT of there!...I'll give you some background information.

The child I am referring to is, Marshall. Getting comfortable in the water has not been an easy thing for him. Up until he was about 4 years old, he was severely afraid of the water. He would be okay to play in the tub, but as soon as it came time to wash his hair, no matter which way I tried to do it (because trust me, we tried several ways) he would freak right out. He didn't even like getting sprayed at the water park.

The past two summers Marshall made a lot of progress in the water, he was no longer playing on the pool deck, but IN the shallow water. He even got to the point this past summer, that if he was wearing a life jacket, he was okay to swim in the deep end...BIG improvement!!

Now my 'beef' with this instructor is that I didn't particularly find he was paying as much attention to the children in his class as he should have been, he just seemed to be laid back and not overly observant. There were at least two separate occasions where I thought Marshall was going to drown...that's how much attention he 'gave' to the students.

He spent too much time sitting on the side of the pool talking with the kids, I only assume it was about water/pool safety...but when you only have a 30 min class, don't spend the bulk of it out of the water! This happened every.single.class. I was so frustrated. I kept thinking 'What on earth have I paid for!?' 'My child does not know how to swim...I'm paying you to teach him DO IT, Please!"

When we arrived for our first class this session, and I saw that Marshall, yet again, had the same instructor, I was SO ready to go get Marshall and leave. Irish was there with me and I started to tell him about how this was the same instructor he had last time, and tell him all about the instructor...again. That is until, I saw my boy jump care free, chest puffed out, feet swung up behind him into the water (during a "if you like ____ jump into the water game")

I was IN SHOCK! I could not process what had just happened. The entire last session the only way Marshall would jump into the water was to hold onto the side of the pool and then jump in. I was so incredibly happy for him. Throughout the lesson he continued to blow my mind. He was so brave, doing things he wouldn't even try in the previous session. He even tried diving (from a sitting position), swinging off the rope & even went as far as to try to 'swim out' to get the rope, all of this in the deep end.

As for now we have decided to leave him where he is. I am SO incredibly proud of him, he is so proud of himself (he has every right to be!!). I really want to work hard with him before summer comes so that he can get to the point where he can swim all by himself. What a confidence booster! Keep up the good work Marshall!!

You better believe that I will be first in line to register somewhere else for next session though...especially since our current location decided to increase the price $22/child PER session...that's a 50% increase from what we paid last time....

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Digital Scrapbooking

Last week my SIL came to visit with her two boys. Whenever we get together the days usually go a little something like this: a fun energy engaging activity for the kids in the a.m, lunch, naps for the littles with a movie or some sort of quiet time for the bigger kids (while trying to squeeze in some scrapbook time for the moms before all of the supper prep needs to be done), supper, clean up, a little bit of craziness play time and then a super good attempt at getting the kiddos IN bed ON TIME! Because after bedtime...comes SCRAPBOOK time for us!

My SIL introduced me to Digital Scrapbooking just after Benson was born, and I must say I LOVE IT! There is NO mess, all I have to pack with me when I go to her house is my laptop (instead of multiple storage containers of paper, tape, embellishments, pictures, etc). Annnnd you wouldn't believe how many FREE items there are out there!! It also pays off to be on the newsletter mailing list for your favorite designer...they usually have incredible discounts and free items included!

At first it took me a little while to get into the 'digital scrapbooking thinking mode'. But once I got all of my 'supplies' organized and familiarized my self what I had, it became easier.

This past week was probably my most successful scrapbook time. I think I completed something like six pages?! I was very happy with myself!

This is one of my favorite pages!

This is Marshall and his Best Bud Zach. Zach's family moved to Lethbridge (about 4 blocks away from us) two years ago. They conveniently had a boy Marshall's age, twin girls a little older than Paisley and we had our last babies at the same time...20 days apart (we're obviously on the same 'schedule'...haha).

Anyways, these two boys get a long so well, and love playing with each other. Marshall is constantly asking to go to Zach's or if Zach can come to our house! We have really enjoyed them living so close these last few years! Zach's Mom has become one of my best friends! Soon they will be moving to Cardston, and I feel as though a little piece of me will be empty!! I know Marshall doesn't fully understand what this means, and it probably won't 'sink in' until the day he asks to play with Zach and I tell him that it probably won't work because they don't live down the street anymore. BUT we WILL get together LOTS in the summer (Right Amelia!?!), and we will still have just won't be the same spur of the moment:
A: wanna park it after school?
K: sure do!
A: school or straight park?
K: school would prob be best.


A: can marshall come play, zach is bored
K: yes, yes he can, your house or mine

etc, etc, etc

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I didn't vanish!

My oh my! I have not posted in a WHILE! Let's just say we've been a little busy! Saying that I feel as though appointments have taken over our lives would be an understatement!! We have chiropractor for myself (which for six weeks was THREE times a week, then down to twice a week for I can't even remember how long, and now I am finally able to go once a week. Currently trying to make it two weeks between visits) Chiropractor for the kids (Starting in January, they went once a week for 10 weeks), massage for me (whenever I can fit it in & find someone to watch my kids for an hour and a half), dentist for me...multiple visits (I was having some jaw/clenching issues since the accident, and as a result a tooth on the bottom started to shift/'pop' out of place. I now wear an 'adorable' little splint at is very attractive!)

Then we were seeing a pediatrician for Benson as he has had a partial tongue tie since birth and I was worried that it was getting in the way of his intake of solid foods...back in December. After a feeding assessment done by a Speech Therapist, in March, it was decided that we did not need to take any action regarding his tongue tie as he was managing quite well for his age, with good movement of his tongue. They said that hopefully as he continues to use his tongue, the tie will stretch out even more. (Of course there was a space of 3 months from the time that I went to my family Dr with the initial concern of his tongue tie, to getting in with the Pediatrician, to be referred for the appointment with the Speech Therapist)

Oh, and let's not forget about Marshall's appointments with the Ears, Nose, Throat has been decided that he needs to get his Adenoids removed! We are still in the waiting process for this one, but it should be a 'fun' two weeks after the surgery trying to get that boy to sit still and not be active!

Soooo, mix all of that in with the daily 'monotony' of house work, school runs, errands, and just trying to be a good mom and wife...I haven't felt like I've had that much time, or energy to keep up on the blog or be creative in any way.

I DID however, the other day, find some time to squeeze in a Digital Lay Out! OH, it felt so good to actually finish a page! I love it, let me share it with you!

The pages that I have finished this year have been for my Year in Review Pages. At the end of the year I try to have one page per month highlighting a little of what we did each month. While it is still satisfactory to have those pages done, it is even more so to do a random page about my kids!!

I love this girl and all of her goofy faces!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Out With a Bang!

It only seems fitting that since we started this year off with some pretty crazy things, some of them pretty major, others not quite as much (a few examples: How it all went downPhoenix Trip, Re-routed, and the absolute best one He's Here) that we would should "go out with a bang!" Not that we had anything planned!!

I'll just use the statement that I gave to the Police to describe the following:

At approximately 1:30pm on Friday December 28, 2012 I was traveling southbound in the right hand lane on James McKevitt Blvd approaching 162ave.  I was in the right hand lane with two vehicles already stopped at the red light ahead of me. I was slowing down and as I was about 15-20 feet away from the second vehicle the light turned green. I then signaled and changed into the left hand lane (as the left lane was open) so that I wouldn't have to slow down any further.
As I was entering the intersection a vehicle traveling west bound on 162 ave T-boned the driver side of my van, pushing my vehicle into the median and pole dividing the east & west bound traffic for 162ave (on the west side of James McKevitt Blvd)

I've never been involved in a 'serious' accident (I definitely did not get my Mother's genes on that one!!). I've been a passenger in two minor fender benders, in which no one was hurt.

As the accident keeps replaying in my head the worst part of it all was the sound right after the ginormous CRUNCH we heard, was the panic sound of screaming and crying coming from all three of my children, which I was told later by EMS that crying is a good means they are alive!

I felt so 'stuck'. I so desperately wanted to go back there and comfort them. I could not exit my door, my seat had moved so that it was touching the passenger seat...and there was a pole in the passenger sliding door! There was no way for me to get to the kids.

All I could do was talk to them and tell them that it was okay, and that help would be there soon.

After the impact, and vehicles had stopped sliding everywhere the driver of the other vehicle came right over to us. You could see the look of guilt on his face as he walked over. He opened the passenger side door and asked if I was alright, unbuckled my seat belt, then looked into the back of the van, saw the three kids...and I swear his jaw hit the floor!

I'm not sure who called 9-1-1, but it seems as though Police, Fire & EMS were there in a matter of minutes!!

After Sam, the paramedic got into the van she started assessing me. When I told her I was experiencing pain in my neck & showed her the area she immediately held my head and told me not to move. The fire guys removed all three kids from the rear of the van and took them to hang out in a firetruck. Meanwhile they determined that they were going to have to use the Jaws of Life to get me out of the van. CA-RAZY!

Prior to removing my door Sam explained that I would hear a loud pop, but that it was just the glass breaking. She also told me to tell her if I felt anything on my legs...I immediately moved my legs as far away from the door as I could...I didn't need them to be injured in the attempt of freeing me from my van!

Once the door was off, they put a neck brace on me, and onto the hard, straight board I went. They started strapping me down, when one of the EMS people said that they needed to take my coat off so they could get my blood pressure. One of them tried to get my arm out without moving me too much, and then said "I think we're going to have to cut it" In my head I'm crying NOOOOO! Then I heard Sam say, "No, don't cut it, it's a nice coat, let me try"...and she was successful, Thank You Sam!!

Once in the ambulance, Sam started asking me if I had family that could come and get the kids, where Dad (Irish) was, and if there was someone that could meet us at Foothills Hospital to be with Benson while I was having my X-rays.

It's all somewhat of a blur, but long story short my sister ended up following my ambulance to the hospital. My Aunt (who was in the process of packing to go to Utah for a week) came to the scene to go in the ambulance with Marshall & Paisley. Before she went with them she was allowed to come see me in the ambulance. She reassured me that the kids would be looked after, that I didn't need to worry about them, and that they wouldn't leave (for Utah) until they knew I was going to be okay. My cousin, who is more like my brother drove my Aunt to the scene & was able to take all of our belongings out of the van and back to the house. He also popped his head in to give me some reassuring words. Oh and yes, Irish was called. I made Kristi do that, as I barely made it through the phone call to her...I knew I wouldn't even be able to speak to Irish if I called him!

Once arriving at the hospital it wasn't too long before there was a space ready for me in the trauma center. I was SOOOO happy when they finally took me off of that hard board! I know it's used to help keep you in a stable position...but man oh man does it ever do a number on your tailbone & the back of your head! Talk about numb beyond numb!!

Both my chest and neck were X-rayed. Good news is that there are no broken bones! I was then given 'the road test' as they called it. They did a few motor skill tests, and then finally the last test was to sit up, and be able to walk. The sitting up and walking was actually harder than I thought it would be. I got really dizzy and nauseous, it took a few tries before I was able complete that part. Finally I was able to get dressed and the last thing they did was take the IV out of my hand.

By this point they had paged Kristi back to be with me. Benson had been asleep the whole time and woke up just as I was finishing the 'road test'. Kristi took him out of the car seat and almost immediately he had some nurses 'oogaling' him.

As the nurse was taking the IV out she told me to keep pressure on the area for no less than 3 minutes, or else it would bleed out. I received a little bit more instruction from the Dr, and then we were allowed to leave.

So here I am walking down the hallway, holding my "owie", meanwhile my sister, Kristi, has the car seat in one arm, Benson in the other....and is 30 weeks preggo!! I felt like such a jerk...and probably looked like one too, not helping her out! But I honestly couldn't carry anything at that point.

We took a seat in the lobby to get Benson back in his car seat. I then figured it would be a good idea to call Irish and let him know I was okay & being discharged. Turns out he was just about to the parking lot of the hospital, so we waited inside for him. He came in, we (or maybe mostly me) had a tearful reunion, and I'll tell you, it never felt so good to 'hug' him, as it did right then. I was SO glad I was in as good of condition as I was! He got a phone call from my cousin who had reserved a rental van for us, but Irish needed to be there to sign the papers & it was almost closing he was off!

That night was the worst. My whole head ached, my jaw hurt, all of my teeth hurt, my ears were ringing, I felt like there was an elastic band around my head...and I could barely move my neck...or upper body. I have never had so many hot baths as I did over the next 24 hours.

I am so grateful to everyone who helped us out that day with everything from taking care of my kids, gathering what they could out of the van, finding us a rental, praying for us, supporting us emotionally, as well as physically, sending thoughtful text messages, giving me acupuncture and getting me Advil...etc!!

Once again, I have the most amazing family EVER! I Love all of you!!

Now for what you all read this incredibly long post for....PICTURES!!

 They put the front door in the back door

 The tire must have 'popped' off when we hit the curb. You can see the indent in the passenger sliding door from where we hit a pole

 My seat was pushed over, almost touching the passenger seat!


 This is looking in the driver side sliding door, Paisley's seat. So grateful that her hand was not down beside her car seat at the time of impact!!

 Another angle...

...and another

Good Bye Pontiac, you were (mostly) good to us. Thank you for being sturdy, and keeping us all safe!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bed time snuggles

Tonight Marshall asked me if Benson could sleep with him all night...ALL night (this isn't the first time either!). He even emphasized the ALL part! I told him that tonight he couldn't, but when Benson was bigger, they definitely could have a sleepover. Marshall made sure to clarify that I meant Benson could sleep in HIS bed WITH him. Again I told him Yes, but not until Benson was older.

So, for tonight, he settled for bed time snuggles.

...Marshall was ecstatic!

and Paisley got some snuggles "all her self" too...