Saturday, June 28, 2008

So, today I went outside with the boys and trimmed the grapes. They were getting out of hand and needed to be pruned. Austin actually helped me quite a bit, but Alex just kind of poked around and played on the swings.

We're going out to look for a BBQ today. We are having a July 4th get together and doing dinner and thought it best to grill. I hope we can find one that is within our budget and a good one...I may be dreaming, but I think we can manage. I've got some coupons (you had no doubt I know) so I hope that helps out a little bit.

We've been eating out entirely too much this week, but I can now get around and do things. I got the go ahead from the doctor yesterday and I can actually fold a towel now! Yay me! Actually, the meals we got from the sisters in my ward were really pretty great. Nicole even brought over some homemade Strawberry shortcake, with homemade whipped cream! It was really tasty. My arms still are sore from the failed IV attempts, blood draw pokes and my infiltrated IV least that one is no longer hot and it is getting softer.

We're kind of back to the drawing board for Sam and potty training. When I was gone it kind of threw her off a bit trying to do it with everyone else. Now I'm hoping in the next few days/weeks we'll be on track again and at least be back to the only 1 accident a day thing...or even no accidents would be great.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So, I feel much better today. Yay for me! :) So, what do I do when I start to feel better? Coupon. I've been paroosing the ads getting things in order so I can get my deals. :) Nice huh? I'll be getting my sodas and coupon deals together, probably tomorrow so that I can use my $10.00 off $50.00 at Albertson's.

I think Alex might have had a touch of heat stroke or some heat related condition today. He was at Sport's Camp and I guess his instructor mentioned that he was acting really tired and worn out today. This would make sense since he woke up at 6:30am (an unnerving hour), and he only drank about 1/8 out of his water bottle, which isn't enough when you're out in the sun for hours. So, the poor thing came home and has been acting like he sick and drowsy and didn't want to play outside much. I gave him some Capri Sun's and he's perked up a bit, but I think going to bed early tonight is going to be a must. Another yay me. :)

Jon has the day off tomorrow, which is a surprise, I guess there are no docs working tomorrow. We'll end up taking the car to get the brakes done first thing in the morning and then Jon will take some loads to the dump. Hopefully we'll get some things done tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I mowed the front and backyard all by myself today. :) It was really hard work and it was rather warm outside. It looks quite nice though. I paid the neighbor kid in advance to mow it and asked him to do it Monday. He said he would do it, and it's Thursday and he still hasn't done it. Kind of irritates me. So, when I see him next I'm going to ask him to pick a day during the week he can mow it and then let him mow it each week on that day for the next three weeks...because that's how far in adanced I have him paid. Then I'll do it myself after that. If he won't keep on schedule I'll ask for my money back. Seems fair right?

Just in case you didn't get my email...this is worth the read.

Former White House advisor to three U.S. Presidents — George Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford — Stephen Studdert knows Washington as an insider with privileged information, contacts and insight. Unfortunately these days this knowledge is a burden and the normally optimistic Studdert admits that he's a worried man.

He has written America in Danger — What You Must Know to Protect Yourself to raise a warning voice saying that such a complexity of factors influencing American independence and the economy are upon us that it is difficult for most citizens to gain perspective. However, it is essential to have this understanding to be adequately prepared.

He writes:
Things feel of late like the planet is on a downhill runaway train and picking up speed, growing ever closer to the mountain cliff. The inevitable crash is around the next bend, or the next. There are frightening clouds of instability on the close horizon and they are easily seen by those who look. In many respects we are a nation sinking under its own weight. My restless and nagging fear is that the avalanche may suddenly come crashing down before we get our houses in order.
His intent is not to frighten readers, but help them assess the risks and dangers that exist from following the policies America is currently pursuing. He says, "We need to hear the real facts and the plain truth even if it hurts."
Studdert lists ten dangers including the triple threat to our global economic dominance posed by China, India and Russia; the time bomb of American debt; our unfunded entitlement programs; radical Islam and terrorism; federal government stupidity; the bursting of the housing bubble; our unquenchable thirst for oil; immigration insanity; pandemic plagues; and America's failing infrastructure.
Some of these are issues we assume we see, but Studdert connects the dots for readers in a way designed to help us pull our heads out of the sand.
Meridian Magazine recently interviewed Stephen Studdert about the issues he discusses in his book.

Meridian Magazine: You indicate right now that you are very worried about America. Why?
Studdert: I told my wife when I first went to the White House when I was 26-years old, I've been exposed to too much information that is just frightening. Sometimes I wish that I hadn't known it.
However, as I look at the issues facing America, I have never seen a more potentially dangerous time since the Civil War, and what worries me most is that if two or three of these possible dangers hit simultaneously, our ability to respond to is very limited. To me a perfect example right now is that we have a housing/credit crunch with the burst of the housing bubble and foreclosures are already at a historical high. Theoretically to avoid a recession, the government passes a so-called stimulus 160 billion refund to the taxpayers, but it is a refund of taxes never yet collected, so in reality it's 160 billion more debt on the backs of the American public.

Meridian Magazine: Tell us about the economic threat facing America.
Studdert: For over a century, the United States has been the economic powerhouse of the world. But not much longer. We are not paying enough attention to the triple threat of China, India and Russia that are emerging as global economic powers in their own right.
China is a danger to us in that China, with its 3 billion new capitalists, is consuming an increasing amount of global resources, which is driving the cost and availability up for our country. China today has about a million cars. In 15 years it is estimated they will have 160 million cars. Where's the fuel for those cars going to come from? India has a billion people, they are surprisingly well educated, and they speak English and so the cost of labor there is a fraction of what it is here. We're going to see more and more jobs migrate from the United States to India.
Russia's geopolitical objectives are very counter to ours, and Russia has enormous gas and oil reserves, which are going to make it a new and dangerous power in the world. Each of those three countries has global objectives that do not necessarily align with the objectives of the United States. They are countries with newfound wealth and we are a country of enormous debt.

Meridian Magazine: Talk about the U.S. debt. Is it something to be concerned about or will increased productivity substantially lower it?
Studdert: Our debt is a ticking time bomb. Last year, for example, we Americans, as consumers, spent $20 for every $19 we made. One doesn't have to be a Ph.D economist to figure out we can't sustain that for very long. At all levels, the government, corporate and personal level, we have been spending money we don't have, by financing debt. Who is the largest buyer of our public debt? China. I find the behavior of China curious when looked at from an American perspective, but when looked at from a Chinese perspective, which is thousands of years in the making, it looks very different. They are on a course to restore themselves to what they see as a rightful position of world dominance. We're going to fund that. We are in the process of indirectly funding it.
David Walker, the comptroller general, says that if the federal government were a private business, it would be declared bankrupt. He also says that if we don't deal with it now, the only choice in a handful of years will be to cut the federal budget by half or double taxes. Those are draconian measures that would be enormously disruptive to our economy, but he says we have no choice.
I dedicated the book to my children and grandchildren with an apology for the mess we are leaving them. Our children will be the first generation of Americans to enjoy a lesser quality of life because of what we have done.

Meridian Magazine: Most Americans are not aware of the intricacies of our national debt. Why don't the politicians do anything about it?
It is interesting if you watch our electoral behavior, we tend to ask our elected officials what's in it for me? Federal program after federal program is being funded so that we the voters will keep electing them. It's self-serving, reckless and ultimately very destructive.
We see politics at its self-serving worst. If we look at the true federal government debt, and we say its 9 trillion dollars, that ignores all of the unfunded federal obligations and entitlement programs, which when you add them together, it is about 77 trillion. A trillion is a thousand billion, and a billion is a thousand million. Think about that.
It troubles me that so many of our public officials at every level — federal, state, and local — are more concerned with their own political preservation than they are the public good. My observation is that in Washington today, the long-term aggregate impact is never assessed. They only look at the immediately, short-term political benefit.
We as citizens look to the government to fund all kinds of things, and the amount of money spent and the influence of special interest groups on public officials is at an unprecedented level. Elected officials who used to be beholden to the public are now so much more beholden to the various special interest groups who fund their re-election campaigns that the whole process has become very distasteful.

Meridian Magazine: You mention that many Americans are losing their pensions because businesses have made promises they can't fulfill.
Studdert: I talk in the book about the crisis in American pensions. I'm astounded as I talk to people how absolutely uninformed they are on that subject and yet every day that is an issue that worsens. Many pension funds are broke, too. For example, the city of Vacaville, California, is filing bankruptcy, because of their inability to pay police and fire pension obligations. Kentucky has a multi-billion dollar shortfall for state employees' pensions. With 78 million baby boomers starting this year to retire, that is a problem that is going to accelerate and worsen.

Meridian Magazine: We are all feeling a new crunch at the pump as gasoline prices continue to climb.
Studdert: We are in a very fragile position regarding oil.
Today we're an oil dependent nation and our five biggest oil providers are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Venezuela. We have to be insane to have handed our security to those countries. They are not known for long-term stability or for true friendship to the United States.
Look at Nigeria, which has as corrupt a government as there is in the world and is primarily a Muslim country. Iran's leader is a madman who says Israel should be obliterated from the face of the earth and refers to America as the Great Satan. Saudi Arabia has spent billions over the last twenty years building schools that teach their Wahhabi beliefs and Wahhabism teaches that America should be destroyed.
Meanwhile, we prohibit drilling ANWR in Alaska and prohibit drilling off the coast of Florida, and yet Cuba is drilling 40 miles off the coast of Florida — go figure. I appreciate being sensitive to the environment, which is part of the covenant we as members of the Church mean when we work to be good stewards, but it also means being a wise steward, and we haven't been very wise of yet.

Meridian Magazine: Are the mortgage failures included in your list of dangerous issues?
Studdert: Most of those are adjustable rate mortgages where the rate resets and the homeowners haven't the ability to pay the higher price. The market has dropped so much that the owner owes more on the home than it is worth.
People wonder if the housing market will rebound. I am of the opinion that the current problem is not temporary, and we will see it continue to worsen and spread to multiple other fronts as we've seen it spread to the bond insurance companies.

Meridian Magazine: Tell us about your concern about terrorist attacks.
Studdert: There are approximately 1 billion Muslim adherents in the world. A small percentage of them, 10% or so, could be categorized as extremists. That is 100 million people who would like to see the United States destroyed because of the values we've adopted that they find offensive. I attend on an occasional basis, meetings with those in the intelligence and national security community. They are doing a masterful job of preventing terror attack. People in these agencies are working to the point of exhaustion to protect this country. They need our praise. They need our respect and they deserve it, but they all speak in terms of not if, but when. They speak in terms of the inevitability of a terrorist attack on this country, here at home, be it nuclear, chemical, biological or other kinds of terror.
If the anti-American terror groups don't have access to nuclear weaponry it is only a question of time when you look at North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.
Just in recent days as we were talking about the terror threat to the United States and what our government has gratefully prevented, a senior official said to me, if the public had any idea what we've already prevented, it would scare them to death.

Meridian Magazine: Of all the issues you mention as possible terrorist problems for America, what worries you the most and could cause the most devastation?
Studdert: I suppose the one that concerns me the most would be a terrorist attack where the terrorists used an EMP, an electromagnetic pulse, which we know exists for example in Russia. If one of those were detonated over the continental US at 30 miles up, it would cripple this country instantly in every single measure. What an EMP does is destroy electronics, so instantly power plants, the starter on your car, computer systems, refrigerators — all would be destroyed and the country would collapse. Instantly there wouldn't be a vehicle in this country that has an electric starter that would run. What would we do for food tomorrow if we haven't stored it? That is the one that frightens me most. The other problems are sneaking up on us one day at a time. Hopefully, our national defenses could prevent some of the other terrorist possibilities, but we are not equipped to prevent an EMP. The only way we could stop that is through good intelligence. If one explodes, in a matter of milliseconds the damage is done.

Meridian Magazine: Why don't Americans realize the dangers that we are in?
Studdert: As I watch the so-called news reporting today, the media are not reporting the hard news of fiscal issues or public policy as much as they are such ridiculous issues as steroid use by major league baseball players. The second thing to quote Elder Maxwell is that we're too often bogged down in the thick of thin things. Because so many of these problems are seemingly over the horizon, we're busy managing our own lives on a daily basis instead of paying attention to the bigger picture.
What happened at 9/11 came a as complete surprise to all of us. As tragic as it was, it was limited just to one city. We could learn from that or from Katrina how without warning, devastating things can occur. What would happen if China — who is the largest holder of U.S. treasury debt — were to say, "We're not going to hold this anymore. Or we're going to sell all of these debts at a discounted price. It would have an emormous destabilizing force on our country and we would not have even seen it coming.

Meridian Magazine: What can any of us do about this personally? It all seems a bit overwhelming.
Studdert: We ought to feel an urgency, but not a panic. It is interesting, if we listen to the words of President. Hinckley and others of the General Authorities over the past years, how many times have they kindly, but firmly said to us, get your houses in order? And while you and I can't on our own fix the nation, we can certainly take care of our lives and our own houses and our own families.
We have to be serious about getting out of debt individually and as families. We ought to be serious about not taking on more debt. We ought to be serious about living within our means. We ought to be serious about higher education for the best employment we can qualify for, and we ought to be serious about things like food storage and family preparation.
I had a son who worked in a car dealership in a community that was overwhelmingly LDS. Our son observed that an extraordinary number of people bought cars that were bigger and more costly than they could possibly afford, but because financing was so readily available, they splurged. We don't need that big house. We don't need that SUV. We need to be safe and secure first. The savings rate in the U.S. is a negative number. In China the average person saves 30%. Just that number alone speaks volumes about where our two countries are going.
It is interesting the brethren have told us for decades that our personal food storage ought to include wheat and the scriptures talk about wheat for man. Last week wheat futures closed at $22 per bushel and wheat supplies in the U.S. are at an all-time low. If you talk about a perfect storm for trouble, there it is.
Elder Oaks gave a talk about good, better, best and said we need to make choices between good, better and best. We need to make our lives more simplified and less harried, so we can focus on weightier matters without all the bombarding confusions of the world.

Meridian Magazine: Beyond helping our own families, what can we do for the future of America?
Studdert: I love the United States of America, and I am deeply concerned about the future. Unfortunately today we're more concerned with political correctness than we are political courage. I wish we could change the definition of P.C. to be political courage. To make political decisions that are right for the country may mean the decisions are unpopular, and most politicians today don't want to make unpopular decisions.
In addition, today there is a poison of politics. The personal costs of running for public office and serving in public office are very dear because that vitriolic tone has made the notion of being involved in public service less appealing to more and more people. One example comes to mind during the administration of the former George Bush when the number two position at the state department became available. The position was quietly offered to 59 people before someone would accept the appointment because of the cost, the stress, the drain and the innuendo and the attack. Not one of those 59 wanted to expose themselves to that.
I'm of the view that America was created, as the founders said, under the hand of providence and it had and has divine purposes. For 200-plus years, America has been the light of the world and the envy and desire of most of the world. You go to any country in the world, and there are lines at the U.S. embassy to get visas to come here. There are not lines at other embassies, but because of our reckless spending and self-serving public policy we are dooming ourselves
I for years I've pondered a phrase in my patriarchal blessing about being my brother's keeper. I think that includes to alert your brethren to danger and for me that was a driving force in writing this book. The second driving force is my love of the United States of America because it is still the best system in the world.
Great civilizations in history have failed when they didn't follow the words of the Lord and the words of the prophet, and I pray such is not the course we're going to choose.
So, the tooth fairy was quite nice to Austin. A dollar a tooth. What a gal. Wait until he wakes up tomorrow and sees that he got $2.00. I can see it now. He'll come running up the stairs screaming that he got a visit from the tooth fairy and then all day he'll ask if he can go to the store to buy a Nintendo DS....oh how their little minds work at this age.

Anyway, I'm heading to bed finally. I've not been sleeping well lately. I guess it could have something to do with the fact that one or more children ate pop tarts/honey combs in my bed yesterday and left some for me to find. I meant to change the sheets today, but forgot. Now I'll have to battle the crumbs again...grrrr.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Austin's missing two teeth!

Isn't he absolutely darling? He's so darn proud...even though he wasn't the one to remove them. He's just getting big so fast. :(

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I got a lot done today so far...and it's not even over! :) Not to mention that Sam only had one accident (poop) it's been ok. I was reading up on this lady who potty trains your kids for you in 1 day. So, I read some of the tips that she had and have been using them today and they've worked! :) Who knows...if I can get her trained within 3 months, I'll be really happy. This lady recommends that you do not even try to potty train until they are 2 1/2 years old..period. She says that they are too young to realize what it means to go potty only on the toilet. So, Sam's nearly 2 1/2..a couple of months to go, so I thought I'd give it a shot since she's pretty bright. We'll see how things work out. Maybe I can get her potty trained before we have another kid at least.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

So, today was a good day. We went to church and visited family and worked in the yard. It was a good Father's Day. I got Jon a Blue Tooth ear piece thingie, that has noise cancelling and two speakers...which is supposed to be one of the best ones out there. He seems to really like it. He's wanted one for a long time and has been researching them forever and a day, but couldn't make up his mind. I guess that I just had to go and get one and that way he had to just use the one that I got for him, which happens to be at least similar to what he wanted anyways. :)

We got some tomatoe plants, cucumber, cantelope and potatoes to plant. We'll get to that tomorrow. Jon went crazy on the bushes in front of our house and cut down a ton of them filling up the truck. There are still some left, but no place to put any more. We'll just have to take a load to the dump this week and fill it up again. It's doable, just takes some time, but I guess Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

We've decided not to put the trampoline back up this year on account that they have a play structure that they like better. We'll keep it and when they get older and don't want the playset anymore maybe we'll put it up. Or if one of the dog's kicks the bucket and we don't need the yard for running around we'll put it up. Who knows.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Austin has a permanent tooth coming in behind his baby teeth. Jon said that he thought Austin might have to have his front lower teeth pulled so it could come in all the way and I wiggled his front teeth and they are loose! So, any day now Austin will loose his first tooth! I can hardly believe it. My baby is growing up. I'll post some pictures once he looses it.

I finally weeded the entire back garden. It was enough weeds to fill 5 yard debris bags...which are huge. My butt hurts and my hamstrings are killing me. Not to mention that I can't grab anything or hardly type because my hands are all cramped up. Oh well, it's done now and this weekend we can plant some tomatoes and potatoes. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My bottom hurts. I was outside weeding for a couple of hours yesterday sitting on this hard stool and on the ground with knee pads, hence the reason for the sore bottom. But I got about 1/8 of the garden weeded. LOL Today I'm heading out again to do another couple of hours worth of weeding. Hopefully by the end of the week/weekend I'll have it completely done to plant some potatoes I was given. I have to do it by hand because there are so many other things in there that can't just be ripped out or rototilled. Oh well, there are worse things I'm sure.

I'm done deal shopping for the next week or so. It's just plain too exhausting. I was out two nights in a row past 1am and then have to get up early to take care of kids and get breakfast ready. It's taking a toll...I already have to dye my hair again and it's only been 3 weeks! :)

I got some new nail stuff last night that you can put on the little ones finger nails, thumb nails and it is supposed to stop them from biting their nails or sucking thumbs. I'm hoping it will work.

Father's Day is coming up so I get to go out today and get Jon's gift. I'm sure he'll really like it, he's been wanting one for over a year now. If you're reading this honey, it's not a HD TV...sorry.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Newest deal

Here's what I did with coupons tonight at Safeway and Albertson's, along with my $10.00 off $50.00 coupons:

5 freezer bags (3 quart, 2 gallon) that work with the handi vacs
11 packages Cat food
1 smoked sausage
10 packages lunch meat/ham/turkey/chicken
2 lb package of chicken leg quarters
1lb black plums (yum)
4 gallons milk
30 packages of 12 count pop tarts (I know a lot right, but the neighbor kid likes them and eats them at our house too.)
2 gorton's fisherman fillets
2 lbs grapes
12 Atkins advance bars 6 count
2lb brick of Tillamook cheese
8 cans of the Valley Fresh chicken
8 packages Huggies Wipes
3 beef roasts
4 London Broil steaks
2 packages Family size Pork chops boneless

I should have paid $449.75 for all of that, but I only paid $113.12 and then I also got 4 free movie tickets, which are valued up to $12.00 each so it's like I paid $65.12. Pretty awesome huh?

I'm going to go tomorrow night and get some more meat because for those prices I'm just going to have to stock up. Putting my garage sale earnings to good use and splurging a little bit. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

So, for total sales at my garage sale this weekend I made just under $300.00. Not too bad of a turn out. I was really happy overall with the result. Earlier in the day I had only sold just over $80.00 in food stuff/junk, so I was discouraged and closed shop and went to see Kung Fu Panda with the family and Aunt Andrea. Then later in the evening I had a private shopper who came through and nearly wiped me out and bought over $200.00 worth of stuff! Pretty cool.

Now, I'm off to the store to turn part of my profit into more crap for the next one. This time I'm going to advertise better, I guess my signs were too small and three of my large signs were taken who I have no idea...probably someone who didn't want to share garage shoppers...weirdos.

Nothing else really new to report....oh! Sam has decided that I'm the best parent and doesn't even want to sit on Jon's lap without crying up a storm. Funny how that is working out. Jon says that he doesn't care, but secretly I think that he does. Little girls, er...girls are so weird.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ok, so I'm pretty proud of this one so I'll let you know what I got.

20 packages of Temptation Cat Treats (2.39 per 1 package normally)
4 Eskimo Pie frozen ice cream treats
2 cans Redi Whip
10 Large jugs of SunnyD
2 gallons Milk
5 packages of Ham lunchmeat
1 pound 4% lean ground chuck beef (6.34)
2 lb brick of Tillamook cheese
Walla Walla onion HUGE
Yukon gold potatoes
1 bag Salad
French Bread

I should have paid $150.62 - after my coupons I paid $26.81 PLUS, I got $8.00 back in $1.00 off your next shopping order coupons to use! it's like I paid $18.81! Pretty nice, huh?

Tonight I'm going to Safeway to get pop tarts and I'll end up getting like 15boxes for $6.00 and some change. Then to Albertson's to get some more Eskimo pie treats and some other stuff for free. :) I love coupons.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The kids got to play outside on the playset again today and were so dirty...they all had a bath or shower and are clean once again. That will last until tomorrow I'm sure. I've nearly gotten everthing ready for the garage sale Saturday, I'm hoping for a good turn out, but who knows. We'll just have to see.

Ok, I hear Sam getting into something she shouldn't. She's quite a pest most days. I'm going to go out tonight to get some more things. The $10.00 off $50.00 just came out in today's mail and I plan to get more so I can use them up. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Playset finally up!

Here's some pictures of the kids enjoying their new playset...for some reason I couldn't get the camera to focus well enough to get a great picture. Maybe I was too excited for the kids that I couldn't hold still? Oh well, you get the idea. Notice how much we had to dig down to level the yard over there to get the playset up...pretty big dip...but probably won't notice it once the bark chunks go in.

We're nearly ready for church!