May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Monday

Watching them set up the field.
Our party weekend started early this morning when my sweetie took the boys out and they put up flags for all the neighbors. It's a fundraiser done by the scouts to help earn money for camp and awards. He did a little garden work and by 10:45, we were headed off for the Bees game.

I love Mondays because they sell tickets including a hot dog for $5 each! You have to buy at least 4, but it is such a fun way to get our family into a game for a reasonable price. We had lots of fun even though the Bees lost 8 - 3. We even got there early enough to see them setting up the field. I've never been to an afternoon game before and the sun was pretty hot until our seats got shady.

After the game we drove to KFC and fed everyone before stopping at the cemetery in West Valley. My sweetie has an older half brother buried there. He was killed on his mission before my sweetie was born. I read a baseball book out loud to the kids while we were driving and it was totally silent in my van. No, really; I'm not kidding. I love reading to the kids.

As a final moment of revelry, we took the kids to the Pass of All Passes movie theater and we saw Miracles From Heaven. It was a little sad, but one of those feel-good movies that helps us remember the importance of faith. My sweetie recalled that we had not actually eaten dinner, so we stopped at the In-N-Out and used our free burger coupons from the library. We fed 10 of us for less than $10.

Getting tired.
I finished up the last of the book for the kids and even though they were a little disappointed with the ending, it was a good read. My older kids are finished with school this week and Prima Donna graduates from Bingham on Thursday. It was so nice to pause and just make this weekend all about family.

But I said that yesterday, didn't I?

May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Sunday

Prima Donna and her good friend, Izzy
I'm loving this Memorial Day Weekend.

Usually we are so crazy busy with things that we hardly have time to breathe, let alone play games. I know, a Sunday without a birthday party is rare for us, especially this time of year, but Prima Donna graduated from Seminary today, so we were at the church until about 6:30. That would have made it difficult to prepare food and a celebration, so we just kept the evening pretty quiet.

My sweetie and I have been planning a trip for next month (Teach and Twiz are having a New Jersey Wedding Celebration), so after an hour or so on the computer, I was ready for a change of venue. Curly came in all upset because there wasn't room for him at the game the bigger kids were playing. I handed him my brand new deck of UNO cards and suggested he try to set up another game.

He came back a few minutes later, rather dejected that no one seemed interested, so I headed for the family room. We rounded up Baby Doll and Crafty joined us and soon we four were playing a rousing game of UNO. As we got ready to start our second hand, I invited my sweetie to join us.

We were having so much fun! Then Curly gave Baby Doll a Wild Draw 4 card and she dramatically sunk her face into her handful of cards and moaned, "My life is torture!"

What 5-year-old knows that word? And if they do, can they use it properly in a sentence?

She eventually came back to win the game with my sweetie sliding in at a miserable last place.

I think he needs to work on his Spanish.

May 29, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Today was a beautiful day! We got up early and headed to Ephraim for the Scandinavian Festival and parade. We were running a little late, but we parked and made ourselves a spot with 7 minutes to spare. The kids love this parade because they throw tons of free things as well as the proverbial tootsie rolls and salt water taffy.

They were not disappointed.

We left town right after that and headed for the Axtell Cemetery. It was 10:30 and we had until 1:00 before we were meeting with my family. Every year my little brother plans a get-together for Memorial Day and this year it was a focus on my mom. She has been gone for 10 years next month. Hard to believe it has been so long.

I love the Axtell Cemetery. It is covered with gravel and rarely does it get any bigger. My grandma's brothers and sister are buried there right by their parents. After Axtell we drove into Centerfield and visited that cemetery as well. That is where Grandma Benson is buried and she is the one who taught me to make quilts, but if you've been with me for a while, you remember her.

We piled back into the van and drove to Gunnison where we let the kids run off some energy and we had lunch at the park. We were enjoying it so much we almost stayed too long and we were a few minutes late for my Little Bro's presentation about my mom at the cemetery in Ephraim.

We all gathered around her grave, 6 of her 8 children with spouses and grandchildren, and it was so fun to share memories. When the rain started to fall, we all took off for Grandpa's house, although by the time we got there (5 minutes later) the rain was gone. We took pics and visited a little while longer before we again rounded up the kids and headed for Mt. Pleasant.

We made a quick stop in Spring City to place flowers on the graves there and then we drove to Terrel's for some of our favorite donuts and fresh-baked bread. At Grandma's house, we were pleasantly surprised to find Uncle Brooks and his family in from California. We let them grill Princess's new guy and then Jay played the organ for us. It was an old pump organ and quite impressive.

We visited for a while longer and then we were off to the Mt. Pleasant cemetery. After placing still more flowers on grandparents and my sweetie's dad, we loaded up and drove to Nephi.

Grandpa's parents are buried there. Princess and Jay left us then and they headed for Santaquin which is where he is from. We drove to Lindon, hoping to place flowers on our little niece who passed away about 11 years ago. She would have been the same age as Taco.

We got lost and ended up at the totally wrong cemetery, but a nice guy in sunglasses pointed out our error and sent us down the street to the Lindon cemetery. Then we couldn't find the grave and there was not a directory, so we just wandered around until Crafty finally got us all in the right direction.

We stopped for ice cream and the Play Place at the nearest Arctic Circle. It was quiet and the kids had a great time running up and down the slide.

One last drive to home and we were finished. There are only two flowers left, and they can both be delivered to a West Valley cemetery tomorrow. I love taking the opportunity to remember those we love, particularly when we know them well enough to share stories with our kids and grandkids.

It seems to pull our family together, and what could be more important than that?

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

May 28, 2016

Guest Blog: "All Your Awards Now Belong To Us" by Drama Queen

Attention all humanoids of the cyberverse.  This transmission is to alert you to the following new protocols, as of Stardate 69870.7.  The following shall now be observed by all sentient humanoid, cyborg, and droid entities.  

Protocol 57432.A:  Earth-based human 307265, known in the Bloggersphere as "Crafty" shall henceforth be recognized for her wit and valor.  She has obtained a 4.0 GPA for all three Earth years in which she attended Junior Flight Academy. Subsequently, she also was reported to be of an exemplary citizen for those same three years. All Earthlings acknowledge Human 307265's success.

Protocol 57432.B:  Earth-based human 307265, known in the Bloggersphere as "Crafty" shall henceforth be recognized as an enterprising citizen of the Multiverse for boldly going where no other teenager had gone before. Crafty did obtain, on Stardate 69867.9 the conclusive distinction of "Spirit of SoJo."  This fledgling program required dedication in the arts of academics as well as social benevolence. All Earthlings acknowledge Human 307265's success.

Protocol 57433.A:  Earth-based human 24601911, known in the Bloggersphere as "Prima Donna" shall henceforth be recognized as the "Senior Thespian of the Year."  She has been so nominated by her commanding officers for this great honor.  Prima Donna was likewise praised for her astronomical script analysis and lengthy dramatic acts. She is now "The Favorite."  All Earthlings acknowledge Human 24601911's success.

These are the new protocols.  The United Federal Council bids you a pleasant day.   

-End Transmission-

May 27, 2016

Executive Council

Crafty has been a member of the South Jordan Youth City Council this year and even though she has had some conflicts with the meetings because of her dance classes, she still managed to earn a Bronze Certificate Service/Meeting Record. She was also chosen to be a member of the new Executive Council for 2016 - 2017.

Youth City Council takes multiple meetings a month and is a big commitment if you remember from Princess being the Deputy Mayor. The Executive Council is the second step before Crafty can run for Mayor, so it really is a big deal.

I'm hoping it will help a little with her shyness. She still has a difficult time approaching people and making phone calls although it's a lot easier now that she has her own smartphone (at least that's what she told me...).

Congrats, Crafty! You are an amazing girl.

May 26, 2016

Reconnecting with Old Friends

When I was a kid, I had two best friends. They were twins and even though they were a year older than me in school, we were very close. Both girls were tall and we played basketball together on the high school team. They were both much better than me, of course, and they continued to play even after I turned my sights to bigger and more important things.

I loved their family. They had 12 kids and two sets of twins, my friends being older and their twin brothers being the babies of the family. At the time, I never really thought about the fact that maybe somewhere in my heart of hearts, I wanted to be just like them.

Their parents were very conservative, but also very kind and loving. My family always seemed to be so volatile, yet their family rarely yelled and they clearly got along when working or playing, and it sure seemed like they did a lot of working!

I haven't heard much from them since I turned 18, got married, and left my hometown, that is until this week. Their older brother passed away suddenly and he was only 53. I remember having a crush on this guy as a silly impressionable little girl. Like his dad, he was kind and patient, even with the obnoxious little neighbor girl. He played basketball too, which gave us all something in common.

I don't know about you guys, but I find myself dwelling on the past when something like this interrupts my normally crazy world. And this situation is so much more difficult for me because not only do I remember what we did as children, I grieve for his sweet parents, both still living and at or near their 90s.

Having 12 amazing children myself, I can't imagine the heartache of losing one of them. Even knowing that families are eternal, that separation...I just don't know if I could bear it.

And I think of his poor wife, waking up to find her husband gone, just like that. Her world must be upside down and backwards. Please everyone, pray for the Squire Family. I believe in the power of prayer and the comforting warmth it can bring to those in need.

And if you have time, slip in a little one for me too...

May 25, 2016

It's a Competition!

Scout and Curly are participating in the Jump A Thon at school next Tuesday. It's actually a pretty cool program designed to raise money for the American Heart Association. My kids are not generally jump-ropers unless this time of year rolls around and then that is more important to them than any other school assignment.

They each take their ropes to school in their backpacks and they practice (at least Scout does) all the way home. I always loved playing ball as a kid (any kind of ball), but jump rope was also one of my favorites. I was much better jumping with the long rope while someone turned it. Remember RED... HOT... PEPPERS? That's when the turners will whip the rope around as fast as they could and if you didn't jump it in time you often got rope burns on your bare legs from the scratchy rope. At least my kids have plastic ropes that are pretty harmless.
So this year Curly and Scout decided to have a competition to see who could raise the most money. I started out each of them with their own website and a $10 donation, and beyond that, they have managed to convince a few of their brothers and sisters to donate, but that's it. Scout even convinced Curly to donate $5 to her so she is currently in the lead!

They were hoping that maybe if I posted their websites some of you might be interested. Don't feel any pressure, but it is a great organization and your donation would be tax-deductible.

To support Scout, click here.

To support Curly, click here.

May 24, 2016

A New Aquarium

Did you know that there is a new aquarium opening in Utah? My kids love aquariums! When we made our big trip back east and we asked everyone what kinds of things they wanted to see, the number one answer was a good aquarium. So when Family Guide approached me about trying out the new SeaQuest Aquarium in Layton, of course we were on board.

They even have Mermaids!
They tell me that SeaQuest is different because it is an interactive aquarium and the exhibits are full of fun family-friendly activities. It will be located in Layton Hills Mall and besides sea life, there will be rainforest reptiles, tropical birds and even desert species.

They are kicking things off this Saturday, May 28th, with a meet and greet of  the cast from the Little Mermaid from The Ziegfeld Theater in Utah for those who purchase an annual pass.

You can visit their website and get the latest scoop at SeaQuest

If you want to buy an annual pass for your family, I can get you a 10% pre-construction discount. Your pass is good for an entire year from the time you first visit. Just use the coupon code "kidsrule"

Click here for the coupon.

We are all so excited for this one! If you see any of us wandering around in our cute blog shirts, stop by and say hello. I have to tell you that for the first time today someone recognized me from the TV spot I did a while back. He thought I was a little bit "famous." Shhhh, don't tell Dog Walker.

May 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, Bean Dip!

May and June are full of birthdays for us. Bean Dip turns 14 on Tuesday, but we always have to celebrate for him on the weekend since he lives with his mom across the valley most of the time. We had all the kids here and Grandpa also joined us.

My sweetie made rolls and BBQ chicken and Drama Queen and I were really adventurous with the cake. OK, mostly it was her. I just made a white cake and then she made a caramel frosting and extra caramel for drizzling. I was a bit skeptical since I'm not a real caramel fan, but the cake was delicious!

Bean Dip thought it would be fun to clap the candles out rather than blow them, but when that didn't work, he easily doused them with one breath. We got talking about how long Bean Dip has been in our lives and Bossy reminded me that the first birthday he celebrated with us was in 2009 when he would have been 7 years old, the same age as Curly.

It has been so fun to have him with us. He and Sport are best of friends, in fact, they had a sleepover last night in celebration of the birthday weekend. Bean Dip also plays baseball although we haven't been able to see any of his games this year. I heard he is even pitching! He also enjoys basketball and fishing, camping and video games.

May 22, 2016

Moms and Muffins

Curly is right in the middle in the light blue shirt.
Remember way back in the fall when my sweetie got to join Curly for Dads and Donuts? Well, yesterday was Moms and Muffins.

Curly was so excited, he wore his blue 5K shirt and asked me to wear mine so we could be twins. He also had no patience with Scout and her late start ideas; he wanted to be on time!

I took Curly and Scout to school and then I waited in line with the 2nd graders until the bell rang and we were ushered into the building. Nearly every child in line had an adult with them, so it took a while for us all to get situated. At least one other class was also celebrating, so it was pretty crowded.

Curly got me a folding chair off the rack and placed it near his desk. It seemed that all the moms and grandmas were doing the same thing. Then he served me (and him, of course) a poppy seed muffin. They were delicious! He drank both of our chocolate milks and first he read this cute book he wrote to me and then I read to him for a few minutes before the kids presented a little story.

Each child had memorized a paragraph of the story and they passed a microphone along the line as the projector shined the pictures on the screen. Curly did a great job with his lines! Then they presented us with a little homemade box full of kisses.

It was fun and sweet and so nice to spend a few minutes with just Curly.

And 25 other kids and their moms...

May 21, 2016

A Trip to the Zoo

We had an errand to run downtown today, so we decided to make a quick trip to the zoo with anybody who wanted to come. Taco and Burrito are off track, so Bossy brought them and Chips. Princess had the day off from work (if you remember, she was originally supposed to get married tomorrow) so she went along with me and Baby Doll.

We had so much fun and the weather was beautiful!

They have three lion cubs that were so cute.

We also got a closeup with the giraffe because the staff was feeding them by hand.

I sometimes wish I had more time to just take off for the zoo and spend the day with my little ones.

I'm glad today was that day.

May 20, 2016

Guest Blog: My New Favorite Tongs by Sweetie

We have been excited to try out the Cave Tools Three Piece BBQ set, but we have been waiting for good weather which can take a while in Utah.

The first time I used the tools was on the fish tacos, and I only used the tongs and the spatula. They seemed OK, but I was in such a rush, I didn’t really take time to critique them. I had the fork out there as well, but honestly the fork and the fish were not a good match. Although I didn’t have time to notice anything special, I also didn’t think “Yuck, I hate these tongs,” which is honestly what I think with about 75% of the tongs I pick up. To say I’m fussy about tongs may be an understatement. I didn’t even notice they weren’t my normal favorite.
The second try was at the Fathers and Sons campout. We were cooking a bunch of eggs and hash browns on a huge flattop grill. The spatula did a great job. I also used it as a spoon to stir a Dutch oven of chile verde (best breakfast burrito there is... eggs, hash browns, beans, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla and smothered with chile verde and cheese. Don’t forget to top it with sour cream, fresh onions, green peppers and tomatoes...). Anyway the spatula was very good on a flattop.

The third try was the next day for our graduation party. I was doing 30 lbs of boneless, skinless BBQ chicken breasts. My kids and most everyone else loves my BBQ chicken. I marinate it in a combination of spices, soy sauce and sugared Mt Dew. Then I grill the breasts and cut them into bite-sized pieces while adding a little extra Sweet Baby Ray’s. 

I normally take a steak knife out and cut the chicken as I go. That’s when I noticed a serrated edge on the spatula, so I tried it and it cut through the chicken quite nicely. Usually features like this are just gimmicks, but the Cave Tool guys seem to do it up right. Another useful feature was when I was using the spatula to stir the chile verde, I rested the spatula on the Dutch oven by using the small flame cutout. It slide under the handle of the Dutch oven and stayed put until I needed it again.
Tonight we decided to put all three tools to work before we gave our final opinion, ok, really we needed a picture of the fork in action, but I figured it was a great excuse for steak. Flat irons were on sale, and they were perfect for trying out the fork. It worked great! I especially like the way it feels in my hand. But it was those tongs I really learned to appreciate. The tongs easily handled the flatirons which were a pretty big piece of meat to be moving around with tongs. I especially liked the way the fingers on the one side gave some extra grip and kept things from sliding around.

Overall, it’s a nice set, and I have a new favorite pair of tongs. 

With Fathers’ Day just around the corner, I highly recommend you order a few sets of these for the fathers in your life. But make sure you use this coupon code at Amazon FWOBWJHP, to save yourself 15%.

Or you can always order directly from the Cave Tools website.

***We were given a free 3 pc BBQ Set  for our open and honest review of the product.***

May 19, 2016

Another Graduation Day!

Guess who graduated from preschool? Again!

My Baby Doll is so smart, she just graduated from preschool a second time and now she is looking forward to Kindergarten in the fall. Drama Queen and I tried to be 10 minutes early so we could get a good seat and it turned out that 7 minutes early isn't enough; we were on the third row.

These little ones are so short, they are hard to see over the tops of several heads, but we managed to snap a few pics for you. Baby Doll had a little solo this year in Down By The Bay and she also got to recite Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary all by herself. She did a great job!

While handing out the memory books, she made Teacher Debbie cry. It really is the end of an era. Princess, Prima Donna, Crafty, Sport, Scout, Curly, and of course, Baby Doll have all attended and loved her preschool. After we shared snacks, we drove back home slowly. I thought about taking her out to lunch to celebrate, but all I really wanted to do was hold her tight and beg her to stop growing up so fast.

Although yesterday she crawled up in bed between my sweetie and me and pretended to be a "goo-goo, gaa-gaa" baby long enough that we both got a little irritated. I guess most things happen just exactly when they are supposed to...either that or I'm running way short on patience these days.

May 18, 2016

Prima Donna's Choir Concert

I just read my post from yesterday and was totally embarrassed by all the typos. So sorry, I was incredibly tired last night, and I kept nodding off every time I read through to proofread it (hope you don't do that when you read it...), that I finally posted it and went to bed.

That was probably a bad idea.
Prima Donna is on the back row, second from the right.

Last night was pretty crazy. I went to Baby Doll's baseball game and then dropped Scout at dance on my way to Prima Donna's Choir Concert. My sweetie drove directly from work and met me there. Can I just say that I much prefer choir concerts to band concerts?

I hesitate to tell you that I fell asleep through the entire set of numbers done by the Madrigals this year which is kind of amazing because usually their stuff is so fun and light-hearted, but it wasn't this time. Prima Donna is in the A Capella choir and she has really loved learning how to sing even better than she did before. It's funny, she has always been a soprano, but her teacher put her in as a 2nd Alto and it has expanded her range so much!

My favorite number was the Bohemian Rhapsody, yeah, that one, by Queen. They even had a couple of faculty members who stepped up and played the drums and guitar. So much fun! I love it when the kids think teachers and administration are cool.

The girls also did a number dedicated to Aretha Franklin, and then for the final number they brought all of the choirs on stage (I tried to sort of count and I guesstimated about150 kids) and they sang a version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight from the Lion King that was arranged by one of the students. The song was done without the piano and it was beautiful.

I'm always amazed at the level of talent we see in the kids today. It's a huge step up from the Chamber Choir we thought was so awesome when I was in high school.