Monday, January 31, 2011

Bailey's Masterpiece

As part of Bailey's visual art class this last semester she had the opportunity to do an individual project....She chose cubism as her form and wanted to paint The First Vision (a sacred event in our LDS Church history). I was a little hesitant about the religious nature of her painting in a public school forum but, very impressed that her art teacher was very open to the idea and supportive in her desire to express her beliefs in this art form..... Thank you. Bailey spent the last four months working on this project several hours a week and because of its size (5' x 31/2') Bailey had to paint out in the hallway and it became affectionately known as the "Jesus Painting" :)
Beautiful job Bailey. You put my stick people to shame. You have definitely inherited your Grandma Lynette and Uncle Nolan's artistic talent. You have never been shy or unsure of who you are and what you believe, your quiet confidence amazes me often. You have one proud momma and papa.

Artist's rendition of the First Vision (
featuring Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father and the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

One Way to Lose the Sock Basket....

I think my Superman's only complaint about my fantastic ;) homemaking skills is...

my out right refusal to match and fold socks....

I think it is a colossal waste of time and energy, so since the dawn of time, or the beginning of our marriage, there has been a "sock basket"of gradually increasing sizes. The basket requires the sock need-er to find and match their own foot attire, something my brilliant family members are completely capable of ......Grant has complained about my sock system forever, I think its kind of endearing. The only time I ever match the suckers up is if the In-Laws are coming or we are moving :) ...
We had scary incident this week that has require us to say an abrupt goodbye to the beloved basket..... Early Wednesday morning Dallyn came into my bedroom, and sleepily told me he had a nightmare, which hasn't happened in forever. As I leaned over to give him a hug, I asked "Why does your hair smell like burning plastic?" Dallyn replies "the whole house smells that way"....
I jumped out of bed and when I opened our door...the melted plastic smell made my eyes burn...I ran down the hallway and as I past the Laundry room I realized that the "sock basket" had been pushed up against the base board heater(I usually have that heater off). There were scorched socks and melted plastic all over the heater and carpet. I quickly turned the heater off, opening all the windows...My heart sank as I realized how close we came to catastrophe, yikes....I am thankful for Dallyn's nightmare, and that the kids always ask for us to sleep in peace and safety in our family prayer.
We were certainly blessed that night. That's one way of losing the sock basket, eh? Grant

Friday, January 28, 2011

Turning Point

For the last several years I have LOATHED February, seriously dreaded it. About mid January I started bracing myself for the dreaded four weeks. Maybe its because endless dreary days out here make me feel like I am stuck on the set of Twilight or the fact that the kids are climbing the walls from cabin fever....but mostly, whether I like to admit it or not, I know exactly were my feelings were coming from....February is the anniversary of my Mom's death after a long difficult battle with mental illness and COPD.

My Mom's illness and eventual passing was by all definitions tragic...Mental illness had robbed her beautiful mind of her talents, cognition, Independence, and ability to have loving relationships with her family. The last few years of her life, this illness had caused my mom to be manipulative, unpredictable and at times rage with anger. Heartbreaking.

About a year before her passing had, I begun to lose my ability to cope, the rug rats were 3,4,7,8 &9 at the time and Grant had only recently returned to full time work. My mom had just been admitted permanently into a care facility. I was exhausted and literally falling apart. Grant recognized our need to leave Southern Alberta, if we were to save our marriage and our sanity. Just six month's before her death Grant found a job and we moved back to the Island.

The right decision for our family, but many judged us for abandoning my Mom, which was deeply painful. Just six months after our move my Mom took a turn for the worse and my sister and I rushed to say our goodbyes...I am still unsure if she really recognized us, but after several days Mom had rallied and we were assured the crisis had past. We headed home.

Just four days later when the phone rang at four am on a Sunday morning...I knew she was gone. My sister explained that Mom had fallen hit her head and died. The grief, which I thought I had prepared for, was like a Tsunami.....I went on auto pilot and the next week was a blur. What surprised me even more was the guilt. I was wounded and broken. Did I abandoned her?, I hated her illness and the hurt it had caused, there were so many unresolved issues and questions. Would my heart ever heal???

There was a sense of peace that mom's suffering was over,but I was still so very hurt and angry and I felt that in that, hurt and anger, I had let her down when she needed me most. The guilt and grief was consuming.....

Over the last almost seven years, life has gone on, there has been much healing and perspective. Many good and happy things have happened, but there has always been guilt and grief in February, but this year there is a change, I feel I have reached a turning point....

Several months a go has part of my calling in RS..I was asked to help with the final arrangements for a dear sister in our ward who had passed away. I have avoided funerals over the last seven years and truly wondered if I had the courage to help were I was needed. After a few tears and a prayer or two I went forward....

And through that experience my heart was healed..... I was unable to help my mom, but I could do for this sister, what I was unable to do for her so many years ago, and that was okay. I think I was finally ready to let my heart heal and let the guilt go. It was a sweet and sacred experience for me, a true turning point.

I look forward to February this year. There are wonderful things about February....Dallyn & Bailey birthdays to start the list...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Please Give Me Some Patience:)

Patience is a virtue I have always stuggled with (especially this week!). Just ask my Superman and the rug rats.

I loved this talk when President Dieter F Uchtdorf shared it in Conference a while back... I am pretty sure I would have eaten the marshmallow in seconds:

I think this why this report caught my attention while watching the CBC Vancouver News a few days ago:

This helps me feel much less guilt when I tell the kids no. Self control is a life skill. One I am still working on. I sure hope my kids grow up with more patience than I have....It shouldn't be hard. :)

Bread & Basketball

Yesterday after Holly informed me that she has always hated my cornbread, the classic staple with homemade chili (I told you my kids keep me humble). I asked the girls to find something different...
This is what Bailey made, a french bread recipe from my favorite recipe site:

I have used it before for pizza crust and ham & cheese roll ups and it always works great... As french bread it was AWESOME!!!

Aren't they PRETTY?
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp salt
2 cups hot tap water
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
2 Tbsp instant yeast

Mix in order given, mixing the yeast with a little flour and adding that while dough is still very soft. Add enough flour to make a dough that holds together in a ball shape and is not sticky if you handle it with floured hands. Cover.Let rise until double, about 1/2 hour. Divide in half.

Roll out to about 12x15” rectangle. Roll up jelly roll style and place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cut diagonal slits on top. Let rise about 30 - 45 min. Brush with mixture of 1 egg and 2 Tbsp milk, beaten with fork.Bake at 400F for 20 min, or until golden.

The Money Shot.....yummmmmm!

This was Bailey's first attempt at bread making and she did fantastic!!! Super quick, great tasting bread...I don't think I'll ever by french bread again.

In the midst of the flour flying, Alex came home from her basketball tournament and announced they WON!

Way to go Alex!!! and Bailey!!

Gotta love the knee highs!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Routine Junkie

I have always thought of myself as someone who is pretty laid back and easy going. But,this week I have realized that I am a complete routine junkie and when something upsets that routine I go into immediate withdrawal and so do the rug rats.

This is exam week at the High School. Which means no seminary, varied days at school, and at least one kid home every minute of every day this week. So any resemblance of a routine has graciously flown out the window and I don't like it one bit.

Call me selfish but,I realize how much I do need my 6 hours of solitude a day.(the top reason I don't home school) I think its the reason I am only half crazy and my kids are still kinda "normal" :).Apparently, no routine causes the school aged child's brain to melt.After D tried and failed to get out of school for the third morning in a row, D&A forgot their respective lunches after I reminded them twice and if the school didn't highly frown on it I would totally let them starve....My kitchen looks like a bomb has gone off because all five of them think we're a Denny's made their own "grand-slam" breakfasts. Waffles with Strawberries, Scrabbled eggs, hash browns....but did I get any... nope... I just broke up a slapping contest that turned into a fist fight. I guess my hoddie resembles a ref's jersey. Its only 10 am and I need a NAP!

Admitting the fact that I am a routine junkie is the first step to recovery....My only saving grace is next week my precious routine returns. Until then, I could turn the laundry into a padded room and the kids and I could take turns :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

My "MATRONLY" Duty??

So Grant thought he was hilarious this morning when he yelled down stairs...
"Come up here and do your MATRONLY duty!!" So my Superman got to iron his own D#$% shirt....I think we both forgot he knew how ;) Who's hilarious now honey? :)

I Have OCHCD- Obsessive Compulsive House Cleaning Disorder :)

Last night we hosted the Bishop's Youth Fireside at Casa de Kramer and it was awesome.......

But when Grant announced the fireside last week and its location, our abode. I cringed. I have this OCD thing with my home needing to be spotless to have anybody over and everyone in my home seriously MOCKS my anxiety. My kids say stuff like "Teenagers don't care if the hand towels in the bathroom match." or "Mom no one is going to look under the couch cushions." or "No one will go in the laundry room, so why clean it."

I know that my anxieties are down right ridiculous. My kids are right teenagers don't care (Not one of them complimented me on my matching hand towels, go figure?) All of the adults that came over are dear friends, have large families, wouldn't care how messy my house is, and know that my clean house is a total fake out. They all know, if you want to see how the Kramer's really live....come over unannounced:)

What I loved last night was the Spirit a bunch of squirly teenagers brought into our home as our Bishop presented the theme "We Believe" for the 2011 mutual year.

[To watch the videos first pause the music player at the bottom of the page, otherwise the double audio is annoying]

Theme Song for 2011

Korean Youth /Standing Together/13 th Article of Faith

MY FAVOURITE : Seeking What's Good Song

I will clean my house any day for these opportunities. We have a great ward family. Have an awesome, but humble Bishop and amazing youth. It is an honour to share our home with all them, cleaning anxiety and all :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pretzels & Popcorn

So what do your kids do with their pretzels?? Mine, when extremely bored, turn them into educational toys.
Who knew a 10 & 12 year old could have so much fun with a bag of snack food.
Speaking of snack food.....
Today Grant and I decided to abandon the rug rats and take off for the day. A much needed sanity break for both of us. We took the ocean side route down to Nanaimo, a beautiful drive, with a quick stop in Parksville at my favourite second hand store :) We had a bunch of gift cards from Christmas and the kids decided to pool them all and asked us to pick out a "family" gift at Sears for them. Grandma & Grandpa, look what you got the kids for Christmas....

A theatre style popcorn makes 50 cups of popcorn at a time and makes the house smell great! The kids were surprised and think its awesome. I know its not really practical but Christmas isn't about being practical. Thanks guys I am sure we will use it well.

Pretzels & popcorn made for a great Saturday.
Other notables from today:
- Water fight inside....good times
-Holly to Alex: "Alex go die!" Alex(not missing a beat) " I always wanted to meet Jesus" said in her best southern drawl
-eating popcorn, watching Star Trek (the newer one I actually like) with the kids and only saying "will everyone just be quiet!"(ok I probably said shut up) only twice. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Will Survive....Parenting Teens?

The best parenting advice that I ever got was from my Grandma Beena. "Raise your kids so other people can stand them!, Robin" She told me not long after Holly was born. My Grandma was 95 at the time. It wasn't until years later I completely understood the wisdom in her words.

Fast forward 17 years, I sure wish Grandma Beena was here to help me through the teen years...This is way more challenging in a different way then I ever imagined. And most of the time I feel I am barely hanging on by my fingernails. The last week the ATTITUDE around here was in overdrive times 3 and my "perfect" home was far from peaceful. To add to it, I had to coordinate a Parenting Workshop for Relief Society and I felt like the last person on the planet who should be giving out advice of any kind, much less on parenting.

As I began to put together something I might share at the workshop, I came across a talk from the last General Conference entitled "Courageous Parenting by Elder Larry R. Lawrence"

Entire talk...well worth the read:

It was the exact pep talk I needed:) This is what I shared with at the workshop from that article.........

In these last days, what the world really needs is courageous parenting from mothers and fathers who are not afraid to speak up and take a stand.

Imagine for a moment that your daughter was sitting on the railroad tracks and you heard the train whistle blowing. Would you warn her to get off the tracks? Or would you hesitate, worried that she might think you were being overprotective? If she ignored your warning, would you quickly move her to a safe place? Of course you would! Your love for your daughter would override all other considerations. You would value her life more than her temporary goodwill.

Challenges and temptations are coming at our teenagers with the speed and power of a freight train. As we are reminded in the family proclamation, parents are responsible for the protection of their children. That means spiritually as well as physically.

Also from the same talk...speaking to your teens about relationships & morality....

Parents can prevent a lot of heartache by teaching their children to postpone romantic relationships until the time comes when they are ready for marriage. Prematurely pairing off with a boyfriend or girlfriend is dangerous. Becoming a “couple” creates emotional intimacy, which too often leads to physical intimacy. Satan knows this sequence and uses it to his advantage. He will do whatever he can to keep young men from serving missions and to prevent temple marriages.
It is vital that parents have the courage to speak up and intervene before Satan succeeds. President Boyd K. Packer has taught that “when morality is involved, we have both the right and the obligation to raise a warning voice.”

Often I feel overwhelmed at the task a head of us. Getting five children to adulthood alive and so other people can stand them, some days seems impossible. I am grateful that I am not alone in my task as a parent of teenagers. I have their Aunts & Uncles who love them and always are way cooler than me, YW leaders who remind me, that my girls are wonderful when I have forgotten that for just a second and my Superman who is the calm, rational one. I will survive and so will they....Right???

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Hang around me long enough and you will discover that I am spelling disabled. I have struggled in English classes my whole life, never made it pass the first round in a spelling bee and barely scraped by English 30 with a 59%. Needless to say, I can't spell anything to save my life and without spell check I am completely lost.

So when Alex announced that she had entered the school Spelling Bee I was slightly surprised but grateful I had not passed on my spelling bee phobia to her.
She studied off and on for the last week or so and wasn't worried when she left for school yesterday morning...I wished her luck and apologized for not being able to go watch her that afternoon (I know bad mommy). I had a busy day and honestly forgotten about the bee, when Alex came in the door after school.

Alex:"I came in 6th Mom!"

Me: "In what?"

Alex:"The. Spelling. Bee.!?"

Me: "Wow, that's great!", "Out of how many?"

Alex: "Seventy-Seven"

Me: "That's fantastic!"

Then the mommy guilt hit and I felt bad I hadn't made it there to see her.Sorry Alex :( Thank heavens Alex has not held it against me.

The last word she spelled correctly was ABRACADABRA and yes I had to look up how to spell it. Way to go my little spelling phenom. (I just corrected six spelling mistakes in this blog post alone.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beach Walk/Robin Ate Sushi :)

Today Grant had a day off, the rug rats were all in school and we had nothing to do....That hasn't happened in forever. :) So we took Tater down to Kye Bay for a walk one the beach.
The Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox was out on a training run. It was pretty cool to watch.

That's Powell River in the background (mainland BC)

There was quite the land slide part way down the beach, high tide made it impossible to get around so we had to cut our walk short....I was just happy to have had an afternoon with my sweetheart :)

Tonight our family was invited to share a traditional Korean meal with the Cho-Moon family in their home. I am always humbled when someone invites our family over to a meal, its no small feat to feed all of us (like inviting a basketball team over) and is definitely a sacrifice. June & Sugin made Sushi, a potato noodle dish, Korean pancakes, soup and a salad. It was all EXCELLENT!!!! I even ate sushi (it had ham instead of fish, but it still counts) and I liked it, I really liked it. We had a wonderful visit and are very grateful for the many wonderful friends we have here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Shenanigans

Anybody who knows the Kramer kids well, knows that my Holly & my Madison are like oil and water. Put them in the same room without adult supervision and without fail an argument usually ensues. Their relationship reminds me of how my sister and I were in high school, so I don't worry too much because Kelli & I turned out to be great friends, once we became adults. So I figure Madison & Holly will do the same.

Today however I failed to notice that H & M were sitting next to one another in Sacrament Meeting (rookie mistake) until they were harassing each other. I made them switch spots as I muttered "will you two ever get along" as I gave Grant, on the stand, the "look what I have to put up with" glare and prayed for the patience to survive the next hour....Half way through the meeting Madison handed me her picture and said "This is the only place we ever got along, Mom" Madison thanks for giving me a good laugh on a high council Sunday :)

This is what happens with Dallyn and his friends when all of the adult supervision is in ward choir practice.....

Dallyn, Riley & Jake (thanks for the picture Ashawna)
They build snowmen, on the Church lawn..."But mom they're Sunday Snowmen, they have ties on" Yes, yes they do :) Good job boys!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Never Ask Mom Anything.....

All of my kids have learned, usually the hard way, if you ask me a question I will give a straight answer. Especially if that information will embarrass you :). Bailey was my last victim, last year when she innocently asked "what's Viagra??" after seeing the commercial :) he he he.....

Last night Dallyn was in the hot seat.....after watching a public service announcement, with all of his sisters and a friend of theirs in the room :)

Dallyn: "Mom what's prostate cancer?"

Me: "The kind of cancer Grandpa has."

Dallyn: "What's the prostate??"

Me: "The male organ the produces semen.

Dallyn: "What's semen??", every one in the room laughs hysterically

Me: "This is something we can talk about in private"

Dallyn: "Oh no!, this is one of those things we learn about in one of those Grade 6 special classes, just for boys!"

He sighs, shakes his head and leave the room...while the snickering continues. Man I love that boy!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Parentals

There are so few pictures of my parents together and smiling, the result of their choices not mine. So I was really surprised when I came across this one after my Mom's passing, I didn't ever remember seeing it before. Growing up I always thought my parents were the biggest NERDS ever and super OLD. As a parent of teenagers, I now understand that my feelings had nothing to do with my parents and everything to do with the flawed logic of all teen aged kind.My Mom & Dad Anaheim, California - late 1960's
Along with this picture we also found a box of love letters between my Mom & Dad. It was surreal and heart warming to get a glimpse into the ideal life (at least for a time) that my parents had lived before Kelli & I came along. My parents left Utah in 1963, just weeks after getting married on a whim in Las Vegas, chasing the California dream. And by many standards they had achieved it. Both were high school teachers, dad drove a VW Bug and mom a '64 Burgundy Mustang. They bought a small house and played gigs most weekends. From their letters we learned that they were happy and very much in love.

My parents weren't nerds at all, they were down right GROOVY!! I hope someday that my rug rats will realize how SWEET, RAD & TOTALLY AWESOME Grant & I are :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You're the Parent of Teenagers When.....

You know you're a parent of teenagers when....

1. You own seven handsets and you still can never find a phone....

2. You go through 2 gallons of milk in 12 hours, yes 12 hours, making you contemplate buying a cow

3. You don't even bother to investigate why there is chocolate cake batter on the ceiling in the living room, no one will admit to it any way

4.You do no less than 25 loads of laundry a week and the funny noise the washer is now making causes you to include the appliance in your prayers

5. You no longer own your own clothes (or anything for that matter) because the teenage philosophy is "what's mine is mine and what's yours is now mine"

6. You seriously think about wrapping your new car in pool noodles and duct tape, in hopes that you can keep your insurance rate from spiking.

7. You have said "Would you like a snorkel with that?" at the dinner table, as you are continually amazed at the volume of food you go through. 22 quesadillas, 18 sloppy joes, 3 gallons of beef barley soup...but who's really counting this week

8. You have come to accept the fact that you will never text as fast as your offspring and they will talk to you like you're the village idiot anytime they are explaining something technical.

9. You yell at them to get off their facebook page because, they have spent too much time on you can go on yours :)

10. You would seriously pay a million dollars to the first finder of the parenting owner's manual you are sure they came with, but have been searching for since each of them was about 9 hours old.

Today I felt like I had entered the parenting twilight zone before my darling rug rats had even left for school, I knew I should of locked myself in my room when I had the chance :). Just hoping tomorrow's a better day :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day :)

Although there was only 2 cm of snow on the ground at 9 last night, the kids where all praying for a snow not so much. Around midnight, after watching a car slide in to the neighbours front yard, 4 wheel drives struggling to get up our hill and a transformer flash every time the wind blew hard, I was pretty sure their prayers would be answered....When we lost power around 3 am, by then there was 15 more cm and it was snowing hard, I was wondering how the heck Grant was going to get his car out of the driveway much less up the hill to be to work by 6:30 am.
The power was back on at 5 am, when Grant asked me to get the kids up to start shovelling. My kids were less than thrilled, but they did get up and kept their grumbling to a minimum. There was more than a foot on the driveway by then

It took the 4 of us an hour to shovel the car out and down just one side of the driveway, to the street. It was now snow/ raining and blowing hard....I was colder than at the polar bear swim....

Grant then got stuck at the end of the street, 20 more minutes of shoveling and pushing, he finally made it to the main road and made it to work....

It always amazes me how quickly the weather can change around here....4 hours later the sun was shining and it was 10 degrees warmer.....
The grader clearing the drifts the ploughs had made....metal scraping on concrete is such a lovely sound ;)
Alex and Dallyn had to take advantage of the snow day....
The rain is supposed to hit this afternoon and keep raining for more than a week so the white stuff won't last long.
***Official snow fall total for Courtenay, BC : 35 cm / 14 inches ***

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lessons from the Short Bus

Grade 5- the year I had surgery and rode the short bus

Last night I laid awake for hours because my legs & feet just ached. This is nothing new, but they haven't ached like that in forever. Pretty sure its 'cause I wore high heals two days in a row (Grant's management party & Church)...I know I am such a slave to fashion, NOT! First time I've worn heels since the six hours of torture at High School grad....

I don't ever remember not dealing with muscle spasms in my legs and feet. Its the only annoying side affect of my mild cerebral palsy. At least the lazy eyes, bad coordination, and drooling when I'm tired don't hurt :) Anyways....

As I laid there last night I tried to think of all the good things I have learned from having to deal with physical challenges. (I think I was just trying to talk myself out of a pity party.)

When I was around 4, I started attending a rehabilitation centre, after school, three or more days a week. I spent countless hours there for physical and occupational therapy, which I didn't always enjoy. I was super jealous of my sister who got to go home and watch after school cartoons. But at RIO (can't remember what that stood for) I was surround by other kids who had many more challenges than I did and I learned early to focus on all that I could do, instead of what I struggled with.

At 10, I distinctively remember the appointment with my pediatric orthopedic surgeon as he told my mom that I had finally grown enough and it was time to do the reconstructive surgery on both feet. The inside muscle on both feet had pulled so tightly it had caused my feet to be severely pigeon-toed and both heel bones to curve. Making walking very difficult. It involved major surgery, several months in a wheel chair and then many more in walking casts. I was terrified. As part of my preparation for surgery I attended a class for kids, at the hospital (CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County) that went through all the different procedures. There was a boy in my class the was having major heart surgery, his mom told my mom that his survival was in question (I never did know what happened to him) Even at ten I understood that my surgery although scary, was not life threatening and I felt sorrow for this boy and his family. I learned empathy early.

After surgery, the casts and wheelchair made it necessary for me to ride the special needs bus (aka the short bus) to and from school and yes sadly I was teased because of it. On that bus however, I met a boy named Bill. Bill was in a motorized wheelchair and only had limited control of his head and hands. He was the funnest kid I had ever met. Happy, always had a joke to tell, and showed me how to write dirty words upside down in a calculator :). From Bill I learned that attitude is everything. No matter what our lot in life is we can still choose to be happy.

My surgery was successful, the recovery was painful but the benefit of an empathic heart and straight feet has been awesome, I still fall easy but at least its not from tripping over my own two feet. I honestly wouldn't change a thing.

After a hot bath and good old Advil I was finally able to drift off into never-never land. I will always have to weigh the price vs benefit of wearing high heels, So "I told you so" is certainly in order if you ever hear me whining about this again :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sticker Shock

I am usually not afraid of the mail man (although Tater loathes him) but I think this week I have changed my mind. Tuesday, right in the middle of me blissfully soaking up the peace and quiet of all my kids back at school, the kind mail man slides the BC Hydro bill through the slot. I was expecting it. I knew it would be high with the Christmas season and all. But, when I saw the numbers 6-2-5 with the decimal point after the five I became weak at the knees.(We are billed two months at a time.& everything in the house is electric. Heat, hot water etc.)When I announced the number to Grant he thought I was kidding. I wish I was. Apparently my kids think the power bill is a contest...the highest one wins, I think we are in the running. I'm definitely NOT a tree hugger, but even I have to admit that we have wasted energy and need to make some drastic changes.

After the initial Sticker Shock wore off, we had a rather intense family meeting with our "power piggy's"(the eye rolling was hard to ignore)....We came up with the following rules/ideas to lessen our power consumption.

-5 minute showers, strictly enforced
-one towel a week, one outfit a day
-one TV on at a time (our kids have a habit of watching all 3 TV's simultaneously, usually on the same channel)
-leave the light on in your bedroom- lose your light bulb (H&B have already lost theirs)
-wash all laundry in cold, run full loads only...teenagers have this annoying habit of washing one pair of jeans and a hoodie, ignoring the mountain of laundry sitting there
-I also discovered that electric base board heaters should be vacuumed out at least twice a year, dust build up lessens their efficiency (who knew?)
-Turn down the heat in bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry and storage rooms and leave the doors closed
-shut all blinds and curtains at night, can cut heat loss by 30 %

-I also discovered that BC Hydro offers a BC Hydro Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP)They will send you a kit that will help make your home more energy efficient, and if you are lower income, its free. You can also apply to have a technician come and install all the stuff for you, for free...but the kit is faster and less paper work

I am hoping we can get our power bill under control or my power piggy's can pay the next bill :)

Monday, January 3, 2011


Like I've said before....I HATE throwing my kids birthday parties and if that makes me a terrible mother and a birthday Grinch, I can live with that... So when Holly's BFF Milena offered to throw a surprise party, at her house for Holly's 17th I secretly jumped for JOY. Thanks Milena for bailing me out of my dreaded parental obligation.
The fact that Holly still has not forgiven us for abandoning her on her 16th birthday(we handed her her new cell phone and took of to Ucluelet for the weekend) made it all that much more fun to act like nothing was planned this year :) We have discovered however that keeping a secret in the Kramer household is darn near impossible. We had to threaten to return any and all Christmas presents if anyone dare spill the beans.(I even showed them my stack of saved receipts) The threat worked and Holly didn't have a clue.
Milena did an awesome job of everything, all I had to do was supply the dollar store decor. If you ask me this was the perfect way to throw a party.

Holly had a fantastic night and thanks Laura (Milena's mom) for providing the parental supervision and your beautiful home to all of Holly's hooligans.

Wow, Sisterly love. This is a rare shot. Most days they have a hard time sharing their rooms, the bathrooms, the hair straightener, the same air space.....OK you get the point. Even if they are just pretending for the cake, I'll take it :)

Oh Holly you are so mature now. So maybe you can forgive us for last year??? You know, forgive and forget :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Polar Bear Swim.....BRRRRR

We live in a really fun, all be it, slightly crazy ward. So, no one even batted an eye when the Bishop suggested a Polar Bear swim for New Year's Day.
Airforce Beach-19 Wing Comox We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day. But don't let the sunshine fool you, it was cold. 1C /34 F and there is frost on those logs.
Grant, me, and the kids, except our chicken Bailey, were game.

Lined up waiting for the insanity to begin...I was the only woman over 18 stupid, I mean brave enough to enter the water.

Yes it was sooo COLD, my feet were instantly numb and I only made it up to my knees before a moment of sanity hit and I headed for dry ground. Grant, Madison & Dallyn went all the way in.

I don't care that I didn't get my head wet, The Polar Bear Swim is now crossed off my bucket list.

Thank heavens for the campfire and the endless supply of Hot Chocolate and Turkey Vegetable soup to warm us up. I'm hoping by morning to feel my feet again. It was all worth it. I was in the Pacific Ocean today with some of my favourite people in the world and it was SSSO MMMUCH FFFUN!!!!