Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy family

I drew the tree and cut the leaves then lP took over the project.  She had the other kids suggest a few words, but she really spearheaded this project.
After we cleared the table we let the kids do the table slide.  The kids love this so much and we let them do it for 3 times each then put it away.

I'm so grateful for the personal finance class.  This week the foundation principle is to "Take Responsibility and Persevere".   We've been so blessed having this council with fellow saints and the scriptural focus on managing the blessings we've been given.

Stress Free Thanksgiving

P's family was driving over for Thanksgiving and bringing pies.  Hurray!  So our day played out like this and it was great:

8:00AM  Woke up and hung out with the kids then made German pancakes.
8:40AM Scriptures and prayer Mark chapter 8.
9:00AM Ate German Pancakes and started cleaning the house.
The kids did their school work and chores.
10:00AM  I put the turkey in an oven bag and put it in the oven.  I bought this turkey 2 week ago and put it straight in the fridge so it was actually thawed completely.  Yay!
10:30AM G washed and cut up potatoes and put them in a pot of water.
11:00AM M made dough with her awesome hands instead of using the mixer because.
11:30AM I cut up the lettuce and dressing for the salad.
12:00PM Ramen Lunch
We kept tidying the house and took turns on the computer.  It was raining all day so there was no opportunity for a playground or other outing.
 2:00PM The P family arrived and M was forming the rolls.  G turned on the stove to cook the potatoes.
2:30PM lP measured the ingredients for stuffing.  I took the turkey out of the oven.
3:00PM We cooked the stuffing and put the rolls in the oven.  I drained the potatoes and G mashed the potatoes.
3:30PM We started getting the table set and turkey carved.  B opened the giant can of peaches and I opened 2 cans of corn.  Grandma C put on a video chat with Aunt R.  P mixed up the BLT salad.
4:04PM we ate and ate and ate.  We watched an episode of "The Voyage of the Mimi" and "Macguyver- Trombo's World".  The P family brought pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and apple pie with plenty of whipped topping and ice cream.  It was great.

I'm so glad each of the children and P were so helpful today.  It was so nice.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


This week there were 3 memorial services at the church.  All of these good people had lived great lives and been well loved by family.  I'm glad I was able to attend.  It also gives you so much perspective on what matters in the short time we have. 

I love my family and I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Monday, November 6, 2017


I'm so grateful that I got to go on this trip with G.  I'm so grateful that P took the other children to a baptism.  And he surprised as we were paddling under US 1 with all the kids on the bank of the creek shouting happiness and love.

I'm grateful that I've been taking better care of my body so it was strong enough to do this trip.  That is a big motivator for me in eating better and exercising.  I want to be able to walk, run, swim, and even paddle with my kids. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Love on the rocks

My friend met up with us on Tuesday at the beach.  We wandered up V beach further than I ever had.  Looking at the houses completely undermined by the hurricane was humbling.

We also got back in our cars and drove down to the rocks to climb.  I love this spot.  I look forward to joining the kids and climbing around on the rocks myself in a few years.  L will be climbing too soon.  He already loves to join in the adventure.

Living the life

I've tried a few time to get on the list for a kayak trip offered by the county.  Last month I was able to get a spot in a tandem and it turned out that I got to choose who to bring.  We had just reached the point of leaving the children home for short stretches of time.  And we do have friends willing to watch the kids.  Then I wound up inviting G to come along.  It was so nice to go on this special outing with him. 

As we were getting into the boats I felt like I was on some great outing, like paddling the Colorado River!  But it was just something exciting here in my home town.  I'm so grateful that these opportunities are right here.  And I hope to take advantage of them more often.  We don't have to travel to have exciting and peaceful experiences.  It helps to live in a vacation town...  Yay!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


We already had all our Halloween fun on Friday and Saturday.  So here we are on Halloween and what did we do?  We went to the beach and just enjoyed playing in the sand and on the rocks for 2 hours.  But here were our costumes. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

candy budget

My kids seem to be really open to the financial discussions we've been having over the last month since I've been taking the Personal Finance class at church.  I came up with an idea tonight that may or may not be awesome.  I labeled quart size bags with numbers 1-12.  Then I spread out all the candy the kids had and each child filled 4 bags (this was just the older 3 kids).  It was interesting to see how quickly G filled each bag with 18 pieces of chocolate while M was trying to get all the sweedish fish and gummy things.  lP had 20 candies in one bag and 2 in the other bags.  I reminded them that this candy was for everyone, not just for the person who filled the bag.

They seem genuinely excited by the idea that they will have candy all year from this one night of gathering.   I'm very interested to see how this goes.  Maybe this will be the story of disaster that comes from being too much of a control freak.  I think it's good that I let them portion it out.

They understand that this candy is an option for weekly FHE treats.  And I said that whatever is left at the end of the month, they can eat to celebrate.  M piped in "Or we can save it toward future budgeting!"  Yes my dear M.  You can save it forever!

Friday, October 27, 2017


Our family now has 4 functioning kindles.  P reads a lot on his.  The kids used to share one but they've now each got one. G has the original kids kindle while M bought her own last year and P got one for her birthday.

It's so great that they have an entire bookshelf in one small device.  These are just $30> kindles that are black and white, not touch screen, and not connected to wi-fi.  When you download the books from the library via usb they stay on the device after the loan has expired.  Yes we're gaming the system. 

And life is so much happier with children reading.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


A few years ago when I had a nursing baby someone asked me to watch their children starting at 7:30AM.  We're a late rising family (9:00) and while I had watched this family before at even earlier times, at this specific time I could not spare the sleep.  I asked them if they could come at 8:00 and they said that their later plans to meet up in Orlando wouldn't allow for that.  So they had someone else watch their children. 

This year has been amazing for us.  I weaned L.  I de-cluttered and organized the toys.  I stopped eating sugar last year but got serious about it this year.  I started walking in February.  We started reading the Book of Mormon in the morning in February.  These good habbits are going strong.  I even wake up at 7:15 sometimes to walk with friends.  Most days I walk around 7:45-8:30 by myself.

Another friend asked if I could watch their children today and I agreed saying the earliest I could take them was 8:00.  I felt bad that I wasn't willing to take them at 7:15, but I wasn't.  7:15 means I don't get a walk, and I have to wake up early.  It seems so sad that I can't give up both, but I'd rather just give up one, so I feel OK saying that.  This friend did come to the hospital in the middle of the night to sit with me though, so I do feel bad.  But not everything needs to be on that level of accommodation.  Yeah, so I hope I'm not a jerk, but I also hope to not be a carpet.

This quote is often on my mind: 
"You don’t need to manage other people’s expectations — that’s co-dependent behavior — you just need to manage your own comfort zone. The less information you give, the better. “Never contradict. Never explain. Never apologize."

I'll be testifying in a hearing in November, so I really need to practice this principal so I don't just blather on and say too much.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

my dad

My dad was the first Chinese in Taiwan to accept baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.  He once loved the church so much.  I am so proud of that and so sad that he lost that love.  But I love my dad and have hope in God's plan for him.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Great day

We visited Gtown and had the unusual situation of being left to our own devices.  P and G were on a trip to visit Louisiana for cousin M's eagle court of honor.  Grandma L went with them and Grandpa S too.  We just roamed around town and went to parks.  We got to meet up with aunt E at the book sale and a playground.  Then we hung out and ate a 4pm meal with aunt L.  I'm so grateful for these aunts in the kids lives.  The kids adore them and I really appreciate their making time to see the kids.

 We got some free pork sandwiches that M won on a previous visit and a large fries.  The nature center was closed but we stopped at another park and enjoyed our dinner before riding home watching Charlotte's Web.

I'll have to put up some pictures to show how P upgraded our van.  The middle row of seats can face forward or backwards.  The 2 movie screens only faced backwards, so to watch movies the kids had to all face forwards.  It's much easier to get in and out when the kids face each others, so P did some magical engineering to make the screens face each other too.  It's great!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

personal finance

This week we had another wonderful personal finance meeting.  Wow!
Last week for FHE I showed the children a pie chart of how we spend our money.  That same night we went to Aldi and with a budget of $100 tracked what we spent.  G kept our list and added items and told us if we had enough for a few boxes of tuna snack cracker thingies.  Later in the week we went to Walmart for milk and spent a lot of money.  I was very happy today to show the kids that we had kept within our budget.

Going forward I'm going to make my food budget a family thing, and rely on the Lord.  Whatever I can save each month, I'm going to add to my fast offering or to the humanitarian fund.  I know the lord will bless us to find good sales and make do, so that we can bless others.  I'm so excited for the children to see this cycle with something so concrete, food!

When I proposed this idea to the kids, that I not spend all the food money, I asked them what they thought I should do with the money.  They suggested that I save it toward our big trip next summer.  Smart!  But I'm looking forward to bringing home the blessings of counseling with the lord in all things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

the gang

Today we went to the corn maze.  We went early to get some time in with G before P took him to school.  And we stayed way too late with not enough water.  It was fun but also hard because water, in this heat, is really important.

 They had these big sections of irrigation on pvc pipes that were really cool.  I even did a turn with B and holding baby by the hand, dragging him along as I walked.
This new little hay maze was a nice addition.  I feel like they had so many nice things for the kids to do and it was a great value for the special homeschool day.  I'm grateful to have embraced this way of celebrating the season.
 We just do the little story maze.  G wanted to try his skill at going through the big maze, but he needed to meet P by 10:45 so I let him go in for 3 right turns then he was to come back.  He did make it back in time.  I got lost in a corn maze at night during my freshman year at BYU.  I have no desire to be lost in a maze with my kids.  But maybe next year we'll try.

Monday, October 9, 2017

lucky kids

We got creative with the dough.  Duck cookie shapes make great doughnuts. 

We love visiting this park in Gtown.  There are so many awesome climbing features and we're a family of climbers.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

family finance

Tonight at personal finance class there were a lot of comments about how different families taught their children about finances as they were growing up.  This inspired me to do more with the children to help them understand our finances.

For FHE I'm going to show the children a pie chart showing how much of our income is spent on what items.  I'm also going to show them the food budget and get them to help me keep track of how much money we have for the rest of the month.  And I'm going to add a budget update to our family council. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New freedom

G has been 12 now for 9 months and I'm finally feeling like it's OK to leave the kids home.  Last week I left G home with 2 kids and took M and L to an appointment.  The next day I left them all home and went to the bank!  Last night P and I went out to walk the beach.  It's so amazing the difference it makes to have a kid old enough to watch the other kids.

G has had experience using the phone over the last year.  He uses the phone for Discussion Based Assessments with his online class.  I usually interpret for those.  He gets most things but it's nice to have the sign to support when you're dealing with specific figures.  And now as we go off and leave the kids alone for tens of minutes, it is nice that G can understand us on the phone and give a status report.  It's such a relief.

Friday, October 6, 2017

How firm a foundation

I'm in love with the hymn "How Firm a Foundation".  The later verses are awesome.

  1. How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
    Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
    What more can he say than to you he hath said,
    Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
    Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
  2. In ev’ry condition—in sickness, in health,
    In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
    At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—
    As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
    As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.
  3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
    For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
    I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
    Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
    Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
  4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
    For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
    And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
  5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
    My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
    Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
  6. E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
    My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
    And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
    Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
    Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.
  7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
    I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
    That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Monday, October 2, 2017


Tonight I was in charge of the lesson for FHE.  I told the children about how my parents had to drive to California because it was illegal for a Chinese man to marry a white woman back then.  I told them that we are all children of God and that if anyone ever says a word that starts with N and rhymes with bigger, they know that person is not a Christian. 

This blog post was so sad and sickening to read.  This mother makes a strong statement about the privilege white children have to not have to put up with thousands of hateful acts throughout their childhood and being always given the benefit of being "a good kid". Our silence speaks loudly.  I hope my children never call someone a racial epithet.  I hope that if they ever hear one used they speak out. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

conference traditions

The kids love doing the conference squares and building a fort to watch conference.  We made crepes for breakfast and PB candy for lunch.   Sweet potatoes are in the crock pot.  Yeah totally random.  I know.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

New possibilities

Yesterday I left P and B home with G while I took M and L to running club.  For that outing I was away from home for 2 hours.  I was within 1 mile of home for 90 minutes of that time, and called home twice and checked in with G.  It was nice to just let them stay home.

Today I needed to go to the bank and we had just finished a nice activity at the park.  So I asked the kids if they'd like to stay home.  "Yes!" and they were all happy to spend some time on the computers.  I was gone for an hour but it was all 5 of them home. 

This is so strange.  G is old enough to babysit now and I'm very grateful that he's been a very kind brother lately.  Like any new privilege I need to be careful and not abuse this one.  When P is home I'm reluctant to leave kids home since it may seem like I'm asking him to watch them, when he is needing to be at work, in the closet.  But with him away for a bit, it's actually liberating to try this out without feeling like I'm imposing on him.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

family movies

I've been making movies about our family for 10 years now.  I put music I like against pictures and short videos of the kids living life.  In addition to these being a nice way to keep a record of the fun we've had, it's a great thing to let the kids watch on Sunday.  I've been doing this so long that I caught myself taking pictures the other day specifically thinking how this series of 5 pictures would play nicely in a video.  : )

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

up early

Today I walked for the first time in 2 weeks.  I've been walking and driving for 2 weeks, but today was my first morning walk in a looong time.  It's so nice to just roll out and go walk.  I have had an entire hour to just think and cook and stretch my body before everyone wakes up and the business takes over.

I'm grateful to my friend who motivated me to walk.  I'm grateful for the blogger that motivated me to seek morning solitude.  May I be more patient today than yesterday.  Not like yesterday was terrible, but walking early helps.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


We had a harrowing trip to Louisiana but then had a lovely visit with Phillip's uncle C and aunt A.

Friday, September 8, 2017

new forecast

Sot the storm may hit more westerly.  How do they even know it will turn at all?  So maybe Gtown won't  be better, but it will be higher.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

more preparations

We're heading to Gtown and taking the generator with us.  P was able to get the tank filled up but he wasn't able to buy a second tank.  Today on my way home from our homeschool group kick-off event I stopped at Walgreens and asked if I could buy an empty tank.  They sold it to me for full price but it only cost $8 to fill it up at Tractor Supply.  All in all it's a huge blessing to have a back up tank ready to go.  I've seen many stores with tanks in their storage cage.  I don't think all stores are willing to sell them.  Or maybe nobody wants to buy an empty for full price, not knowing how easy it is to get it filled up. 

Grandparents C and S said we could come to their home and eat all their food.  Yay!  They are so good to us.  So I'm packing up non-perishable things and clothes.

It's amazing how having a food storage mindset has really blessed us in this chaos.  I'm not worried about what we'll eat for the next week.  We've got food in the pantry.  I did have to get diapers on Tuesday.  And I did pick up some water.  But we're incredibly blessed that we already had most of our preparations in place.  I know that it is a luxury to have enough money to buy things in bulk to have this advance supply.  I'm just grateful for the church teachings that help us out in these temporal crises.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

rush on the Walmart

Today I went to buy some diapers and thought I'd get some water too since there may be a hurricane next week(!)  G also needed some water balloons for class and told me at 10am(!)  So we went to walmart and found that the entire city was there too.  Yay.  It was just like Christmas but not.  The store was already out of water and the store brand diapers in baby's size.  But we did get the water balloons and the nicer diapers. 

Then we went to Save a lot where we found water back by the bathrooms and were allowed to buy 4 gallons.  Yay for rationing. 

Irma is a week off but so far G has no school on Thursday and Friday.  I'll ask P to fire up the generator and consider getting another tank of propane.  Yay!


Sunday, September 3, 2017

self reliance

I've joined a self reliance group at church.  We'll meet weekly to help each other with personal finance.  Everyone in the group knows about Dave Ramsey and most of us were raised with the idea of avoiding consumer debt.  I am really enjoying the opportunity to pursue one of my favorite hobbies with church friends.  I've done a spreadsheet for years but am going to try daily writing down my transactions and reconciling that with the spreadsheet.  I know I need to get back to using the envelope system more.  Things have been out of control for the last 3 months as I tried to help my dad.  I've been paying so much attention to his problems and loaning money to him so my own family's finances are messy.  Time to get it cleaned up!

I'm really looking forward to the end of this month when things will hopefully be fixed for my dad and I get my families finances back in order.

I set up a composition notebook to write things down in.  I am a person that processes through writing.  I am hopeful that daily writing down my transactions will help my brain get things sorted out.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

to see the temple

Today we went to Orlando.  I'm so grateful we took the time to go.  We left at 8:45 and got home around 7.  It takes all day with the drive and trading off the kids.  P went first and I took the kids to 2 different parks.  Thank goodness for big canopies over the play structures.  P took the kids to a McDonalds with a 3 story play structure.

On the way home we took a detour to Sam's club and got raisin bran.  It was a good day.

Friday, September 1, 2017

looking good

Today P and I did some clothes shopping.  Labor day weekend sales saved us a lot of money, but it's not like we would have just gone out and paid full price for this quality otherwise.  I'm glad the sales allowed us to feel better about getting some really nice items.  P got some new shoes from Bass and a sports coat from Brooks Brothers.  He looks great.   I got some new items at Lane Bryant.  It is so nice to be able to go into a store and get help with your measurements.  My new clothes feel great!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Not the lesson you thought you were learning

L is very interested in Dora.  I'm reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago with a young woman.  She criticized Dora for not being very good at teaching spanish.  I said the point of Dora was to teach children call and response, and to keep lists. 

We watched this great talk for Ted Talk Tuesday last week.   Melody tells a story of swimming laps holding her breath the entire length of the pool.  At the end she asked why they were doing it.  Her coach says the point of the exercise was to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

I think so many of the things we go through in life are not for the sake of learning how to do that thing.  If we look for the lessons we can learn in those hardships, we'll be much better off for having gone through them.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

dream home

inside%20clipartToday I'm teaching about how to help your family.  I've got this cute clip art on 3 pages.  We'll talk about what you dream home looks like, feels like, and features etc...  Then we'll talk about our future home and talk about what's important and essential for a Christ centered home.  Then we'll talk about how to have those things in our current family home.

Friday, August 25, 2017