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Help is on the Way: John is on his way home! I'm so excited. I am worn out from caring for these two babies. Jazmine is so clingy, it is starting to drive me nuts. When she and Maggie both climb into my lap I have to say, "give me space!" Jodi is on her way to get her right now. I think Maggie will be happy to see her Aunt Jodi!

Maggie stood on her own for a while today, and also I saw her stepping from furniture to furniture. She's getting so big! This morning the kids let me scrapbook for a bit. I posted two completed layouts in my scrapbook gallery (link to the right) if you want to see.

I also had a bunch of articles published today, so read up!

[Comments] (2) Snowed In: Church is canceled. If it wasn't for the four phone calls and the Bishop walking (hiking) up the street in a snowsuit to let us know, I wouldn't believe it. I think we got about 7 inches (it's hard to tell because the wind blew a 3 foot snowdrift onto our driveway), but there's no chance of them having plowed for everyone to get to church down and back up the steep hills by 9 am. I went out in the blizzard and shoveled my half and now it's John's turn to get drenched. Then we will get all warm and cozy and enjoy the day. Perhaps everything will clear up in time to get to Jamie's for the Super Bowl party we planned.

[Comments] (6) : We are trying something new with grocery purchasing in our household this year. I'm on a budget! This month I have $250 to spend on groceries, baby food and Target stuff (toiletries, diapers, wipes etc.) We are also participating in a money saving project going on at the Mommysavers message board. In January we went on a three-week spending freeze - necessities only. Now we are on a modified spending freeze. We can buy some "wants" but they have to be on our approved spending list for 24 hours before we can buy them. This is supposed to limit impulse purchases, which aren't a huge problem for us. However, I haven't put any treats on the approved list, so I've been baking a lot. In fact, I just made some gingerbread. If it's any good, I'll post the recipe later.

So, with the spending freeze, I was able to keep $25 under the budget last month. Making a menu plan for the week really helps me save money and stick to my budget. Plus, it's nice to already know what I'm making for dinner.

John and I are also trying to stock up on some food storage and other items, according to a little schedule we got in our ward. I cleaned out the cupboard in our laundry room to store some extra stuff in, and I found a card telling me that my washer costs $8 a year to operate - based on 8 loads a week and we only do about 3. It will certainly pay for itself soon.

I V*TED: Did you? I have a pet peeve about people who complain about the government and then don't vote. I'm not a fan of the new stickers they handed out. It's a big red circle with a fingerprint for the "O".

Cookie Cookie Cookie!: I was going to go to the library after Maggie's nap, but she didn't take a nap, and also it is snowing and really blowy. So, instead I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Cookies! If you have been blessed with one of mom's family recipe boxes, this is in there.

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 T unsweetened cocoa
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
16-ounce package chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat together sugars and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well-blended. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand on sheets 3 minutes. Remove cookies to racks to cool.

Susie the Chef says: 16 ounces of chocolate chips is a ridiculous waste of money and chocolate chips. I put 1/4-1/3 that much. I also didn't put nuts. Even though the batter was pretty dry, I felt like the cookies had a lot of butter in them so I might use a few tablespoons less next time. Next time: yes, they were very yummy!

[Comments] (2) : Justin is spending the weekend with us since Jamie is at CHA. He brought the Wii! and John and I had fun participating in the Olympics. Some lucky moves got us to open some extra games. As far as video games go, I like races and such (instead of fighting) so I had fun. John and I also got to watch LOST online.

Today was a nice, warm day with no snow. The sun didn't come out so our snow didn't melt as much as we'd have liked but we went for a nice walk around the neighborhood. John did a little bit of work and I worked on some articles. That's about all we've done today.

Oh, and I made brownies (from a mix) and some homemade mint frosting. I just made buttercream frosting (2 T. melted butter, dash of milk and as much powdered sugar as it would hold) with a few drops of peppermint extract and some green food coloring. It was really yummy!

[Comments] (8) Safety Last.: Grr. So far this morning I have called 11 varieties of Police/Fire/Dispatch/Safety/Health places trying to find help installing our new car seat. Babies R Us told me I could go to any fire station which is not the case. Now I'm waiting for someone from the South Jordan police department to call me when she gets in. They ought to make more people get certified. No wonder 97% of carseats are installed incorrectly. It's still not the parents faults - now I blame the manufactures AND public safety.

Also, I think Maggie has croup, but luckily not very bad.

Stupid Surprise: I made John a delicious and fancy dinner last night. I made Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden), asparagus and hollandaise, sourdough bread (well I didn't make that), and sugar cookies with pink frosting and I even used almond extract in the frosting because I borrowed it from Jamie. And then John had to work and drive home in a scary storm and didn't get home until 8:30. And had already eaten. Boo. That's what I get for trying to plan a surprise.

This morning I was packing him a lunch of leftover Tamale Pie and sugar cookies and he said, "Best cookies in the world!" and gave me a big smile. That made my day. Happy Valentine's Day, Sweet Baboo!

In other news, Maggie continues to be a human snot machine. I took her to story time at the library yesterday but I wouldn't let her go near any of the other kids, toys, or books. She still had fun, and we got invited to a play date.

I am such a nerd: I went to the library yesterday, and I checked out 4 cookbooks. I've already read two of them! Here is a quote: "I simply feel more like a good cook when I wear an apron, and everything seems to taste better" from Cooking Secrets My Mother Never Taught Me.

Maggie Grows: Little Maggie started really standing up on her own today and has been taking steps between furniture. Erin said she was clapping her hands too, while she was watching her during Ember's piano lesson. Ember is getting really good on the piano. She is a fast learner and I'm so proud of her.

John came home with chocolate-covered caramels and mint-covered Oreos for me for Valentine's Day. How spoiled am I?

[Comments] (5) : Maggie has started only taking one nap each day. It happened pretty suddenly and I didn't think it would be for several months (since I read that Gunnar is just starting to do that). I am in denial and put her in her crib some times that she never falls asleep. She is usually content to play in her crib for 1/2 hour rather than sleep. Luckily she is pretty independent throughout the day and let's me get stuff done.

Maggie also is taking a few steps like such a big girl.

Today I had someone come adjust our furnace and water heater, and Maggie and I went to Wal-Mart for groceries and an oil change. We were all done and home by noon. Still to come: cleaning the floor and an experimental dinner recipe.

[Comments] (3) Flu Bug: I took Maggie to the doctor today. The first thing she said was, "Hi Gorgeous! You must really like carrots. Or sweet potatoes." Apparently the fake tan look wasn't inheirited from me and John.

Maggie does not have an ear infection. In fact, the doctor described her ears as "stunning" and "sparkling." She has the flu. Not exactly shocking news, but there you have it. Her fever is down and she is feeling much better today.

Still Sick: I'm trapped. Little Maggie spent all day sleeping yesterday and this morning. Conveniently enough, she would only go to sleep on me (or her grandma, who snuggled her while I went to the doctor this morning). I am starving, but I'd better take advantage of her sleepy time, because she spends most of her wakey time whining and whimpering. Luckily, it is a beautiful day, so we will go for a nice walk later.

Poor little Beet. I hope she feels better soon, and not just because I can only move one hand.

Shredded Wheat = Triscuits: It's such a nice day. Maggie and I went on a long walk and now my poor sick self is exhausted.

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