Saturday, January 26, 2013

Slimming Down

No, not my waistline. I so wish! Between Russ' birthday, my cousin's bridal shower, and a birthday party today, this week has not gone well for my diet... my imaginary diet... the one I imagine I'm on to make myself feel better.

But... I did do my workouts and morning walks this week, so yahoo for little victories!

That's not even what this post is about. You see, we spent a lot during the fall... so much, in fact, that we couldn't quite keep up. It was fun while it lasted, but we eventually decided it was time to get real. So, for the last month we've been on a spending diet. It's about as much fun as a food diet, just so you know. Today is the day we caught up, so we're finally off the diet... phew! (And burp, cuz we went out to eat... oh my gosh, that was so rude. Excuse me!)

A spending diet is where you try to stay busy at home so that you don't get bored and start feeling the need to go somewhere. This saves you gas, money, and calories. All good things!

Happy news:
*My bathroom is so clean, you could eat off the... no, I don't think it could ever be that clean. But it was clean... I even organized, threw stuff away, and wiped out cupboards, drawers, etc. I spent FOUR HOURS in there!
*The floor under my oven and refrigerator are clean... I even used a razor blade to scrape off some of the grime under the stove... that was my level of dedication!
*My high traffic areas are steam cleaned and deodorized. You know I laid down face first in my carpet after that and took a nice deep breath... mmm.

Sadly, I also made a mental list of all the new things we could use in our bathroom and kitchen. Luckily, I already forgot most of my list.

So what do you do when you get off a diet? You binge! The first thing I did was fill my car with gas. The needle was on F, people! I felt like a celebrity.

Then I got some deals:
*Hello Kitty wrapping paper at Walmart was marked $3.97 but rang up at 49 cents! Hello (kitty)! I went back for two more rolls.
*I went to Payless and found a pair of sandals for Kallie and a pair of flip-flops for Brandon that together totaled $5.97 because they were on clearance, and it was buy one, get one 50% off. Plus, my credit card had a deal where it will give me $5 back for any purchase at Payless, so after the statement credit, that will be less than a dollar!

This is the excitement in my life this month! Who wants to party with me? But I'm really proud of myself and my family for sticking with it and meeting our budget goals. We are still under budget for this pay period, and that's after my binge... some binge, right?

Monday, January 14, 2013

California Weekend

The first weekend in January, we went to California for my niece's baptism. Since the baptism didn't start until late afternoon on Saturday, we headed down to Balboa Park that morning...
... and used our Lowell Observatory membership to get into the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. That membership sure is coming in handy! The family spent a LOT of time making things roll on this spinning table.
Brandon did his own thing most of the time, but it was fun to see him so curious about all the exhibits.
This tornado was really cool.
Kallie liked listening to her voice changing.
I used to do this at home with the mirrored closet door when I was a kid.
This exhibit was a hologram of a spring. When Paige put her hand down inside to try to figure out what was going on, she was startled by a hologram of her hand popping up!
Look guys! A picture of me! Taken by me in the human kaleidoscope.
Brandon loved trying to catch the ball.
Paige has two cousins close to her age, and the one on the left happens to be the one who was baptized that day.
My youngest niece is so adorable!
These two and their ipod touches... they are probably texting each other.
Kyle butted in on this picture of Will and Sam.
The older kids weren't the only ones playing with electronics.
My youngest nephew, Mason.
This little guy has a million different facial expressions, and he's a good conversationalist, too!
Brandon's turn.
It looks like a meeting of the teens, and Erin is the president.
Being goofy.
Sunday morning before church, I wanted to get a picture of Kallie in her cowgirl boots to send to my mom, but all the kids wanted me to take their pictures, too, and so it was.
We went to Grandma, Grandpa, Ian, Katie, Patrick, and Mason's ward, which just so happens to have a small slice of the ward we used to be in when we lived in California. It was fun to see some people from way back when!

After church, we headed back up to my uncle's house for a delicious dinner. My cousin, Laura, set up a cute little tea party for my kids. My girls LOVED staying in Laura's room... it was like the best slumber party ever!
My in-laws live very close to our favorite burger stand, Charley's. We saw it every time we drove to their house, and I was determined to get a chance to eat there! On Monday right before we headed back to Arizona, my wish finally came true.
Mmmm... I want another Charley burger now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

... And a Happy New Year

New Year's Eve, I borrowed a couple of movies from the library and made an appetizer style dinner and cookies. Around 11pm, we all went outside for a fire and fireworks.
Will and Kyle were acting like teenage boys (big surprise, right?).
We had a lot of sparklers, and Russ was determined to burn them all that night so he wouldn't have any left in his closet. The kids delivered on that wish.
Kallie didn't like the loud fireworks.
At midnight, we had our grand finale and drank Martinelli's. All the kids made it past midnight without any tantrums... it was a happy new year!
New Year's Day, we went to Tempe Town Lake.
On the Mill Ave. bridge, we sat in more than one of the porticos.
These two were too cool for the porticos.
I thought this was funny.
Paige skated almost the whole way... I was so proud!
Kyle had a lot of energy to burn and kept running ahead and then running back. We like to say, "Run Forrest!"
The boys couldn't manage to climb this tree, so Russ decided to show them how it's done... or not.
I told you he had a lot of energy.
This sculpture reminded me of string cheese. This is right before Kyle biffed it the first time of many.
I was impressed by the New Year's sky, so I took a picture and called it "Phoenix."
A waterfall by the Tempe Center for the Arts.
Russ' grandpa, Papa J, always used to have steak and champagne on New Year's because of his theory that if you eat like a rich person on the first day of the year, you will set your mind up to become that rich person during the year. He died a couple of years back, but we adopted his tradition and think of him every New Year's Day... only we subbed ribs for steak and Martinelli's for the champagne. Crash hot potatoes, homemade corn bread, and salad rounded out a fabulous New Year's feast!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas!

This Christmas, we hosted Grandma and Grandpa Johnston (aka Big Grandma and Big Grandpa, although the size has only to do with Grandpa... Big Grandma is actually shorter than Little Grandma).

This kid has many faces, mostly kinda grumpy... I assure you, he did love his new scooter.
Every little girl wants a pony, right?
This was the first Christmas where Brandon actually cared about what was going on, and he caught on to the idea of opening gifts real quickly.
Now Russ is going to have to start wearing flip flops... courtesy of his brother in California (they look like Cali shoes, don't they?).
Like our mess? It took five days to climb out from under it.
Paige and her cool new bicycle.
Once she opened the iPod touch she's been asking for FOREVER, we never heard from her again (well, almost never).
Another of Brandon's faces, his mouth stained with candy cane. "There's gotta be more candy in here!" Once he emptied all the candy out, he carefully sorted it into piles... is he gonna be ocd?
Kallie taking her new dog, Sparkles, for a walk. She's not allergic to this one.
Kallie got a dino bones excavation kit, and these are her safety goggles.
Big Grandpa ended up doing most of the work.
The next day, we had Will & Kyle come over to open their presents. This is William's face when he told the joke that never gets old around our house... "I got a box!"
These bugs that Paige got for Will were on my ceiling for the rest of the day.
Kyle loves this shirt that says, "I don't know karate, but I know crazy!" When we did the neon splash dash, we got bracelets that came in packages that said, "Don't too crazy!" on them, and that has been a family joke ever since.
Will checking out the spoils.
More Pokemon cards for Kyle... "have that one, have that one, have that one, have that one, have that one... don't have that one!" Good thing there were a few in that giant pack that he didn't already have.
Do you love this face like I do? Kyle has this uncanny way of getting into the background of my shots when I don't want him there.
Brandon got cowboy boots for Christmas, and Kallie managed to squeeze her feet into them somehow. She looks cute on her new rocking horse, Sparkle (as opposed to Sparkles, the dog).
I like how color coordinated Paige is on her new bicycle.
Brandon has been riding Paige's old Dora scooter, so there was no learning curve for him... except maybe the direction of the handlebars. Do I spy a smile?
Brandon loves Kallie's rocking horse, too.
I was just a little bit jealous when Santa brought Paige a pizza making shop. You can make your crust, grate your cheese...
Make a dozen different toppings...
(Looking delicious)
And cut it up with a pizza cutter! Russ actually took a bite... he should've heeded the warning on the box... "Fun to play, but not to eat!"
Paige got new rollerblades for Christmas, and I thought she did pretty well on them for her first try! Good thing she had the pads, though... now if only she had a butt pad...
Sorry to say, there were no pictures taken of me. Since I got the new camera, Russ has only taken one photo of me, and that was just so he could try it out. I'm going to have to work on that because I'm tired of only being a narrator in our family story!