Sunday, June 28, 2009

We had a nice week last week. I guess we always have nice weeks--unless I go on bedrest or Lee gets held up by gunpoint!

So what did we do? Let me think...just the normal stuff mainly. Clark finished summer school on Wednesday, so that is nice. Tuesday he went to a pool in Rolla and seemed to have fun. Sometimes I end up doing stuff that I say I will never do--like working out with all five kids. I really like working out in the morning, so I take the kids with me. It actually works out well because there is cableTV that the kids can watch while I walk/run. I could go in the afternoon by myself, but like I said, I much rather get it done with in the morning and then be with Lee in the afternoon and evening.

Thursday I made a jello dish to take to Home, Family and Personal Enrichment. Some of the kids got in it and make streaks all over it. Then Saturday morning Shanna and Haley took the rest of it (a glass 9x13 dish) into a downstairs shower and went to town on it. Home, Family and Personal Enrichment was very fun, by the way.

And since I'm going all over the place, on Monday we got a swing set from my friend Pamela! Thank YOU! Chris came over to help Lee move it. The kids like it, though it's been a bit on the hot side to play on during the day. Which reminds me that Saturday morning we went to Clark's school to play at the playground. We went too late (10 am) and we all ended up sitting in the shade and drinking water because it was so warm out.

Friday I was talking to Clark and I thought I saw a new adult tooth in his mouth. He had just one loose tooth, so it seemed weird. I asked him to show me his teeth. His "first" tooth had already grown in behind his loose one!

I think I want to by-pass the whole tooth fairy thing. I convinced Clark to let me pull it out and that when daddy came home Clark could go and get a treat. (So okay, money is healthier than a treat...) I tied dental floss around the base a gave one good tug. Clark was quite weary of what was about to happen. But the tooth came out right away! It flung into the air and we still can't find it. After a little shock and some blood, he was just fine. Of course after Clark got to pick out a treat Cal has been telling us that he as a loose tooth.

Last week about 8pm there was a baby racoon in our back tree...

Some pictures of Elden courtesy of Lee

Our first harvest from the garden spots my dad planted for us. We had a second harvest and it consisted of two green beans. We ate them today--YUM!

I took a few pictures before church this morning.

Clark is flinching because he thought Elden was going to spit up on him.

Gorgeous group!

Some reading recommendations...

Surprise, surprise, more Dave Ramsey! Lee and I read this book a couple months ago and we both loved it.

Image from

Many of you know how much I agree with and like the plan that Dave Ramsey has for getting out of debt and building wealth. The tools and principles he teaches are not new and I have heard many of them from several people.

Overall what I loved about this book is that it was about real life--not just saving X amount of dollars so you can be a billionaire. He talks about different things like how to handle trials successfully, the joy of giving and how to create a better marriage. It was like reading a book on how to apply gospel principles in your life while improving your financial situation too. Though we talk quite a bit about financial things, the book also motivated me to improve my communication with Lee about our specific financial goals and monthly budget. Thanks for the book Amy! If you haven't read any of Dave Ramsey's books, I would recommend first reading More Than Enough, and then the The Total Money Makeover.

Lately Lee and I have been talking a lot about specific financial goals. Since we will be out of debt in a few months we are deciding exactly what to do with our money: how much to set aside for an emergency fund, for retirement, for kids' college; when we should buy a house, how much to spend on a house, etc. It has been VERY fun!!!

With an almost ongoing financial conversation at home, I have been thinking a lot too about what our Prophet and church leaders have counseled us to do with our money. Among many, one great article from the June Ensign is "Focus on Family Finances" by Allie Schulte. In there she referred to the pamphlet my church produces entitled All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances and it prompted me to read that pamphlet again. You can go here to get it for free (free shipping too!) or go here to read it online.

In trying to refrain myself from putting the whole pamphlet on my blog--it's a short read--here are some highlights from All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances.

"We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve."

"Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security."

"Save money to purchase what you need."

"If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible." (Dave's plan is great for this!)

It also mentions to first pay tithes and also generous fast offerings, keep track of expenditures, stick to your budget, save money, involve your family in the process and teach them good financial habits and get as much education as you can.

I have heard comments about people always having money problems or that they'll never "get ahead". But as I was thinking about finances, and what church leaders have counseled to do, I know that we all can be financially secure. Sure maybe some of us won't have private jets or own our own island, but we can all be financially secure.

It's like when David killed Goliath, or Nephi went to get the plates from Laban. They both accomplished a task that some thought impossible. As Nephi said in 1 Nephi 3:7 "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

For years we have been counseled to get out of debt and save money. This is something that the Lord wants us to do, thus in turn, we can do it! We will all be able to get out of debt. We will all be able to save money. It will be easier for some than others. Sacrifice may be a constant friend to some. And financial struggles may still come in the future. But it is possible. And again from All Is Safely Gathered In, "If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts." True, true. Anyway, I just had this realization the other day and wanted to share it with all of you.

I have one last article to recommend before I end this blog post. It also comes from the June Ensign: "Our Refined Heavenly Home" by Elder Douglas L. Callister. It was great. There are so many things I need to improve on! I have been thinking about the article and wanted to pass along the link for all of you to read.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Saturday, the 20th, we went to St. Louis. Lee and I swapped going to the temple to do sealings. After the temple we all went to Target and Cal spent some birthday money. Initially arriving at Target I went over to Whole Foods with the girls. I had never been to a Whole Foods store before. WOW. It was very fun. I will say, I am not an organic type of person. For one thing, EVERYTHING was organic at one point! I would definitely not pay $5 for a box of organic cereal, when a box for $1.50 can be had. But if one was looking for an out-of-the-ordinary ingredient, Whole Foods would be the place. They had real vanilla beans--not too surprising--and coconut flour! (The coconut flour, among LOTS of other things surprised me.) Also if you or your kids had allergies to wheat or dairy, there are many food choices and ingredients there that would make cooking very easy to do for people with allergies.

Here are pictures from last Saturday. The kids played at a park while I was in the temple. Lee said it was pretty hot out, so they didn't play on the playground too much. Plus there were a lot of other kids there. But they came across another turtle and enjoyed it!

After Target, we went to the St. Louis Zoo! After our many trips to St. Louis, we finally went to the zoo. What is great about it, it's free ALL THE TIME! And of course with us, we made it out of there without paying a dime. We did get our exercise though! We knew it cost $11 to park at the zoo, so when we saw the signs about the zoo, we parked out on the street where it was free. Once we got out and started walking I realized I made a big mistake. The zoo wasn't right next to the main road, but in a huge park. We walked 1 1/2 miles round-trip. Not too bad for the normal person. But with 5 kids and being in the upper 90s...not the best idea. Next time we will drive into the park area and park closer to the zoo entrance. We liked the zoo, though it is very big (...lots more walking!) It will be fun to go again.

Lee deserves the Father of the Year Award!

Notice that there aren't many pictures of Shanna? She will now say "Cheese" for the camera, but about the time she smiles and says cheese she turns her head right away. So, another fun picture of Haley for you!

Afterwards Clark told us how it was the best day ever. I am glad he had fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Farewell to Lee's co-workers

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another busy week has passed.

Friday we enjoyed going to one of the sprinkler parks here on base. When I showed Haley her swimsuit, she did not want it on. Next time I'll put it on anyway.

Thursday there was a going away party for three people at Lee's work. One is getting out of the Army, another is moving on to Germany, and another is being deployed. There was a pot-luck at the park for everyone and their families. I bet people wondered why my kids were drinking so much pop and kept wanting dessert!

After the party in the park, we went to our friends house and the kids played. They also had a pool set up outside and some of the kids enjoyed playing in that.

Last Sunday one of Clark's teacher told them how to make prayer rocks. We made some for our FHE activity.

Earlier on Monday Shanna wanted me to keep wrapping up her baby in a blanket. Too cute! They definitely notice what mom and dad do at a young age!

Two weeks ago Sunday Shanna put these socks and shoes on. She likes to go into the boys' room and put on their shorts and underwear. On Sunday (the 21st) she had some of Cal's orange shorts on underneath her dress.

I completed my five days of exercising last week. I have about 8 more pounds to lose! Last Monday and Tuesday some bad storms swept through. One of the storms busted our front storm door. We woke up at 1 am to some crazy banging noises, and it was our storm door whacking itself against the house. Later it was flinging so far backwards that it would ring our doorbell. At least the doorbell ringing didn't start till that afternoon.