Search This Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recycle Craft from Kristin

Summer Vacation is right around the corner. If that doesn't make you jump and run away you must not have kids at home....all...summer.....long. Don't get me wrong, it's a great time to make some fun memories and go to some fun places before they are too cool to hang with mom and dad, it's just a long time of togetherness. I have some ideas that I will share later, but as I was searching out ideas for summer fun I came across a cool candle recycling project from

Check out Kristin's post for reusing the bits of candles that are left in the jars and melting them down to make a whole new candle. She also recycles the jars. The only thing she has to purchase are new wicks, which are easily found at most craft stores and aren't too expensive. She even has a way to use old containers such as whipping cream cartons to create candles w/o jars. A.MAZ.ING!

What you need:
Old candles or bits of candle
Jars or cartons-you'll need 2 per candle-one to melt and one to create in
Candle burner--ya know the thing that looks like an old school hotplate??

Check out her tutorial for details. Dollar stores often have cute jars for cheap. What a creative, great, inexpensive gift idea...Mother's Day is just around the corner.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cover Girl Anyone??

I got a new Bzzkit today from Cover Girl. It has some awesome new stuff...I love trying new stuff. Cover Girl is out with a new foundation and lip gloss balm. The foundation isn't a color I would have chosen myself, but the feel is great on the skin. It's oil free, feels fresh and helps complete a finished look, which is rare for me. It has SPF 10 and 14 different colors. This is the product Taylor Swift has been promoting over the last several months.

The gloss balm is what really got me excited. I love lip gloss and always have it on, even if I don't have other make up on. It's shiny without being sticky. 16 different colors and retails for about $6. It also have SPF 15. They sent me the red color, which again, I wouldn't have chosen, but love the way it looks. It was nice to step out of my comfort zone and indulge in myself a little today.

And of course, I have coupons to share if you'd like to try these fab products.

Photo Savings

I took a million pics of Easter this year. I need to just do digital scrapbooking, but am kinda stuck doing both since the kids really like to hold their books and hear their stories.

So I printed the best 22 photos and get them shipped to my house for .02 cents a print at with code 11Y2CPTS. Also get 50% Off Photo Book Orders!
Code: 11Y5TBK

Other Photo Deals include
Code: 25PR8X8

Code: LINK

Enjoy making memories this week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Break Fun

We have Spring Break this weekend. Yeah!????! Andy is gone to a Scout Camp training and so it's me and the fab 5 all until next Tuesday, when the schools open again. So what have we done to keep busy? Well a preview of what the entire 3 months of Summer Vacation is going to look like.

The older ones got to go to a cooking class and had a sleepover with Grandpa D. and Gram MG. They went to a Family Pasta Making Class and made some good stuff. Syd was willing to share with me and I had fettuccine with a sausage mushroom sauce-delish.

Today we visited the Gale Center (
We had such a good time. The tour guides were so cute with the kids. We were the only ones there and they had a blast. Again, I forgot the camera, but I did remember all 5 kids, so I am giving myself some credit. They got to experience life in the "olden days" and visited an old school house, farm house, grocer and Indian Village. So of course when we came home they had to re-enact it. They have recreated the old west in our backyard and are happily imagining how fun it must have been to hang laundry on the line, which ironically we actually do here in the summertime and it must not be as fun as if you were a pioneer. They are also fishing for dinner, gathering eggs from the chickens and using a basket to gather veggies for lunch. Note to their sewing teacher: the next class the girls would like to make bonnets, please and thank you.

Tomorrow we are having an Easter Egg Hunt and going to visit cousins. Hopefully our Dad will be home and we can have a late dinner together at a new Chinese restaurant downtown.

I also found a fun new cooking website thanks to my friend Christie. It's called It has some great recipes for any occasion and I must say the Strawberry Spinach Salad is divine.
Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Recipes

Last year my kids and I dyed Easter eggs naturally. We used onion peelings, but you can boil and use the liquid from berries, red cabbage or coffee grounds to add to your arrange of color. We mixed different onion skins around the eggs and it made them look marbled. Wish I could find the digital pic of it, but check out this link for a DIY tutorial

So now it's time to prepare for the Easter Bunny. I have a cousin who told her kids from the beginning the truth behind the commercialism of holidays. She added what their family knew was a secret and they couldn't spoil it for other kids, but I think once kids know the truth it is a little easier on the parents. I had to explain to my kids that Easter is not like Christmas. Although both religious holidays at our house, the bunny is on a budget and doesn't accept lists like Santa. Why, oh why don't I just level with them and tell them about the harsh reality??? Will it really make things less magical? I don't know and am apprehensive to try.....crap.

Anyway, there will be baskets of goodies and new outfits that they would likely have gotten anyway. If I can manage to keep them focused on our real reason for celebrating, maybe we'll all be happy?!?

Here's a great recipe from a great cookbook I received as a wedding gift. My mom (step) compiled a book of recipes from my mom (birth) and her. I love this book and use it a lot. I am not sure who gets credit for what but the following are my favorite Easter recipes for this year from my "Two Mom's Cookbook."

Lemon or Lime Bars

1 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 c. flour
pinch of salt

Mix together until crumbly. Pat into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake 15 min. at 350 deg.

3 eggs, well beaten
2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
4 Tbsp. flour

Mix well until a little foamy. Pour over baked crust mixture. Bake 15-20 min. at 350 deg., or until golden. Cool for 10 min. then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool before cutting.

Eggy Sandwich
12 boiled eggs, diced and peeled
1 c. mayo, low fat is fine
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together and I mash the chuncks a little to make it easier to spread. Spread on favorite bread.

Pork Ribs
We all love ham, but it's so traditional. I like to do different. This years it's still pork, but different.

5-6 lb. boneless pork ribs (feeds 6-8)

1 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 dashes of Tabasco
1 c. water
1/4 c. vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. horseradish

Combine ingredients except meat. Marinade for 1-2 hours and bbq as usual--about 20 min, basting often with extra sauce.
Easy and tasty!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Thank You Farmer!"

Have you seen "Barnyard" the movie? If not, it's pretty funny and kid friendly. Anyone who knows me, or my siblings, knows that we can't ever have a conversation without a movie quotation. We could probably have an entire conversation with just movie quotations. I used to think this was weird until I got married. Maybe, as a couple, we quote movies because I quoted them before we were married. Anyway, rambling aside, "Thank you farmer!" is a "Barnyard" quote and something Andy and I often exchange this time of year. It's garden time and the work has begun. Funny thing about our garden, when we first got married we couldn't tell weeds from plants and hated pulling them. 12 years later my husband's #1 stress relieving activity is to pull weeds. Where and how the transition happened I don't know. Funnier still is that I learned how to home bottle and dehydrate veggies. No one would believe that a once Harvard bound wanna be with law school in her potential future would have done a 180 on life's course and is now growing food and preserving it on purpose. I guess that comes with perspective and maturity.....or something.

We are trying new things in the yard this year. Onions (spring, Colorado and yellow), spinach, Little Marvel peas and strawberries (only cuz it was free). And soon we'll be bringing back a few old faves like potatoes, carrots, Anaheim, jalapeno and green peppers, herbs, tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash and most likely banana squash, only cuz marriage is about compromise. I even saved a few bucks buying some City Deals gift certificates for some local nurseries to keep our planting costs under control. Seriously Andy and I are like kids in a candy store when we go into these nurseries. It's kind of embarrassing. I am also learning to harvest our seeds to propagate things for next year. I really just want to see if I can do it.

It's funny how being self sufficient and "organic" farmers is so trendy now. We all gotta eat folks. At least if you're growing it you know where it's been and what's been on it. The state of the world is shaky on a good day, so if I can be less dependent on someone or somewhere else I am in. Don't freak out, I won't be chaining myself to a tree anytime soon, but I am aware that I only have control over a few things and I am taking it where I can get it.

When we moved the old owners of our current house left behind a sign above our door that says "Harvest the seeds of Love." That's another perfect quote for today. We have a lot to be thankful for, sometimes I forget. Thanks for the rain today Mother Nature (now just no more snow please.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Philly Beef and Swiss Heaven Sandwich

I made up this recipe with simple, inexpensive ingredients and it was AWESOME.

1 1/2 lbs. Jerky beef meat, or skirt or flank thinly sliced
2 pkg. Au jus mix
1 can beef broth
1-2 tsp. Montreal Steak seasoning
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow or purple onion, sliced
1/2 pkg. mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. margarine or olive oil
12 slices of Swiss cheese
6 Hoagie buns or long loaf bread

Shake 1-2 tsp. of Steak seasoning over meat. Next, marinade the meat in 1 c. beef broth mixed with one package of Au jus. Let meat marinade for 1 hr. Grill the meat for 5 min. on bbq.

While meat is cooking make Au jus to dip sandwich in. Mix the second package of Au jus with the other 1 c. of beef broth and 2 c. of water. Whisk everything together in a sauce pan and let it come to a boil. When it boils, turn off burner.

In a second pan melt 1 tsp. butter or margarine or olive oil. Add onion, pepper and mushrooms until tender.

To assemble sandwiches place meat, veggies and then cheese in bread. You can grill it again or put in 350 deg. oven to melt everything together for 2 to 3 minutes.

Easy and delicious.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crafty Art

I love making things for my home that look pricey, and of course, have some little trick to them so they are not.

Here's one of my latest. This isn't my own idea, I stole it, but I can't remember from whom. Maybe someone on Studio 5??? Anyway, it's too cute, not to share.

ABC art is super popular. So here's the instructions for this cute word art.

1. Find a stencil with the style and size of letters you like. Make sure the stencil is just ABC's and not numbers too, on the same page. I have seen these stencils everywhere like Hobby Lobby and Roberts (both have weekly 40% off coupons) and even Dollar Tree.

2. Spray paint stencil. White spray paint $.97 at Wal-Mart and you don't need a whole can of paint for this project. May I suggest not using appliance spray takes FOREVER to dry.

3. Use your scraps of paper to cover the holes where the letters are. Use tape to secure them to the back side of stencil. You can't see my white letters too good in the pic, but all the papers not only coordinate with my girls' room, but also with each other. I mounted my stencil on another coordinating piece of scrapbook paper since my stencil was slightly smaller than my frame.

4. Find a frame, or reuse one you already have. Remember you can always paint or redecorate the frame to make it match your project.

This project cost me about $5 and I love it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I am sooo embarrassed

This is so gross to admit, but my house isn't spotless. I couldn't pass a white glove test if my life depended on it. Not that anyone is keeping track or score or anything, but I kind of have a "princess" attitude when it comes to certain chores. I don't do windows, ovens, floors or showers/tubs. I can do it, I just don't want to do it...EVER. I will do anything else to avoid the afore mentioned chores. I am spoiled, yep, it's true. Andy does a lot, and we've taught our kids to do a lot around the house. My oven is self-cleaning, and Windex Outdoor window cleaner attaches to the hose and does a pretty good job of cleaning the grime off the windows. The kids do the sweeping and Swiffering each day. Spreading out the chores is one more way of helping my kids learn responsibility, at least that is what I tell myself.

Now to the point of the post. Most of you know I am a marketing agent for BzzAgent. I get to try new stuff all the time. This week was Scrubbing Bubbles Shower Foam. It works on chrome, shower walls and doors, tubs, stainless steel, fiberglass and vinyl. We have hard water where I live and for a long time I've been trying to get this mystery gunk off the shower...well I've been begging to have someone get it off for me.

Yep, I told you it was gross. It's in a weird place, that's hard to get to. Hey, just read the post, don't judge me.

So three minutes after the Scrubbing Bubbles was applied and wiped off with a damp cloth I got this.
Okay, so it's not completely gone, but it is a whole lot better than it was. I am thinking it's time to get Andy some CLR or Agent Orange, or something for Father's Day so he can get the stuff gone completely.

My review of this product is that it does work fast, and does a good job of cleaning the insides of showers. It also worked really well on the chrome parts of my shower. For weekly cleaning I would recommend it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Awesome kids websites

This post is for my mom who asked me a couple of weeks ago for crafty children's websites for her child development class. I sent her my faves, but then I found these links on a favorite new blog called

I hope the blogger Marie doesn't mind if I borrow her post, but hey I am giving her all the credit. For those of you lucky enough to be coming into Spring Break this next week here are a few awesome sights to keep your kids busy. I must add one of my own, so I don't totally plagiarise this whole post. Please check out for fun ways to teach kids new things. Thanks for reading my blog today.

Tinker Lab: Lots of tinkering going on. These are the good and messy kind, really diving in to projects.

  • Chalk in my Pocket: Play and discovery. Celebrating those moments that pop up in the everyday.

  • Childhood 101: From crafting to parenting, lots of playing, learning, and growing.

  • No Time for Flash Cards: There’s no time for flash cards with the fabulous crafts, storybooks, and activities going on here.

  • Crafts by Amanda: She’s got those simple and easy craft ideas that look great using only a few supplies.

  • Filth Wizardry: One of my favorites, they know how to get creative and explore the world around us.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deal of the day

More great deals!! 15% off every order with the code STIMULUS
ALSO today only the code FOOD will get you and extra 25% off all restaurant gift certs.

Codes: (Can combine a % code and a shipping code.)
*Code should be live at approx. 10pm MST tonight.
Extra 20% off entire order with Kohl's Charge EASTERTIME - valid 4/13-4/20
10% off entire order NEW527 - exp 4/16/11

+ Can stack one of the above with either...
Extra 20% off Kids and Baby Apparel KIDS20 - exp 04/12/11
Extra 15% Off Selected Handbags & Wallets already 30% off HANDME15 - exp 4/12/11

Free Shipping on $75. No code required. Valid thru 4/28/11.
Save 20% off your purchase 44834 - exp 4/24/11

Free Shipping to Store near you or $5.95 Flat Rate Shipping.
They are having a huge sale, plus use this code to save more!
Code:15% off + Free Shipping RAIN - exp 5/8/11

Monday, April 11, 2011

Deal of the Day

I have 2 great deals good for TODAY only.

Deal 1. Lowe's has 15% off all Energy Star appliances and 10% off many other models. They are also including FREE DELIVERY and haul away of old appliances. The delivery is normally $65 and to haul your old appliance to the dump would be at least a $20 dump fee. Although if you are in the market to get rid of metal appliances, ie washers and dryers, there are Free Junk Removal companies around.

How do I know about this great Lowe's deal you ask??? Well because I got to purchase one this weekend! Not because I wanted to, but because our washer sprung a nice leak and washed my laundry room floor instead of my clothes! Our washer was a wedding gift from my parents, so it is old and had lived to it's full potential, so I don't  feel too bad. I did get a great deal on a new washer with lots of fun features I haven't had before. Washing should be exciting for the next couple of weeks.

Deal 2: If you need clothes for your kids check out I love their stuff. Their jeans are awesome and wear forever. They last a whole school year and my kids wear a pair several times a week, so they get good use out of them. TODAY ONLY use the code FRIEND11 and receive an extra 25% off everything, including sale items. Hello Easter bunny! My kids are getting spring outfits for a deal this year.

Happy Savings!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Date Ideas

I have said this a million times, but you can't stop dating your spouse once you are married or you will forget why you love each other. I find my energy spent most nights and having something fun to look forward to gets me through the "ugghs" of many weekday mornings.

I also find myself unable to come up with anything interesting to say to the question "How was your day?" Most days my response in my head sounds something like this, "Oh the laundry was wonderful. It only took 2 cycles per load to fully dry everything. And dinner was so rewarding after spending an hour planning and preparing it. I really enjoyed the fact that half of our children refused to try it. I had so much fun figuring how to pay the bills that when the microwave broke I was overcome with joy!" Instead I say something dull like "Fine." and the night moves on.

As a SAHM, by choice, I need a little excitement. A fun few hours with my favorite person is a rejuvenation to my mind, body and soul. Dating is fun no matter what age you are, or what the status of your relationship is. I am a homebody, but I like a little excitement too. Not that Andy would go with me to a tattoo parlor so I could finally get that bulldog tat, but excitement can liven up a dull existence. As I plan out our summer this week I am trying to incorporate some fun date nights. I'd like to share....

1. 20 Questions. You buy 3 small sized treats like M&Ms, jelly bellies, mini Reese's, mini candy bars, etc. While he's not with you, your special someone buys 3 also. Now with your eyes covered, take turns guessing what the treats are. If you are wrong, he can ask you one of 20 questions about your relationship, and vice versa when he's wrong. These can be anything like "When did you first kiss?" "What did we do on our first date?" or "When did you know you liked me more than a friend?" to something like "What did I study in college?" or "What's my favorite color?" You get the point, the questions can be adapted depending on where you are in the relationship. Thanks to my friends at Dating Divas for this great plan.

2. Recreate your first date. Our first date was nighttime water volleyball. We won't be doing this again, but I can adapt. I would recreate this date with a vicious game of video volleyball or Wii Resort Sport, followed by doughnuts, eaten on the stairs. The stairs are the first place we held hands (awww) and some kind of spark went off.....

3. After the kids go to bed (if you've got any) cook your favorite meal together. Even better, he could make you his favorite dinner on one date, and then you return the favor on the next date.

4. Watch his favorite movie with your favorite snacks, or watch a new genre of film that neither of you have much experience with. We like Romantic Comedies here, but the other night we rented "Social Network." I thought I would hate it, but I really enjoyed it.

5. Plan a service project together. Collect food, blankets, coats, towels, hygiene items and donate them to a local charity. This could also be a fun group date with other couples. You could make it into a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood. It is a good idea to look up the needs list of the charity you are thinking about donating to so you get what they are truly in need of. Most of the needs lists are available on the organizations websites. This event may bring out a new side in your significant other that you haven't seen.

It's all about making memories. Reflect this week about the beginning of your relationship and WRITE it down. Remember all the fun things you did in the beginning and DO them again. A solid foundation between spouses is the best GIFT you can give each other and your family.

And babe if you are reading this, mark your calendar for tomorrow night. I've got plans for us.....

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April Scrapbook Post

1. What am I eating for dinner today?  Chipolte Grilled chicken and slaw
2. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? Emily R.
3. What color did I wear today? Red
4. What was the last good thing I read? Funny post of "OneSheTwoShe" blog 
5. What's one goal I have accomplished this week? science fair and storage room organization
6. What's one thing I need to work on? Summer Fun plans
7. Today's best thought? Lexi took a 2.5 hour nap
8. One word to sum up today is? Calm
9. One worry or concern? Money, Andy's trip in 2 weeks
10. Favorite thing I did this week? Taught my girls to make Lasagna and Stroganoff

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chaos to Calm

Last night was rewarding for me. The kids all knew how to be prepared and calmly respond in disastrous situations. They worked well together and the older ones showed the younger ones how to keep safe in an earthquake or fire. Jack thought his emergency backpack was a present and started hugging me as he unpacked all his new treasures. He was ticked when he realized it wasn't a backpack to go on vacation, it was to be used to get out of danger.

Danni was full of questions like "Why do moms and dads have to buy crap like toothbrushes and toothpaste?" and "What will we do without the Wii?" and more importantly "Do I
have to wear underwear with this dress?" I think this last one is an extension of an earlier conversation of why we have split lines in between our butt cheeks. I swear our house is not like this, but where she comes up with this....she only watches Nick Jr. and PBS. Hopefully she'll remember her shoes (and underwear) if we ever have to get up and get out of the house quickly.

After a good long laugh I was reminded how little kids can lift our burdens and how much laughter really can be good medicine. Like any other human out there, I find myself with rarely enough time, money or energy to do EVERYTHING I want to do. One thing that makes me sleep better at night is knowing I've done most of what I can to better our lives for that day. I also like knowing what the day ahead will probably have in store.

I like knowing what I am doing and when I am doing it. I am a Lister! Lists are the only thing that keeps me sane, and once it's on my "to do" list I trust myself it will get done. This helps me turn my chaos to calm everyday. There are still stressful things in my life, but if I have a game plan I feel like I can accomplish whatever it is before me.

I know this isn't how every one's mind works, but who wants a chaotic life? Here are some suggested tools to help you bring clam to your chaos.

1. Make a budget. It doesn't matter how much you make you need a budget. Take out 20% for savings if you can, but any amount is good and you can build up to 20%. Prioritize your expenses and cut the unnecessary things. You can live without eating out every week, make it monthly and plan where you want to go so you can look for coupons or deals. The thing about money is the YOU control IT. IT should not control YOU. I promise you can have a great life if you focus on the big picture--retirement, paying off your house, finishing college, whatever, if you give up just a little bit of frivolity. Now the hard part is to stick to the budget. Make it realistic and remember you want to enjoy this journey.

2. Make a list of weekly meals. This helps you budget you money and cuts the chaos. My "busy time" is 4-7 p.m. every night. This is when I perform the nightly circus act of homework for three, piano practice and lessons, making dinner, making lunches, and bath time. I do get help from the hubby, but it's stressful. If I at least know what we are eating, we are less likely to go out and more likely to participate in the important bonding ritual of having dinner together as a family.

3. Don't go to the store without a list. I am so frazzled when I get to take the kids shopping with me. I forget why I went to the store in the first place. Knowing what I need makes my plan clear and easier to get in and out without overspending.

4. Make time for you. Everyone needs a little downtime, but women often put themselves at the bottom of the list. Everyone else comes first and there is often little leftover for us. Indulge in a good book, exercise, take a class, go to the spa, whatever you do to rejuvenate your spirit, DO IT.

5. Use a calendar. I hate being late. I think it's rude when people make a plan and fail to follow through. My time and your time is equally important, so be where you should be, when you should be. I love my Franklin, but Andy recently got a Blackberry, and I love that more. Any type of calendaring systems works, so pick your fave. I color code my calendar at home so I know who is doing what, but I realize that's a little OCD for some. Budgeting your time is as important as budgeting your money. It's also OK TO SAY NO to things that aren't a priority for you right now.

6. Chore charts are awesome. Each family member should have some responsibility around the house. Even my 4 year old can pick up toys and clear her dishes from the table. It's never too late to start teaching kids how to pitch in, their future spouses will thank you. If you don't have a houseful to share the load, divide what is necessary to get done each week, and assign it a day to be done. Wednesday is laundry day, Thursday is grocery shopping and bathroom cleaning day, Friday is garbage day, etc. Consider your house as a living, breathing object. It needs to be taken care of. Every few months dejunk your space. Your unused things can often be re-opurposed or donated to charity. If you space is pleasing to you and clutter free you may be able to get more accomplished because you won't be overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, an end up giving up on it all. ASK FOR HELP if you need it. Someone who isn't attached to your things may have a perspective to help you know what you need and what you don't.

Enjoy the journey without the chaos.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Emergency Prep 101

The recent world tragedies have really rocked me mentally. I know where we live if WHEN not IF something will happen. We've taught our children what to do in case of fire, earthquakes or other emergencies that may happen at home or school. They remember a lot. WARNING: This post gets religious. If you are not religious I doubt it will offend you, but you may need some clarification or help understanding the lingo. I will try to decipher the lingo, but if you have questions, leave a comment.

We watched General Conference (when the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka "Mormons" or "LDS saints,"  addresses it's members with inspiring talks and council) this weekend. I actually felt less guilty than normal since many talks were about how to teach your family gospel basics, how it's important to help the poor and how we need to improve our self sufficiency. Each time we see conference (held every 6 months and broadcast live or via Internet, radio and tv) we try to inventory our emergency supplies and restock. We switch out our water supply and most importantly review with our kids what to do in any emergency.

One of the most simple things that we've done is teach them our home phone/address and cell phone numbers as well as a family password. The password is a secret known only to our family and only to be used by us, as parents in case of emergency. For example last year I was rear ended on the freeway. When I went to pick up my car from the repair shop it wasn't quite ready. It was getting close to when school got out and I knew I couldn't make it home in time to meet the kids. I didn't want them coming home to an empty house, so I called my good friend and neighbor to pick them up when she got her kids that day. I told her that they should ask her for a password and told her what it was. The rule in our family is that you go with no one but mom or dad, or Grandpa/Grandma, without the password, even if you know them. So she met them at the school and told them I had asked her to get them. They kind of stammered and she told them that I'd given her a password. They asked for it and their answers matched so they knew it was safe to go with my friend until I got home. OK, so not exactly as we'd rehearsed but for a first time experience it worked. We change the password each time we use it to help protect them. Long explanation, but for us, it works.

So now onto other more dangerous disasters. If we are prepared we should not fear. Somewhere that's a scripture, I think in the Book of Mormon (which if you don't know is a book of scriptures used by the LDS church members,and translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ)....don't know what chapter or where it's found exactly, but you may recognize it.

We each have an emergency kit to prepare us for many disasters big or small. It contains snacks and hard candy, flashlights, change of clothes, something to do, a Mylar blanket, water, basic first aid stuff, medicine, jacket, a list of important info and contact numbers, etc. If we have an emergency, we each know to put on good shoes, grab your bag and go. There are also emergency kits in our cars. These kits are great for any type of emergency, not just big things. For instance if Andy were to get stuck at work, he'd have food and water in his car. I have a bag of extras for the kids in my car so if someone gets muddy at a park, or gets sick in the car, there are clean clothes ready to go. There are also extra diapers and baby food and powdered milk in case we need to stop unexpectedly and don't make it home in time for a pit stop for the baby. Not "disasters" necessarily, but it saves time and money not having to stop to buy something and sometimes we can enjoy what we were doing before the minor disaster happened, thus not ruining our time together.

Here's a great website that should help you prepare your family for whatever comes your way. There are other sites like or that give great lists and advice on how to prepare as a family, as a business and as a school for disasters.

Tonight we are drilling our kids again on what to do, where to meet, and how to react in times of chaos. It's my goal I will help turn chaos to calm. Make a plan, be informed and be ready wherever you are.