Monday, May 19, 2008

Secret Shopping

There's good news and there's bad news (for us). Our neighbors moved. The bad news is we were just becoming good friends with them. They have two boys, ages 3 and 5, whom Westley loved playing with. And I loved talking with the mom, JoLynn. We will miss them. The good news is before they moved, they sold us their car (a 1995 Honda Civic) for only $300, and they gave us thier job as mystery shoppers at a local buffet (which shall remane unnamed). It was kind of funny, Tyler (the dad), pulled us aside to tell us about the job and the car one day when we were all outside. He told us that he could tell we were doing it on our own(as in going to school and trying to get ahead in life), and that he respected that and he wanted to help us out. I guess it's pretty obvious that we're "doing it on our own".

So, here's the deal. We are supposed to go to Unnamed Buffet once or twice a week. We pay for it, have a nice meal, and take mental notes. Then when we get home, we fill out a survey (only takes 10 minutes) and send it to our boss, along with the reciept, who then reimburses us for the bill. So basically we get to go out to eat twice a week for free! Which is great for us right now since there is no way we can afford to go out to eat. Ever. Right now we are barely making enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. Which is fine with me; it's the life we've chosen in order for Andy to follow his dreams as a pilot. He could go out and get a decent-paying job, like with the railroad (the reason I mention this is because we've seriously considered it) and I'm sure we'd have enough money to buy a house and live comfortably. But that would mean he would have to quit his job as a flight instructor, which means he wouldn't get any more flight hours, which means his flying career would pretty much be at a stand still. And it would be really hard to go back to being a poor flight instructor once he got into something else. So, suffice it to say, we are happy with selling our plasma to put food on the table (seriously... we both donate plasma twice a week, and that is our grocery money).

Anyway, this mystery shopping job is great because on nights when I am too burned out to cook, or the fridge is empty, we just head out to Unnamed Buffet, put it on the credit card, and we get reimbursed before we get the bill. How cool is that? Love it. So, though we will miss our neighbors, we are glad they chose us are their benefactors when they moved.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Apartment Gardening

I love spring, and I love gardening. Though I don't consider myself to have a green thumb, I like to pretend I do. Getting out in the dirt and sunshine feels so good, and I love waiting and watching things grow. Yardwork is definately one of my favorite chores.

When we were renting a house in Logan, we gave the front yard a major overhall (with permission from our landlords, of course). We got rid of some huge juniper trees that were overtaking the front of the house, and put in bushes and flowerbeds. It was a lot of work, but it was fun, and it was gratifying.
Cutting down the trees (most of them were already gone when this was taken)

Building the flower beds

The finished product

When we lived with my sister-in-law, I helped her do some weeding in the spring, and also planted tulip bulbs last fall, which are now blooming.

Since we now live in an apartment, we have no yard for flower beds or a vegetable garden, so I improvised. I bought two planter boxes to put out on our balcony. I planted carrots, petunias, cilantro, and tomatoes. Sadly, the tomato plant froze, but I now have one inside, along with some parsley. Now that the weather has been warmer, I can really see my garden growing. The carrots sprouted last week, and the cilantro seems to get bigger every day. The petunias are growing, too. I can't wait to see them bloom!
Petunias and carrot sprouts


Parsley sprouts and cherry tomato plant

When we have our own home and a piece of land, I hope to have a large vegetable and herb garden, and definately some flower beds. Fruit trees would be nice too. But for now, I'm grateful for my little container garden.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Job

I started my new job at Mrs. Powell's Bakery this morning at 5:50 sharp. I am not used to getting up that early, but I was surprisingly awake and alert, despite the fact that I did not sleep well due to restlessness (I am always restless the night before something new or exciting is going on- especially if I know I have to get up early).
There is a lot to learn, but it's fun. I made cinnamon rolls, raspberry rolls, orange rolls, pizza rolls, calzones, breadsticks, mini-bread loaves, cookies, cinnamon twists, and pull-aparts. Yeah, that's a lot of baking. And it is all from scratch, with the exception of the cookies.
The time flew by. I work a 4-hour shift, and I was amazed at how quickly it went. I was hungry, though. When I got home at ten, I felt like it should be lunch-time (because I got up so early) Lucky for me, it was snack time (I was starving!), so I sat down and had a snack with my cute family.
I like my new job! It is fun, and the schedule allows me to still be with my kids during most of the day. It also makes my husband get up and take care of the kids while I'm at work, which I think is good for him.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Why don't potty-training boarding schools exist?

Okay, so maybe this will gross some people out, but I can't figure out why my 3 year old absolutely refuses to poop in the toilet. He has been peeing on the potty for at least 6 months now, and he does great- even stays dry during naps and at night- but getting him to poop on the potty is like trying to fit an elephant into an eggshell without breaking it! He poops his pants nearly every day, and I'm getting tired of cleaning it up.
I try to catch him right when he needs to go and then run him into the bathroom, but he will usually just hold it until he finds a chance to sneak into a corner when I'm not looking and make his move (he won't poop in his pants with someone watching). Tonight, however, I kept a close watch on him because I knew he needed to go. I had taken him to the toilet several times, but again he had refused to do anything while sitting there.
Then when he was in the bathtub, he got this look of urgency on his face and said, "I need to go potty!" But as soon as I sat him on the potty, he started yelling, "NO! NO!" and tried to get back in the tub. I was determined not to let him poop in the bathtub, so I just held him (rather forcefully) on the toilet while he screamed and kicked and cried until finally, he relaxed and let it go. He was so proud of himself for pooping in the potty- which I find rather funny since he really had no choice in the matter.
I have to wonder if I did the right thing or not. I hate to force him to do it, but I don't want to be cleaning up his poopy underwear when he's 25, if you know what I mean.
If someone opened a potty-training boarding school, they'd make big bucks... but it's not gonna be me!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tuna Adventures

I've been trying to incorporate some less expensive and healthier proteins into our diet, like tuna and beans. Tonight I made tuna burgers for the first time, and they turned out really good! I mixed the tuna with cracker crumbs, eggs, bbq sauce, garlic, and black pepper, then fried them on my Lectro-Maid. I served them on sesame seed buns with alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, and pickles. My boys, unfortunately, refused to eat them, but Andy and I liked them. Go, tuna!

First Blog

So, this is my first time blogging. My brother and sister both recently started thier own blogs, and I decided to follow suit. Maybe I will blog frequently, maybe this will be my first and last blog. Only time will tell