Saturday, March 19, 2011

Getting it Done

Some days you just have to get it done!  I took some time off while the kids were on spring break because the kids were out of school and Haley had her birthday and I had mine all in the same week. So why not take some time off to spend with the kids and just get some things done!

We started the day off with two dental cleanings at 7:40 am and followed up with a quick but thorough trip to the grocery store. We were able to get home and I was able to get all the laundry caught up as well as cleaning up some of the clutter that has accumulated through the last week.

We then headed back into town to go to the second round of appointments. I decided since I was taking some time off I was going to try to get some of the kids much needed appointments done and getting their eyes checked is one of those things we often let slide.

Cody completing the depth perception test.

Haley taking her turn at 1 or 2, 3 or 4, 5 or 6

Both kids got their eyes dilated. This is the first eye doctor I have gone too that they didn't charge us for the dilation. Turns out Cody needs some glasses for reading, video games, watching TV. Haley ended up not needing glasses this time which was the opposite from the last time we went to the eye dr.

We had a lot of fun trying on different frames.

He did really like these frames - you know big and chunky is the style now.

He was cracking us up with all his stylish faces!

We compromised with some glasses that are slightly bigger than these.

He is going to get some really cool Nike glasses that are black with lime green!

So I consider today a total success! Two mouths with super clean teeth, two sets of eyes totally checked out and a piece of mind to know that my kiddos are healthy! Being a mom is sometimes exhausting and trying to keep it all together and not forget something can sometimes be tough. But knowing that my kids are healthy and having a fun day out with them is worth all the running around and craziness!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Energy Savings in Arizona! Seems like an Oxymoron!

Well as many of you may know I do live in Arizona! Yesterday was my birthday and it was the first day of 2011 that we hit 90 degrees! Wowzers!

My family loves the winter time out here and so does my bank account! We don't use our heating system very often in the winter because we like our house cold - I mean COLD! We love to sleep in the cold and if we are chilly we will put blankets on us around the house. We do draw the line at about 60-62 degrees and if it is that cold I will kick the heat on to 65 and then it gets turned off. We had a very odd frigid snap back in February and we had the heat on for several days straight but other than that we save LOTS of energy in the winter.

We have lived in AZ for almost 4 years and this past summer was our worst in regards to energy and our utilities! My July electric bill hit $394.00!! Yes that is correct! I decided we needed to do something drastic! I love my washer and dryer and I have all sorts of settings to choose from. But none that says let's save lots of money!

So I bought a clothes drying rack.
These racks are not expensive and the one I have here I paid about $10.00 last summer and I will be picking up a second rack very soon! I actually am using the rack today since we are back in the upper 80's and a nice breeze. These clothes will dry very quickly!  I personally would love to have a clothes line but I have the strictest HOA in the world and I just don't want to deal with it.  The racks have wheels so I can roll it in and out of the house very easily. The first month I used the rack our electric bill dropped $80.00 and we were having the same type of temperatures. I will hang up almost everything except underwear and socks and sometimes a few other items. The towels I will often throw in for a few minute fluff on no heat. My husband's work uniforms also need to be dried. I will put over any underwear and socks and then run another load. I will not start the dryers until I have run at least 2 loads through the washer so I can accumulate enough "dryer" items to run the dryer. I love it because I am saving MONEY but I am also saving energy which is good for the world we live in!

To also save on money we have a programmable thermostat.
During the day we won't let it get above 77 because by the time we get home it takes forever for the house to cool down. As you can see it is currently 70 in our house and it is almost noon. This is from the overnight hours. I will be very honest - we like a COLD house and because the thermostat is upstairs it can be tough to get the temperature to be 70 at night like we like to sleep. A MAJOR part of our electric bill comes from our AC unit. We are trying to get better acclimated but since my husband works outside all day long every day we refuse to be miserable in the house so we have to find other ways to cut down on energy to drop our bill.

We do have a programmable dishwasher as well. From the research I have done using the dishwasher uses less water and sanitizes the dishes as well. Depending on the type of load and how dirty the dishes are etc. will depend on the time of wash I will run. Normally though it is a normal wash with no special heated dry or hot wash etc. If someone is sick in the house I will kick in the hot wash to make sure the water is super hot to kill the germs (may not be true but makes me feel better). Other than that I see no reason in using more hot water.

As you can see in the picture above this isn't quiet a full load. The kids are normally responsible for the dishes and in teaching them responsibilities I also am teaching them to load it correctly so we can make the best of the space we have so we don't have to run as many loads. The dishwasher must be full before we will run a load. This cuts down on water and energy.

I have always said the suns direct rays are so HOT out here in AZ.  For instance it can be 100 degrees at night with the sun down but it is comfortable enough to sit outside on the porch. However, if the sun is out you feel like you are baking in the sun. One area in our house that I notice a lot of heat is the loft upstairs.

For this very large window we have installed thick blinds and then this curtain will close all the way and it is a dark brown curtain and it is very thick. When we put this up it reduced the heat in the loft a lot and this is also where our thermostat is so that helps not having the unit run all the time because this area of the house stays so warm.

These are just a few things we do to help save on energy costs and also in our efforts to start going "green" to help save the resources we have on our planet. Not too mention it helps save some of the green stuff in my bank account! I hope to be sharing more on the ways we work to save money, energy, and our efforts to be going green and natural!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are You Ready? Part 2

In the previous Are You Ready part 1 I went over the basic items such as food and batteries etc. needed in a disaster kit. Please check out Ready America as there is so much good information on this site to help you prepare for a disaster!

In addition to food and communication it is important to remember the items we might need to verify our identity, control of monies, and unique items we might not have thought about.

I am sure that many of you are like me and when we go shopping we use our plastic. Whether it is the debit or credit card it seems that many of us use cash less and less. However, in the event of an emergency or disaster it is a safe assumption that power may be down and we may not have a means to use our plastic cards to pay for items. It is suggested that a family have cash on hand to make necessary purchases in the event our plastic can't be used. You can also have travelers checks and change.

Copies of insurance policies, proof of bank records, birth certificates and SS Cards (copies), and any other important documents you will want a copy of. A water proof container is suggested to keep the documents safe.

Matches in a water proof container. There are several different kinds of matches and I found these NATA Water and Windproof matches 2 Packs of New NATO Water and Windproof Matches.

Make sure you have at least one complete change of clothes including a long sleeve shirt and pants. Depending on where you live you will want to take into consideration cold weather gear for the winter season.

Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.

Always remember to have hygiene and feminine supplies packed as well.

Pet Food and Extra Water for your Pet.

Please have prescription or prescription information.

Keep into consideration if you have elderly or infants or toddlers. You may have additional needs that you need to consider.


On top of dealing with an emergency or disaster situation. You don't want to get sick from food!!

Please visit Food Safety to follow the necessary precautions to keep your food safe.

Having an Emergency Plan is very important! You can visit Make a Plan to personalize a family plan for your own family.

These areas listed are only a small part to getting your family ready in the event we have a disaster. Since we all live in different parts of this country/world it is important to prepare ourselves. I like to think I am pretty prepared person but after going through all of this material several times I know that I am not anywhere near where I need to be.

I hope you have found some of this helpful and I hope it is something none of us ever have to actually implement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

13-year-old Vail girl missing since Monday -

Please check out this link! This 13 year old girl is missing from my community!!

13-year-old Vail girl missing since Monday -

Celebrating My Mini Me

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HALEY!  3-15-00 10:04 P.M. 7 lbs 7 oz.

Today we are celebrating Haley's 11th Birthday!  No big parties but a day out with several of her friends going to her favorite place to eat! Sakura Japanese!!  A Picture tribute to my awesome daughter that is really growing into a young lady! I love you poopydoo!

Haley in Puerto Rico - 8 months old

Haley's One Year Old Pictures taken in Puerto Rico

Haley's 2nd birthday pictures - taken in Kansas

Mommy and Haley - teaching her early lol!

Always a sweety! There's the original danky!

On our way back from Disney Land and seeing Miley Cyrus perform at her Sweet 16 Birthday party in California! We had a blast!!

HHHMMMM Haley you look like you are up to something!

Totally Chilling and drinking her favorite drink ever! 

It's about 4am waiting in line for her first Black Friday experience! She has now survived 2!

Love you Mini Me!

You are the Awesomeness Girl EVER!

Love you Baby! I hope you have an awesome 11th birthday!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are You Ready? Part 1

Over the last several days it has been heart breaking to see the disaster that is unfolding in Japan. I am sure your heart is broken for these people as it has been in years past when we have witnessed or experienced our own disasters.

Are you Ready? I have half way prepared in the past but I am on a mission to make sure that my family is as prepared as we can be in the event we have a disaster.

You can visit Ready America there are a lot of great ideas and step by step plans to get prepared.

Most disaster preparedness plans state to be prepared to be self sufficient for a minimum of 3 days since it can take some time for disaster relief to reach some people. I think many of these items we have already thought about but there are others I wouldn't have necessarily considered.

  • One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation. Remember we can live without food much longer than we can live without water.
  • 3 day supply of non-perishable food - Some examples below.
    • Pork and Beans  Campbell's Pork & Beans 11 oz. (6-Pack)
    • Chef Boyardees
    • Canned Chicken Tyson Premium Chunk White Chicken Breast in Water, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
    • Dried Fruit Sun Maid Mixed Fruit, 7-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 6)
    • Nuts Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts, 21-Ounce Containers (Pack of 2)
    • Tuna StarKist Tuna Creation Hickory Smoked, 4.5000-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 12)
    • Saltine Crackers Premium Saltine Crackers, 4-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)
    • Vienna Sausages Libby's Vienna Sausages Made with Chicken, Beef, and Pork in Chicken Broth Eighteen 5 Ounce Cans
  • There are sorts of non-perishable foods. Basically if it is in a can you can put it in your Disaster kit.
  • Make sure you have a can opener - Amco Swing-A-Way 407WH Portable Can Opener, White
  • A battery powered or hand crank radio are suggested. A NOAA Weather radio Etón FR160B Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger (Black) - Make sure you have extra batteries as well. Duracell Coppertop AA Batteries, 20-Count
  • Flashlights - I figure at least one flashlight per person in your home plus extra batteries. Dorcy 41-2510 4 LED Carabineer Floating Waterproof Flashlight with Batteries A Flashlight like this one is waterproof which could be necessary in a disaster and it takes common AA Batteries. Duracell Coppertop AA Batteries, 20-Count
  • First Aid Kit - you can put one together or you can buy one that already has all necessary items included. Total Resources International 250-Piece Outdoor First Aid Kit in Red EVA Case
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Dust Mask 3M 8210Plus Particulate Respirator N95, 20-Pack in addition to Duct Tape 3M 2245 Scotch Heavy Duty All-Weather Duct Tape, 1.88-Inch x 45-Yard, 1-Pack and sheets of plastic for needed protection. I found these really great sheets of plastic with plastic drop cloths. Plastic Drop Cloths, 9' x 12'
  • Wet towelettes and garbage bags for personal cleaning. I am going to stock my disaster kit with baby wipes Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes Popup Refill, 216-Count Pack (Pack of 3) since they are thicker and hold up better for wiping. I am also including garbage bags with twist ties to ensure the closure of the bags.
  • Wrench or Pliers are needed in order to turn off utilities if needed. Wilmar W1062 11 Piece Metric Polished Combo Wrench Set with RackStanley 84-024 10-Inch Bi-Material Groove Joint Pliers
  • Cell Phones and Chargers. The site of Ready America mentions to have a solar charger. I had never heard of these so I did a little research and found one like this that can charge your cell phone. AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger - Charge Your Batteries Via USB or Sun Power - Features Also Include a Battery Tester and USB Output for Charging Cell Phones, iPods/mp3s, and More

End of Part 1 - there is so much information to give you I will be posting Part 2 tomorrow!