Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I am a project person. My mom and dad can be heard all the time saying that I am never happy without a project in the works. My newest project: Coupon Shopping.

We had a Relief Society (formerly Enrichment) night last week when my ward combined with another to host Salt Lake's Grocery Guru. He is known throughout the valley for his expertise on combining grocery store sales with manufacturer coupons for major savings. On his website, he posts a menu for the week based on sales, then gives you a shopping list and tells you which coupons to cut out. You can view his website by clicking here.

Immediately following his presentation to the Relief Society, he passed around a sign-up sheet to go shopping with him. My sister and I, who had come with me to the meeting even though she's not in my ward, stepped out of our comfort zone and went shopping with him.

I bought all this:

It cost me $23.74. I saved $62.13--meaning 73% savings. Now, of course, this was me following the Guru guy around the store, him telling us what to put into the cart, and him handing us each a stack of coupons when we got to the checkout line. Which, by the way, was very long, as there were about 10 of us trailing behind him through the store...

I do know that coupons can save you money. I've never been too interested before, because I didn't want to buy a subscription to the newspaper to get the coupons and the things I usually bought did not often go on sale when I wanted them. So, pretty much not worth the effort to me.

Now that I am home all day, without the rigors of teaching occupying my time, I thought I'd give it another shot. His presentation was fairly convincing, enough that I was willing to try. And he gave me the piece I had missed in the process--planning the menu based on what's on sale. I would always plan my menu first, then see if anything I needed happened to be on sale at the same time.

Lisa and I made our menus together, planned the shopping lists, and hunted for coupons. Last night I ventured out on my own, coupons in hand.

I was, oddly, rather nervous for this trip. I just knew I would mess up something and end up buying something really stupid and spending tons of money on something I didn't want. Don't worry--it wasn't all that bad. In the end, I spent $41.96 and saved $28.83--41%. Not quite as amazing, but that's not surprising considering I did it myself without the Grocery Guru by my side with his oodles of know-how and coupons.

Verdict? I don't know yet. I'm not 100% convinced about it all at the moment. I believe that it can be done, it is possible to save lots of money by using coupons and shopping the sales. We'll just have to see how long I last...

Monday, June 28, 2010

No Bouncing, Swinging, or Spitting

for my own personal record...

Things we have done since we moved three weeks ago:

Annual Pyper Family Reunion,"Papa's Party," West Valley

It was way stinkin' cold for June,

I think I look pretty good in this picture, if I do say so myself.

but we braved the weather for the races,

Go, Janet, go!

the traditional sawdust treasure hunt,

and, of course, the after-lunch naps.

Oh, and ice cream. Somehow, Jane ended up with an entire ice cream sandwich all to herself. Don't know that that was the best plan ever...

Chalk Art Festival, Gateway Mall, Downtown Salt Lake

Our family, Lisa's family, my mom, my sisters, and my brother Michael all went downtown to view the splediforous work of the sidewalk chalk artists.

We obviously had to have our picture taken by the orange octopus.

The pictures were pretty amazing, especially considering that it would all disappear as soon as it rained.

If you're bored, google "3D sidewalk art"
Can you tell the difference?

Megan and Nicole had a little bonding time of their own.

At the end of the mall, they had a place where you could join in the fun.

Mom made her contribution:

Ask her any day of the year and she can tell you how many days 'til Christmas. Tonight, 180 days.

And the requisite stop in the Gateway fountain.

Dalton and Michael were hesitant at first.

Jane stayed on her toes the entire time.

Lisa was the first truly brave one.

Eventually, everyone joined in.

Everyone, that is, but me and the babies. Being the only dry one, I was delegated as keeper of the camera and holder of the still dry newborn. Megan stayed close by.


It was Jess's birthday, she had discount passes, we joined in the fun.

The only ride Chris was adamant about riding was the bumper cars.

The whole gang:

Megan, me, Chris, Candice, Jordan, Jess, Mark, Jeremy

We have continued our weekly playdates,

see? I told you Dalton was there.

and I went to a show at the Desert Star theater with Mom.

We saw The Sheik of Persia. Hilarious.

We attended the annual ward summer party. Theme: Luau.

A few parting words of wisdom:

"Imagination is everything--It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
~Albert Einstein

And because I'm still a sucker for pictures of sleeping babies.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back to Life

Now that we are, ahem, officially moved in (see previous post), it seems time to get back to blogging for real.

We are still settling into life together as a family...and, let's be honest, it's not easy. We have to relearn all over again how to live with more people, figuring out how to balance being a family, getting things done, and having fun. After five months apart, it has been an interesting transition. But! Don't worry, it's not all bad.

The night before we moved, we went to Panda Express with Mark and Jess. The night before I left Logan, left my full-time job, left off being a single parent, getting ready to live with Chris and be a stay at home mom, this is what my fortune said:

You are heading for a land of sunshine and relaxation.

I don't put a lot of stock in those fortune cookies, but this one may be on to something...

We inaugurated our house with our first Family Home Evening. We talked about our favorite things in our new house, then marked each of our heights on the wall. Now it really is our house.

While still having mounds of boxes to unpack, we are establishing some kind of daily routine. After Chris leaves for work around 6:00 in the morning, I have a little time to myself before the girls wake up and we have breakfast together.

I've gotten a little more creative with Jane's hair, now that I have more time to experiment. I thought this one turned out pretty cute.

Not to be left out, Megan has begun developing some fashion sense of her own.

We have done a lot of yardwork lately in addition to getting the house set up nicely. Everyone participates.

Isn't he cute?

Jane wearing her "sleeves"

and Megan just chillin'. She's really good at that.

We spent I think four evenings out trimming the bushes on this one side of the house. In that time, we had no less than a dozen people come up to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. It's a much different atmosphere than living in the condos. I think we're going to enjoy it here.

We have only been to our new ward three times since we moved, and we have already spoken in sacrament meeting and received callings. Chris is the new Gospel Doctrine teacher and I am the Activity Days leader in Primary. (Primary--that's a new one. It's been six years since I've been in a ward with any primary beyond nursery.)

In other news, Jane is pretty much potty trained now. She stills takes great pride in wearing panties so she can "be a big girl like Claire!" It's very exciting, don't you know.

Megan is also officially crawling. It was iffy there for quite a while, but she has finally gotten it down.

You may notice that she is less than thrilled at this particular moment. That's because I was actually rather far away and making her crawl to me.

We have added some events to our daily and weekly routines that are a welcome change from what life had been for those five months. For one, we now have a sit-down, homemade family dinner every night.

I had to take a picture of this one because the night before, I had made tostadas that were NaStY. Seriously, it was the most disgusting meal we have tasted probably since we've been married. Not my fault, though. The shells were extremely stale and I just didn't notice until everything we already served up. Yuk. The dinner pictured, however, was delicious. Spicy chili, pineapple and made from scratch cornbread muffins. Tasty stuff.

We have successfully held Family Home Evening for three weeks in a row--a new record for our little family! In all honestly, I think our previous record was, cough cough, one week in a row. Tonight, we talked about temples.

For the activity, we each made our own temple out of playdough.

Brenda stayed with us the first week we were living here, she went back to Idaho for a week, and now she's staying with us again. She is the official painter at our house. She has painted basically every room upstairs, with help from several people along the way. There are three rooms to go, hence why she came back.

Chris gave us an impromtu lesson about the symbolism of the spires on the Salt Lake temple.

Jane didn't really get the idea, but she thought it was grand fun to have Mom, Dad, and Brenda all play with her at the same time!

The girls and I are enjoying the newly-instituted weekly playdate with my sister Lisa and her kids, Dalton and Nicole. Unfortunately, most of the pictures I took are on Lisa's camera, so I only have a few on mine and none of Dalton! No worries, though, we are going every week. We'll try again this week.

It was very windy that day, can you tell?

Jane is getting continously more brave. She makes me nervous sometimes.

Nicole is just over a month old now. And she still has tons of hair. Not fair--my babies always go bald within the first week.

Megan was having a harder time with the slope of the hill we were sitting on, but that didn't really stop her from trying to crawl. It mostly just stopped her from actually crawling.

There was a thunderstorm one night. For just a moment, there were three rainbows visible.

I love living around so many trees.

I know that you all are just a little Jane-deprived. For your reading pleasure, here are some of Jane's newest Jane moments.

Jane isn't the best nap-taker ever. When I leave the room after laying her down, she can cry for quite a while before going to sleep. One day, I walked out of the room and this is what I heard:

In crying, whiny voice:

"Mommy, come back! Wait, Mommy! Wait! Don't ever leave me! Come back!"
and an abrupt switch to her normal voice:
"Oh, never mind. I'll just go to sleep."
I didn't hear another peep.

Jane accidently bit her thumb, hard, while eating dinner. In her grief, she just had to call Grandpa. In her words: "I hurt my finger on my teeth."

Jane came out of the bathroom one day with her shorts on backwards. When I pointed it out to her, she took her pants off, turned herself around, and put them back on.

Jane fell down. The report: "I hurt the floor with myself."
That one is my current favorite.

And a cute Megan too: