Sep 30, 2017

Happy Birthday, Crafty!

Thursday, September 28th was Crafty's birthday. I can't believe she is already 17 years old! It seems like just yesterday she was following Princess and Prima Donna around, trying to be just like them. Now she is nearly her own woman; I say nearly because for one more year I can keep her my little girl.

She had a big party with a bunch of her friends today. They made mini pizzas and munched cupcakes. Several of the girls confessed to me that they had never rolled out dough or put together a homemade pizza. Judging by the amount of noise, I'm pretty sure they all had a great time. Crafty was an amazing host during the party. I love that she didn't have a problem with her younger brothers and sisters joining in. We were able to sit in the office and watch the Bingham football game streaming on my sweetie's computer. (They won, of course.)

The last girl left about 11:15 and I'm so tired. Tomorrow is General Conference for the LDS church and we are going to watch as much as we possibly can around our 3 football games and then we will catch up on the morning session when we can later in the evening.

Happy birthday my tired little girl. I hope you sleep well. Love you.

Sep 29, 2017

Another Busy Day

It's been another busy day! Although first things first, Baby Doll really wanted me to share this fun picture with you. Yesterday, at Parent Teacher Conferences, Baby Doll filled in for Crafty while she was dancing. It was pretty boring for her, but she was all excited to take this pic of her walking on the big B outside the gym. That made it all worth it. At least for her.

It seems like I am spending an awfully lot of time at the schools considering the little kids are off track. Today I went to the South Jordan Middle National Jr. Honor Society induction. Sport wasn't being inducted, but he is an officer and it was fun to watch him on the stage during the ceremony.

Then this afternoon I had to take 96 cupcakes and a big bowl of frosting with all the tips and sprinkles over to the high school for the Cupcake Club. I think Crafty was a bit surprised when I dropped them off before school was even over and then I left! She might not want to do it solo, but she has some amazing officers this year and quite frankly, I'm a bit tired of being a Cupcake Club "officer."

And you know what? She did great!

Sep 28, 2017

Another Fun Adventure

Yesterday, before the Pinewood Derby, since the kids are off-track, we decided to join the Dog Walker and the Cat Lover on an adventure. We had originally planned to go to Wheeler Farm, but time got away from us and we ended up making a detour to somewhere a little closer, the Conservation Garden Park in West Jordan.

We have been there many times, but it is different every time. The Cat Lover had never been there before and she loved seeing all the different plants and which ones were native to Utah. Curly was amazing at putting together the irrigation pipe game in just over a minute (I'm going to have to get him to help his dad with our sprinkler problem.)

The kids loved the huge pipes and the echo in the largest one. Scout put her hand in what looked like a bucket of dirt until she realized it was earthworm casings... ewww!

My favorite part was a new addition and we were so excited about it that I didn't take any pictures. It was a gigantic chess set with pieces 3 and 4 feet tall and the kids had to drag them from square to square because they were heavy.

I wish we would have had a little more time. I can't wait to visit again when we can play an entire game of chess! (I'm pretty sure I can still beat Sport.)

Sep 27, 2017

Pinewood Derby 2017

Today was the day of the big race!

Curly was so excited, he was even willing to miss the last half an hour of football practice, and you know how much he loves football. I was still messing around with the stuff for the Arrow of Light award for one of the boys so my sweetie took the car to the church to have it weighed and checked in.

Crafty and I ran to the park and picked up Curly and we made it just as they were saying the opening prayer. Awards were quick and the boys were all excited to head over to the track.

Curly didn't race until the 3rd race. They only put two cars on the track at a time and it was a double elimination tournament. He easily beat his first opponent with at least 18 inches between them by the time they hit the finish line.

His white Utes car continued to dominate every race. In fact, he was never beaten; never had a slow start. When the final race was run, his car was victorious and he was so excited! For a 9-year-old, winning the Pinewood Derby and like taking the checkered flag for one of the pro racers.

And his handmade trophy was pretty amazing too. Great job, Curly (and dad)...

Sep 26, 2017

Can't Wait to Try SCARY Hill!

Remember last summer when we got the free passes to Cherry Hill Resort? It was so much fun watersliding and playing mini golf! I had no idea that they also had a Halloween-themed Scary Hill. And guess who just got an invitation today?

 Awww, you guessed it!

But I am pretty excited. I usually can't afford all those expensive Halloween activities, but I'm guessing that the prices at Cherry Hill are pretty reasonable, just like their waterpark. They run their spooky, scary fun from September 29 - October 30, so you should have plenty of time to plan a getaway with your favorite little zombies...or you can take your kids if you would rather.

Or you can take mine! They are always up for a party...

See you at Cherry Scary Hill!

Sep 24, 2017

Happy 21st Birthday, Princess!

We had a fun family get-together tonight for Princess. It was her real and actual birthday today and she insisted on making us all a delicious pumpkin cake. My sweetie made a pork roast and baked potatoes with a bunch of fresh fruit and salads, mostly from the garden; and my favorite, his homemade french bread.

He bought a ginormous watermelon from the Farmer's Market yesterday; we only used half of it and still had plenty more. The kids had fun playing a card game and visiting. As you can see, Twiz was working on his balancing skills.

Princess in the striped dress
He's pretty awesome! I think he might have been trying to be a layer cake...

Look Ma, no hands!
It's going to be a busy week. I told you the elementary kids are off track, so of course they will want to do some fun things and Dad wants them to do some work projects plus they have their preschool job and we have Twizlet to watch.

Crafty has her 17th birthday on Thursday and a party on Friday. And Fajita is supposed to be getting married on October 7, so I think we will be helping with the planning there. Not much time, so we will keep it pretty simple, but when the day is over, the important thing is not how the cake looked or the number of guests we served; but that these cute kids are married.

Busy Weekend

See what happens when you take a Drama Queen to the store with you??

Seriously though, we had fun!

Today was full of football. Three straight games and it was pretty cold out there. I was bundled up in my lovely heated coat and I felt bad for all those crazy guys who were still wearing shorts. Baby Doll spent the day with Lil Sis and her kids after they spent the night here with us. It was a crazy cousin party and they were all so excited to watch the Descendants movies.

Some of the girls went with me to the General Women's Conference. I know we could watch it on TV, but I love going to the church and seeing it on the big screen with so many beautiful women from my stake and their daughters.

When we got home my sweetie had a yummy dinner ready for us. After stuffing ourselves, Scout and I braved the rain and ran to WalMart to buy her a new pair of piercing studs. She has had so much trouble with her ears during football we decided that until the season is over, she will just wear the studs.

We got back and decided to dive into cleaning up the little girls' messy bedroom. It took us a couple of hours, but it looks so much better! I think we will have to get Curly's cleaned up next. It is much nicer, especially during off-track if they have clean rooms. Maybe I can even get my sweetie to clean carpets. That makes a huge difference.

He has been so busy this week helping Curly with his Pinewood Derby car. The race is on Tuesday. Don't worry, I'll certainly tell you all about it!

Sep 22, 2017

Crazy Life

Life is back up to its typical whirlwind. Last night, Crafty was inducted into the National Honor Society at Bingham High School. I'm so proud of her! She works so hard to get amazing grades and still take care of her club responsibilities.
Crafty on the right.

I finally finished and turned in the Grant Proposal for Nutcracker I have been working on all week. Yay!! So glad it is done.

We took our cub scout den to the Gale Center Museum today. They had so much fun looking around and being led on a tour by one of the oldest and most continuous scouters I know. He did an amazing job with them! So good, in fact, that Sport and I sat down at the checkers table and I proceeded to trounce him. He was a little annoyed.

I'm so glad my elementary-aged kids are going off track tomorrow. It will be nice to have them home to help me with Twizlet for the next 3 weeks. Maybe we can even find time to get their rooms cleaned.

Sep 21, 2017

Who Has a Birthday Coming Up?

It is almost Baby Doll's birthday and you know I am always looking for fun party ideas. When the kids hit middle school, they know they have to plan their own parties, but since she is only turning 7, I guess the planning will be up to me this time.

That's why I was so excited to get an email today from US Family Guide. They are working with a group called Colortime Crafts and Markers.and they offered to let me review one of their products. Of course, I pulled up their website and it looks like they offer all kinds of fun activities for kids for pretty affordable prices.

I'm excited to get a cute bag for Baby Doll to try out and I will let you know if she likes it. In the meantime, you can get one for yourself with a 15% discount. Just use this code.

Sep 20, 2017

Military Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A

I think I've told you before that Grandpa is a veteran from the Korean War. He was never deployed overseas since the war ended soon after he signed up, but he still loves the association with the Army and is proud of serving his country.

So today he and I went to the South Jordan Chick-fil-A to celebrate Military Appreciation Day. They were so sweet to him! He was given an opportunity to enter a raffle and two passes for us for free meals. They handed me a beautiful long-stemmed rose as a thank you for bringing him.

We ordered our food and Grandpa signed the poster and put a pin on his service area on the map. Then we enjoyed chicken sandwiches, fries, and lemonade all for free. The cow came out to visit with us and an employee graciously took a picture.

They were all just so kind and thankful for his service. It was fun to see him be honored. We even had a couple of minutes to visit with Becky Pickle, the store owner. Thank you, Chick-fil-A.

Sep 19, 2017

Guest Blog: "Stay Strong. Reflections is Coming..." by Drama Queen

In the last week or so, the taste of the air has changed.  There's a crispness - a pumpkin-spiciness - that wasn't there before.  The mountains are becoming brushed with gold, and the geese overhead cry out, "Snow's been spotted in the hills!  Snow's been spotted in the hills!"  Amidst this is the pungent scent of adrenaline and stinky football gear, but one thing rises above all the rest....the crinkling of entry forms.

'Tis the season, bloggerworld.  ....Reflections is coming.


For those of you who may not remember, Reflections is the yearly arts competition that the PTA hosts.  There's eight different categories and one overall theme.  Some years, we have had over 50 entries to create, write artists responses for, and submit all by the end of September.  Crazy, right?

Twizlet is a loving fall!

Well, actually, this year might not be that crazy.  Mom is leaving it up to the kids how much they want to participate.  Sport is already clocking out, but the elementary kids are all still excited and invested.  Tonight for family home evening, I showed the kids how to design and make their own scratch art.  If y'all feel inspired by our awesome wip photos, you can try it out too!  First, you need a thick piece of paper.  We cut up a big poster paper for ours.  Then, draw big blocks of color.  Third, paint a few layers of black acrylic paint.  Finally, the next day use toothpicks, butter knives, or (most highly recommended) a plastic fork with two of the tines broken off.  Carefully scratch off the black paint to create a pattern of color on the (newly) black background.

What's with that face, Curly??

We will try to remember to share our finished masterpieces later this week!

I had to make a sample one, of course!

And as a bonus, check out the awesome Halloween wreaths that we made today!  Twizlet helped pick the flowers.  Scout was an awesome glue-gunner, and Baby Doll took over the design for Momma's.  Aren't they cute??

Putting on the flowers!

Good idea to glue them to the stems first..

Baby Doll's Black Cat
Drama Queen's Eyes of the Raven

Sep 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

We had the kids over tonight (except Prima Donna who couldn't come home from school) as well as Lil Sis and her family for a birthday party for Grandpa. He turned 82 on Friday.

My sweetie and Drama Queen had the food ready so we could eat right after church and by 4:45, everyone was here. After a nice Italian dinner of baked pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, and fresh fruit, we shared German chocolate cake and a half dozen flavors of Turkey Hill ice cream.

Grandpa opened his gifts and the guys turned on the Broncos vs. Cowboys football game. Some of the kids played games and others drifted off to their own homes. Crafty was working on a lesson for her preschool class and she set up a fun game and an art lesson for the kids. They had a great time making bubble pictures!

My sweetie is going back to work tomorrow after being off all last week. I need to get my life under control and figure out how to juggle all the balls I already have in the air. Some days I'm just so tired. I'm so grateful for Drama Queen's helping hands.

Sep 16, 2017

Utah State Fair

It's probably been a decade since I have been to the state fair because I don't know what I was thinking when I decided we needed to go on the final Saturday night.

The three youngest kids had earned free passes, drinks, and carnival rides for their summer reading program, and after looking at the calendar, tonight was the only night it could possibly work. So after the football games were over, we got the older ones settled and we headed out.

We got into the line to park at about 5:00 and by 5:40 we finally had our chance to turn into the parking lot. Thankfully, someone was just pulling out so we got an amazing spot. Our first stop beyond the front gate was the restroom and then the Army booth. The kids always love the Army booth because they are so generous. We walked away with free dog tags, beanies, t-shirts, towels, and a couple of phone-powered fans.

None of the other booths were nearly so fun.

We saw some amazing artwork and lots of animals. The kids all earned their State Fair patch for scouts, we rode the spinning barn ride, and as a last bit of excitement, we ordered tator twirls. They are sort of like potato chips, but cut and fried right in front of us.

Baby Doll treated us all to ice cream at the McDonald's on our way home. It was all fun and fast and a bit crazy, just like the rest of our lives.

Sep 15, 2017

Another Funeral

We lost our sweet Calder on September 7, at nearly 11:00 pm. At almost 7:00 the following morning, my dear friend, Astrid Karlsen Scott passed away. It's been a difficult week for us.

Astrid was like a second mother to me and a grandmother for my children. She especially loved Baby Doll since the two of us became Visiting Teaching partners assigned to visit Astrid. If you remember, she went with me to the temple many times and we visited and shared our stories several times a month for the last three years.

Baby Doll is an excellent student and she hates breaking rules, but she was absolutely certain she wanted to miss school today so she could go to the funeral. She even brought two of the tiny porcelain dolls Astrid gave her with us. Crafty made mini cupcakes to be served at the luncheon following the graveside service, so we dropped those off at the church kitchen on our way.

After lots of hugging and and several moments saying our goodbyes beside the casket, we made our way to the chapel. We had to wait for a bit, but soon the family came in and the service began. Baby Doll was a trooper and she listened intently to the 1 1/2 hour funeral.

Astrid was 81 years old and had lived a long and magnificent life. I will miss her and her generous smile.

Little Warrior

Today I had a haircut scheduled at 1:30. It is always nice to go out to SuperCuts by myself. It was quiet with only one stylist in the class. Melissa and I got to visit and fill each other in on our rather crazy lives.

When I was finished, it took me exactly 4 minutes to get to Beauty and The Beast's house. I was so excited to help Beauty give Little Warrior his first bath. He is getting so big! She filled the little tub while I undressed him. He was so wide awake and inquisitive. He has the most expressive eyes that just drink in everything around him.

It took both of us to wash him and balance him in the tub, so I'm sorry you don't get pics from the actual process, but I'm sure you will love this cute pic of him snoozing away.

I left Beauty reluctantly since I had a Cub Scout meeting. Then it was on to volleyball at 7. About 8:30, Beauty called me while I was still on the court. She was so excited! "I can feel my toes!" Even now, 4 weeks after Little Warrior was born, she struggles with feeling from the knee and down in her left leg. This is seriously a great step forward. Hopefully she will be back to normal soon.

She needs to be... her boy is growing up so fast!

Sep 13, 2017

Guest Blog: Having Fun! By Twizlet (and Dog Walker)

Hello, everyone!
My name is Twizlet. You probably remember me from the day I was born to Twiz and Teach.

I've been laying in everybody's arms for months and now look at me. I'm starting to crawl around looking at the world. I just wonder what all these things are that are right by me. Are they supposed to be fun or should I leave them alone?

Anyway, I'm just trying to be a good girl with my grandma and grandpa while my mommy and daddy are gone. I love everyone around me when they play with me and these fun looking things on the floor.

I really think that this family is great and I'm having fun with it. I haven't seen all the  fun things yet, but I bet knocking over this tower will cause a ruckus!

Right now, I just want to ask my mommy and daddy what I can be for Halloween...whatever that is.

Bye bye!

Sep 12, 2017

The Graveside

Dear Calder,

Our family has waited a very long time for you. Your mommy and daddy, your siblings, and all your other family members have prayed many times for a sweet spirit like yours to join our family. Although we were only blessed to have you with us these few precious months, we already love you deeply.

The first time we could feel you move was when Grandma Sandy gave your mom a bite of lemon cake. You always craved lemon treats and homemade bread like Grandma Benson used to make. But the worst craving you gave your mom was always for pizza, especially pretzel pizzas from Sam's Club.

Little Calder, while you lived within your mom's tummy, you made your personality felt. At football games you would dance whenever those around you started to cheer. You could always tell when brother hugged you goodnight. And when your dad would set things on your mom's tummy, you would kick as hard as you could to get it off.

We have all been so excited to meet you. Big brother even painted your mom's toenails pink and blue as we waited to learn your gender. We could already imagine by then your little toes and how cute you would be when playing with your awesome big brothers.

When we learned that we would not get to be with you on this earth, Calder, it was very, very hard for all of us. Our family loves you so much, and we are so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed us to spend a few precious hours holding you. We love your little ears, your long, long fingers, and your legs that go on for days. We cannot wait for the special day when we will see you again, in the flesh, and hug you tightly. Because your mom and dad were sealed in the temple, we know of a surety that you will be a member of our family forever. We love you, Calder. We will miss you, but you will always be in our hearts.

Your Family