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.