Oct 31, 2015

Guest Blogger: Jack-O-Lanterns by Dog Walker

I thought it's been just recently since I've got to be a guest blogger to this. But Mom wanted me to talk about the activity of carving pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns. It feels like we carve pumpkins all day long and we mostly did. First of all, I was at UVU before any of this was going on. Earlier Mom, sent me a text asking me if it was okay for her, the kids, and the girl scouts to carve the pumpkins that I bought and I quickly said "I don't Care" with a smiley face.

Later, I was a bit surprised that Mom had saved me the biggest pumpkin that I bought with the pumpkins that I bought before October. We all hate the feeling and smell of pumpkin guts inside when taking out all the slime and seeds out of it. But every year, we need to get used to it, just like some little children get used to playing in the mud like pigs in a pen. Anyway, I wasn't the last one who have got to carve a pumpkin, but Drama Queen, her Best Friend, Bossy, Fajita, and Teach made their very owns. Before this ever happened, I'm pretty sure that Mom had the Girl Scouts carve the pumpkins that they've brought and made it exactly like any carved pumpkin every year on Halloween. I wasn't there when Mom and the Girl Scouts were doing their activity, but I bet that they had a blast.

My idea of a Jack-O-Lantern is the traditional face, except I made Vampire fangs onto them and I added the most bizarre thing on it. I thought it would cool to do something additive to the pumpkin. Put two bananas on the side of it and made it a viking. More like a Vampire-Viking! LOL! Right when I showed that to Mom, she was a bit worried that I'm using the bananas that Teach had bought and not myself and also that bananas get ruined in weather. I knew that already, but I thought it was a good idea, since I noticed somebody added pencils on their Jack-O-Lantern as horns. And I thought I could do something like that. I never had a chance to put the Jack-O-Lanterns on the flowerbed to go with the display until late at night, because Bossy asked me to take her kids and the other kids to her Ward Halloween Party before it ended at eight o'clock. The kids had a wonderful time, despite there were only a few booths that they saw and they felt like wanting to go home.

Finally, when we got home, I had the chance to put the Jack-O-Lanterns on the flowerbed and then add a strip of lights that would work to make the Jack-O-Lanterns glow while being on display. I hope that the trick-or-treating children will go through my display and to know how much I made it entertaining for them to hike through and then come to the door for the treats. Happy Halloween!

Oct 30, 2015

Decorating Pumpkins

So many fun activities this week! On Tuesday I had my Activity Days girls over to make treats and decorate pumpkins. Princess helped them each make little pumpkins for their families out of Rice Krispies treats. They used mini tootsie rolls for the stems. They were so cute! (and yummy!).

The girls also each had a pumpkin to decorate. We didn't want to cut them since Halloween was still a few days away, so I got out piles of craft supplies, ribbon and fabric, pipe cleaners and beads. They had so much fun and they are all so creative. None of the pumpkins are even similar.

They even had time to put together the skull and crossbones reflector necklaces from the kits given to us by another neighbor.

Then on Wednesday night, So Jordan Chick-fil-A had a Halloween party. They gave away cookies and let each kid decorate and take home a pumpkin of their own. Tomorrow the Girl Scouts are coming over to carve pumpkins for real. Hopefully I'll remember to take some good pictures for you.
Scout and Baby Doll at Chick-fil-A

Oct 29, 2015

First Prize for Dog Walker's Awesome Display

We were sitting around tonight, cleaning up the kitchen and doing homework when the doorbell rang. It was just after 9:00 and Crafty answered it. After a moment, "Mom?" she called, "Door's for you." She didn't really open the door which I thought was a bit weird and when I asked her who it was, she just shrugged. I was surprised to see a little old man there, not anyone I knew, but he carried a cane and a piece of paper in a sheet protector.

He greeted me with a pleasant but shy smile and proceeded to congratulate me. He said that the Dog Walker's light display was the finest one he had seen this year and he wanted to present it with his first prize, a copy of a poem he wrote himself. Then he handed me the piece of paper and turned to leave. I tried to engage him in further conversation by telling him a bit about the Dog Walker, but he was finished. He had delivered his prize and he was on his way.

The Dog Walker was ever so pleased with the attention and asked me to post his prize. I thought the writing was pretty clever and I wish I could cite the author, but he never gave his name. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Oct 28, 2015

Halloween Concert

Crafty and Sport had a band concert tonight at the middle school. Sport was upset that he would have to miss football practice, so on Sunday I emailed his coach and explained that since practice started at 5:15 and he had to be at the school at 6:00 ready to play his trumpet, he was going to miss practice (if you don't know about football, this is a big, huge deal!).

His coach kindly excused him but also mentioned that practices had moved up to 5:00 this week. Well, that made all the difference. I told Sport he would be able to practice until 5:50 and then we would run straight to the middle school. It was helpful that this was a costume concert... guess what he dressed up as?

I tried to convince him he could play a trumpet through his helmet, but he didn't really think so. Only the top two bands play at this fall concert, and his band was first. For only having been together for about 8 weeks, they were fabulous! Remember, Sport is a 7th grader as are about half the kids in this concert band.

Crafty plays the clarinet in the symphonic band, the highest level at her school. She is the cute pink Minnie Mouse. She was pretty disappointed with the way her band sounded tonight, but I thought they did great. The first concert of the year is always hard. She played in this same band last year, so for her it is hard not to compare the two groups.

After the concert, dinner, and volleyball, I decided I had to cook down these beautiful grapes my generous neighbor gave to us yesterday. One of my favorite smells on the planet is that deep purple smell of concord grapes as they run through my juicer. We only have enough for one batch this year, so it shouldn't take too long to make them all into jelly tomorrow. If I were smarter, I would figure out how to capture that smell in my Scentsy all year long. Maybe if I just put a tablespoon of jelly in the burner...

Oct 26, 2015

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Crafty and her cute friends from school have been working on this video for a couple of weeks for their English class. They were assigned to come up with an alternate ending to one of our favorite fairy tales. They did a great job making it Halloween-appropriate.

Crafty is a pretty good actor and she has the naturally blonde hair, so her part was secure from the very first "once upon a time..."


Trunk or Treat

I really should be having one of the kids write this post about Saturday's fun and spooky activities. I have to confess that I wasn't even there! The first one began in the morning while we were at the Recognition of Excellence for Prima Donna and Princess. Actually it probably started a couple of weeks ago when we went down to American Fork to see Inside Out at the free theater.

Drama Queen got it in her head that for Halloween we could dress all the kids up as the various characters from the movie. She started with Teach and she made an amazing Joy dress. Teach bought a blue wig and everything. She looks amazing! Then Baby Doll became Sadness and finally, Dog Walker became Bing Bong. (If you haven't seen the movie, none of that will make sense to you. Just realize that the Dog Walker has a costume that looks ridiculous...:).

So Saturday morning was the city costume contest. Drama Queen stayed up late finishing costumes and it was definitely worth her time. Crafty won first place as Disney's Rapunzel and the Dog Walker came in second for his Bing Bong costume. That was a cool $75 in Target gift cards for them to spend (or give to Drama Queen for her time and talents).

Then later in the day, they all decided (including Bossy's family) to go to the Trunk or Treat in Draper. I didn't go there either. I wanted to have a nice quiet date with my sweetie. They came home with a boatload of candy for their efforts and I guess they had tons of fun looking at the nice cars and the motorcycles. Apparently this was put on by a bike gang...

Or maybe I'm telling this story wrong. Feel free to correct me, Bossy.

It was a terrific start to a fun Halloween week!

(And Drama Queen is madly sewing a Disgust costume for herself.)

Oct 25, 2015

Recognition of Excellence

 Today was a special day. We have been waiting for it for over a year; since Prima Donna finished her Gold Award project. Today was the Recognition of Excellence ceremony at the Salt Lake Marriott.

We arrived at 10:00 am and made our way to the festivities. Prima Donna had to make a trifold and it was on display in the hallway outside the dining room. She stood by it and answered questions and told people about her project until it was time to go in for the luncheon.

Princess and Daylen were also with us. She was getting recognized for the Cornelia Benton Scholarship she was given a few months ago. Lunch was a fun and happy thing and then it was time for the awards. Princess was called up first and she was presented with a certificate. There were 3 of the 6 scholarships awardees in attendance and 2 of them were from my troop!

Prima Donna gave a speech about her project and the last part of the ceremony was these 19 girls receiving their Gold Awards. They were each presented with a beautiful gold pin and a bouquet of flowers. I was so proud of both of them. Years and years of hard work finally paid off.

Oct 23, 2015

Off Track Time

My kids went off track on October 9 and they don't go back to school until November 10. That's a long time! I like to do fun things with them while they are out. They would probably prefer to watch TV and play video games all day, but that is just not my style. I like Scout stuff and field trips. This week we did some of both.
I need a haircut!

Today Curly and I had the morning together while the girls were at preschool. If you remember, Scout is working there during her off track time. We looked through his Soaring Leader book and found a project where he could build a model out of Legos. He promptly ran upstairs and proceeded to build this awesome little boat. He loves Legos, so it was pretty easy to get him excited about it.

Me too!
Then we picked up Baby Doll and Scout from the preschool. We had lunches all packed and Curly and I planned a scout activity where we talked about each food choice and which ones were good and which ones weren't so good. Then we ate as we drove out to Herriman for free haircuts at SuperCuts. I had mine cut a couple of weeks ago, so I didn't need one, but all three of them were pretty overgrown. They love getting in the chair and having someone fuss over them.

Yesterday we looked through the Tiger scout book again and found an activity where Curly needed to build a bird house. Fortunately, I have a box with miscellaneous Lowe's and Home Depot kits from the kids classes. We only found one bird house, but that was enough. I let Scout and Baby Doll each choose kits to build as well. We had fun hammering and gluing for an hour.

There is always plenty to do when the older kids get home, dance, football, volleyball, rehearsal...

Sometimes I wonder about keeping the kids too busy, but I love teaching them what I know. And honestly, I don't know much about video games but unless you ask me to build a fire or tie a knot, I'm a pretty good scout.

Results Are In

We have finally finished the first round of Reflections and the kids have scored an impressive number of wins. I'll just list them for you. I am hoping Bossy will get on and put her boys down too, because I know they had wins as well.

Prima Donna
Award of Excellence in Literature, Music, Dance, and Film
Award of Merit in Photography

Award of Excellence in Literature, Music, Dance, Film, Photography, and 3D Art
(That's every category... I told you she was creative!)

Award of Excellence in Music, Dance, Film, and Photography

Award of Excellence in Dance

Award of Excellence in Film and Music.

Award of Excellence in Music and Dance

I am so proud of them for all of their hard work! Great job!

Oct 21, 2015

Love My Blogging World

Remember a few days ago when I whined about needing a change? I'm not typically a whiner, so I'm a little worried that I offended some people. My numbers have been way down since that day. It's interesting that people mostly want to read happy and upbeat stuff. It's OK, I feel the same way. I come to the blogging world to lift my spirits and I generally come away feeling better.

So let me share with you this little story about Baby Doll and Drama Queen.

As told by Drama Queen:

Drama Queen, you are beautiful!
"Last night while getting ready for bed, I found a baby dress mixed in with the stuffed animals and I waxed poetic for a minute about how I wanted a baby. Baby Doll, who is very concerned about the possibility of me moving out (ever), briefly panicked:

Baby Doll: "But you would have to get married and - *sharp inhale*

(I prep for tears as she realizes what that would mean.)

Baby Doll: *unexpectedly sighs with relief* "But no boys like you."

Then she patted my hand and danced off to put on her pjs.

...and I am left with no comeback at all. Out of the mouth of babes, indeed..."

Oct 20, 2015

The Right Way To Get a Shot

Top of the Ferris wheel
Sport hates shots more than anything! If you remember right, he is allergic to flu shots, so every time the other kids are toughing them out, he is lounging in the corner just waiting to go out for ice cream. But not too long ago, he had to have some shots for 7th grade. Some of them are mandatory, but others are just a "good idea."

I decided he needed one that was a "good idea." I didn't realize at the time that he would also have to have that same shot a couple more times before we were through. I quietly made an appointment for him and wrote it on the calendar in code so he wouldn't know what it meant.

I guess you could say I tricked him.

Think we might win one? We filled out the entry. :)
He had a card from Scheel's that he got for his birthday and he had been anxious to spend it. Trouble with that is we typically have no time, but I made sure we would have time after his trip to the doctor's office. When he got home from school, I had him gather his wallet and get in the car. He was suspicious, and even more so when I turned the wrong direction, but as soon as the car was going fast enough I knew he wouldn't try to run for it, I told him about the shot.

He was pretty upset at first, but then he squared his shoulders and (mostly) took it like a man. True to my word, I ran him through the McDonald's drive up for a free ice cream cone (had a coupon) and then up to Scheel's. We had to sample the fudge, of course, and I had two tokens for the Ferris wheel left in my purse. We were the only riders and I stole a selfie for you on top even though the girl told me I had to leave my phone in my pocket.

He used his gift card to add to his NFL Lego set and then we drove home. After that hour alone together, he wasn't terribly mad at me anymore. If fact, he said his leg didn't even hurt.

Think I should tell him he still has to have one more shot in 4 months?

Oct 19, 2015

He Did It!

The Beast has been going to school for a long time.

He told me about 18 months ago that he would be graduating soon. Then something Beautiful came along and his interest in school slowed a bit. He still dabbled in his education, but courtship and marriage were much more important. Besides, he had been promoted at the bank and his future was looking pretty grand even without the degree.

I'm not sure if I had anything to do with it, but maybe my constant questioning helped a little. So last week he asked me to read through and edit his Capstone project. It didn't really dawn on me at the time that this was it... the big moment.
They are both posing in the same gown.

Then I got an email from him with the subject line, "Passed!!"

I was so excited! He had finally completed his BS in Business Management from Western Governors' University! Of course we had to have a party. We got the family together on Sunday for all of The Beast's favorites; scones, mashed potatoes, prime rib, and lemon bars. And a big bowl of fruit for Beauty.

The kids spent hours making decorations and transforming the living room into Party Central, including a huge banner and tons of colored confetti.

We met early so we could take some pictures. When the Dog Walker went through Commencement in the spring, The Beast agreed that when he finally completed his degree he would wear the cap and gown for me. When he graduated from SLCC with his AS degree, he didn't want to go through the ceremony, so there aren't any pics and I didn't want that to happen again.

As you can see, he gladly posed by himself and with his beautiful wife.

Such a great day.

Oct 18, 2015

Fall Break

We've had a busy weekend so far, but not quite as crazy as some weekends. It's been nice having the kids home from school. On Thursday I took the kids in for flu shots. My sweetie already had his at work. It turned out that they were out of the shots, but most of the kids opted for flu mist. Baby Doll and Curly have asthma, so they can't have the mist. I waited with them, so we will have our real shots next week. Then we all went to Menchies and used the Dog Walker's gift card and our free library coupons. It still cost me $10, but not bad for 8 people and frozen yogurt.

Thursday night was volleyball and football practices. Dance took the weekend off, but football rests for no man. Princess and Crafty made cupcakes for their friend birthday party they had on Friday. Princess has started a new job at Smith's. She will be working in the deli, so she has been training all week and then her real schedule starts next week. It will be tricky working her hours in around school, but I'm sure she will manage.

The birthday party was a bit smaller than the girls had hoped, but lots of fun. That's what happens when you pick a holiday weekend. We did a fire pit and roasted hot dogs, then the girls watched Cinderella. Sport still had football practice and we picked 6 buckets of tomatoes and the beans so you can guess what the rest of my weekend looked like.

On Saturday Princess was helping with the Distinguished Young Women pageant and Crafty was volunteering at the SoJo Marathon. Drama Queen has been gone all weekend having a party with some friends and Teach was working on her MA thesis. We also had two football games. Curly's was first and we prepared for bad weather and ended up sweating in the sun. Their game ended in an awesome win with Curly making 11 tackles. It was just before noon and we had to hoof it back across the valley to get to Sport's game. I changed into shorts, anticipating more sun, but I was wrong. I was glad my jacket was still in the car as we sat through a warm drizzle the entire game. His team also came through victorious and Sport did a great job in his new position as guard.

My amazing canner holds 14 quarts!
As we drove home from the games, I lamented to my sweetie about all my canning to do and he suggested that I have a nap first. That's one of the many reasons why I love this man! I felt so much better after a couple of hours of shut-eye. He made dinner while I started on the tomatoes. We decided to stew them rather than make sauce. I worked late into the night, but ended up with 28 quarts and 10 half-gallons for chili. Bossy and Fajita helped get them in the jars, but then their family headed home.

I love the family togetherness of canning days, but it is definitely hard work. My back is aching this morning. We have another party tonight that I will tell you about tomorrow. Most excitedly good news!

Oct 17, 2015

Guest Blog: Coco by Princess


 I found this saved on the computer. It was created October 1, 2010...

               “Grandpa, I am bored,” said Tom.
                   “I’ll tell you a story, Little Bunny Fofo. Sorry here is the story. I am Coco. I live in the New York.”
                             “Woof woof Coco come get your food,” said Coco’s mom.
                   “A yummy banana peel with mold mmm. Please pass the fish.
          “Mom, I have a new box to sleep in,” said Coco. I ran into the box. It wasn’t a box, it was a cage! Then some people carried me to a place I had never been before. It was a pet store. They put me in a glass jar that wasn’t broken.
          “Mommy” I groaned.
          “Mommy, come find me.” No one came. I stayed in there. I cried and cried.
          “Jena, Penny, Jeffrey,” I sobbed. I had just woken up to the sound of barking. I flipped around but no one was there.
          “Grandpa, can you finish the song the story is boring,” Tom complained. 
          “Tom, it’s not nice to interrupt when someone is talking. Now where was I?”
          “You flipped over and no one was there,” Tom answered.
          “Tom don’t interrupt?”
          “Grandpa, why in the story are you a dog?”
          “Don’t you have manners?” Grandpa asked, “I am going for a lunch break!”

I think I had talent at a young age... The weird part is I must have been like 13? That just doesn't seem accurate to me but who knows.

Oct 16, 2015

Winds of Change

I'm feeling the winds of change.

I don't know what that means exactly, but I'm just kind of tired of the same old, same old. I had my hair colored this week in an effort to change things. I had them put a blue Bingham streak down the left side to support the boys teams and just for different.

Do you ever feel like you do the same things over and over and over and nothing ever changes? Even the seasons seem so much the same lately. I would love some suggestions of something we could do that we haven't done before. Come on, some of you long-time readers have some suggestions, I know.

How can I get out of my little slump?

Oct 15, 2015

Beadie Jack-o-Lanterns

One of my favorite websites is www.makingfriends.com for things like scouts and Activity Days. Yesterday I had to plan a fun Halloween craft for my cute Activity Days girls and with only an hour and 15 minutes to accomplish something, it couldn't be too complicated or too expensive.

I was a little brain dead on this issue until I remembered that I had leftover pony beads from a couple of years ago when we made necklaces for pack meeting. I started looking for patterns and the first thing that popped up was this cute pumpkin key chain.

We made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get more key chains and I finally had a plan in place. The girls had so much fun making them! In fact, Baby Doll and Scout were making more today, but they prefer them in purple rather than in the traditional orange.

I also had tons of help from my older girls in the preparation and at the meeting. It is so nice to have extra adult hands. Drama Queen enjoyed singeing the ends of the cords a little too much...