Widgets Magazine

Feb 27, 2019

Delivering Cookies

We picked up Girl Scout cookies on Saturday and they have been consuming us. There are always tons of deliveries to make (and thank goodness there are!), but it is difficult to catch people home and so time consuming. I showed up with two cases of cookies at the elementary school at 3:30, right after school was out. Baby Doll and Curly helped me get about half of them delivered. The rest of the teachers are off track so we will have to wait for 3 weeks to get theirs done.

Then we started neighborhood deliveries and we were having such good success that I called Crafty and asked her to pick up Scout from volleyball so we could keep going. We ran back to the house to load up more cookies.

Just after 6:00, we brought Curly home so he could get ready for his dance class and then scouts right after that. Baby Doll didn't even complain when we turned into a neighborhood that wasn't exactly ours. She wants to get them all delivered almost as much as I do.

I brought Baby Doll home for a dinner that Scout cooked and I ran to the studio to pick up Curly and then take him to the church for scouts. It was time to head back to the house and regroup before basketball practice at 9:00.

I should have thought to snap a couple of pics of the kids while we were out and about, but I was too busy calling out and crossing off orders as well as texting people in advance to see if they were home so we could streamline the process. But this one is my living room. It is looking much better after today. Fifteen hundred packages of cookies never looked so good.


Feb 25, 2019

February Birthday Party

We had our second month with combined birthday parties and I didn't hear any grumbling, so I think we managed to pull it off just fine. The menu was easy, Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, fruit with Princess's famous fruit dip and Teach's delicious scrambled eggs. The lighter menu was a hit; they ate pretty much everything!

Seating was tricky since my house is filled with Girl Scout cookies, but we managed to get everyone somewhere that they were at least comfortable. We realized this is the first time we have ever had the cookies and a birthday party at the same time since we usually don't get cookies until after March 1.


This is also the first time in quite a while that we have had all the kids here at the same time, and you know I love having them all together. We didn't do a formal cake since it is a little awkward to put a bunch of names on it, so Crafty made cupcakes and we had ice cream cones.

The highlight of the parties this year has been the family birthday video that Drama Queen has made for us. This time it led to half an hour's worth of other videos on her YouTube channel. Some of them we hadn't seen in a long time. They are mostly Reflections film video entries, but it is so fun to see how the kids have grown over the years.

This is what happens when I let Teach be in charge of the picture-taking...

Even presents were rather chaotic. The Beast opened his at the kitchen table with only a few family members gathered round. Burrito didn't have many to open since he opened everything from his parents on his real birthday, and we paid for him to play basketball again this year so he didn't get anything else from us.


Twizlet was asleep until nearly everyone had already gone home, so she opened her gifts slowly and groggily (and grumpy!) at first. She loved what she was given and was so excited to open each package. I can't believe she is already 2 years old! These grandbabies are growing up so fast!




Feb 23, 2019

Review: Mama's Jewelry Makes Earrings Too

Twizlet and I were so excited to get a small black and red box in the mail this past week. I already knew what it was, but she didn't. Mama's Jewelry was nice enough to let me choose something else on their website to review for you and this time I chose these gorgeous garnet earrings.





Garnet is my birthstone and I have always loved the deep red color. These particular earrings can come in any birthstone and honestly, I wear whichever ones match my clothes, and usually only on Sundays or when I have some other important outing.


My only problem with these earrings was the clasp. It was fancy and different which at first made me a fan, but they also made them difficult to put in the first time. I'm sure after the first couple of times that would be no big deal, but they stumped me a little at first.


Check out their website. They have some amazing pieces for Mother's Day. I strongly recommend the Tree of Life. Your mom will love it! I'm sure the nice people at Mama's Jewelry will still accept their holiday gift code USFAMILYBLOG10.

Tell them Sandy sent you.

That means you too, Twizlet. Your mama would love them!



Feb 21, 2019

Thanksgiving Point's Museum of Natural Curiosity

It's Birthday Week for our cute Twizlet! Can you believe she is 2 years old already? Her mama and daddy took some time off this week to make some memories and today they invited me along. Our destination was Thanksgiving Point's Museum of Natural Curiosity and we had so much fun!!

Love that curious face!
 Teach and Twiz picked me up about 11:30 and we made the short drive in my car. Twiz made it even shorter by volunteering to be the driver (he's a little crazy!) and it wasn't long before we were busy making discoveries.

The harp with no strings made beautiful music.

Twizlet was a little tired and grumpy until we got to the Water Works, but then it was hard to chase her down. Each exhibit was more exciting than the next. She loved the topographical sand and the water table, but her favorite were the giant vacuum tubes.

How strong is an earthquake?
She loves playing in the water!

The Jungle area was her second favorite and the little playground was the perfect size for a 2-year-old. She slid and ran and jumped and played until she had tired out all three of her adults.



We grabbed lunch at Cubby's and made it back home in record time so I didn't miss the haircut appointments for the boys.


Thanks, Twizlet, for letting me share in your birthday week!

Feb 19, 2019

President's Day

Sport's quilt is almost finished.

We spent a good part of our day getting it all tied up so now all he has to do is finish the edges. The knots are at the corners and then in the centers of the numbers. He switched yarn from white to blue on each square so you can hardly see where it is tied. He is so excited to have it done.


We also took the kids swimming for Burrito's 12th birthday celebration. So much fun! What did you do with your President's Day?

Feb 18, 2019

Laugh

On our family room wall we have a family tree and somewhere under that tree is a very important word... Laugh. Now I'm not saying that is our primary function as a family, in fact, we have not always been great at doing it, which is why it felt so important to put a reminder on the wall. Every once in a while, we need time to have a good laugh!



Since it's President's Day weekend, we have had some extra time to spend together as a family. On Saturday we made a trip to Sam's Club to pick up a few groceries and some binders for a project I have been working on. It just so happens that when we counted off, we were at 7 and although my car seats 8, that would leave us almost no room for groceries.

As usual, Sport offered to drive, so my sweetie rode with him and the girls climbed in with me. Unusually indecisive, Curly finally jumped in with the other boys and collectively, we made our way to the store. After wandering around and buying a few things, we stopped at the deli. They didn't have enough free samples for us to call it "lunch," so we bought a whole pizza and sat down to eat.


When we were filled and loaded, we hit the road. The boys were a bit behind us, so we took a nice leisurely pace down the parkway. At a random stoplight, the boys finally caught up with us. They wanted to give us crap for trying to take a selfie while we were waiting for things to turn green. In retaliation, Scout snapped their picture as well.


Sport has been practicing peeling out lately, and this light was no exception. It took me several seconds to realize we were suddenly in a race to see who could make it home more quickly (under the speed limit guidelines, of course). He took the closest lane and sadly, got stuck in traffic while we sailed around and through the outside lane. With huge smiles and a few cheers, we easily beat them home.

By a lot...

In fact, we had all the groceries unloaded and put away before they even pulled into the driveway.

"What took you so long?" I grinned, ready to talk a little smack. "Oh, we stopped at the church and did some donuts in the parking lot for a while," his smile was equally large. That's when I realized the joke was on us. In our rush to get home and show how amazing we were, we played right into their hands.

Next time we load the groceries into the boys' car and we go out for ice cream before we head for home...

Feb 16, 2019

Welcome to BYU!

Crafty was so excited to get an email today from BYU! Some of her friends had already heard from them and she was starting to get a little nervous about her application. I have helped my kids put together many, many scholarship and admissions applications and I have never see one as difficult as the one for BYU.


Another time I will tell you about my adventure with BYU, but so far, Crafty is the only one to even bother to put in an application there. To be fair, she has already received a letter of welcome from Utah State as well as 2 scholarships to help her get settled in Logan, so I don't know what she will choose to do. Those two schools are the only ones in Utah that offer the dietetics major and she would like to become a dietician, so it will likely be whichever one can give her the best offer.

Honestly, I'm just proud of her. She is an amazing girl with so much ahead of her as she gets ready to graduate from high school. Her Sterling Scholar interview is on Tuesday, so scholarship money from that venture will certainly help with her decision as well.

Congrats, Crafty! May all your dreams and wishes come true.

Feb 14, 2019

Sharing Pictures

Today Twizlet and I were coloring in the office when Gamer brought Skittles in to play with us for an hour or two. It wasn't long before he wanted to participate in whatever it was that we were doing, so I grabbed a clean sheet of paper and traced his little hand. Twizlet was pretty excited to make a "turkey" out of her hand as well, so I traced it next. Then, just for fun, I traced my own over the top of them. When I was finished, I held out the paper to Twizlet and asked her to show it to Skittles.

"Show the picture we made to Skittles."

"Yes... show him the picture."

"Look what an awesome job we did, Skittles!"

"It's OK... let him see it."

Oh no!

It looks like Skittles is planning to eat our turkeys.

 ...and it's not even Thanksgiving.

Happy Valentine's Day!!💕

Feb 13, 2019

Gold at Region for Sport


So last week was the Region FCCLA Star Events Competition. Crafty is a pro, of course, at getting all of her things ready and presenting an amazing project. Sport, on the other hand, was brand new and very needy!

The previous week he told his teacher he wanted to compete in the Reduce & Recycle category because he had a great idea about how he could make a quilt out of all of his old football jerseys. This idea has been percolating for a while in his brain, but he hadn't actually done anything about it yet.

Three days before the competition, he decided maybe he better get busy. Two days before the competition, he began cutting the squares from each of his old jerseys and planning the layout of the quilt.



Somewhere I had seen that a display was required, so I made the trip to Walmart to pick up a display board and while I was there, I bought a black piece of fleece for him to use as the quilt back. At that point, he still wasn't worried about anything but putting the quilt together and he diligently sewed each block.

It was about 5:00 pm the day before the competition that I asked him what went on his display board and he had no idea!  Crafty emailed the teacher and she sent back a bunch of requirements, none of which had we planned to do. Suddenly everything was up in the air,. Sport was freaking out, and time was ticking.

Somehow, he managed to get by with a little help from his friends... thanks to Dog Walker for running to the 24-hour Walmart in Riverton at 2:00 AM to buy more rubber cement, and to Crafty for actually figuring out all of the requirements, and to Mom for helping interpret those requirements and assisting in layout of the board...


Sport was running on little sleep and super-nervous about the interview, but it turned out that the judges loved his idea and even took pictures so they could show it to their family members and colleagues. All of this culminated in a Gold at Region. Now all he has to do is finish the quilt and get ready for the State competition in March. Nationals are in Anaheim this year and he and Crafty have already set their sites on taking that trip together. Crafty also has a little work to do to transform her Silver into Gold, but I've no doubt that they will achieve their goals... with a little help from their friends.


Feb 12, 2019

Eggo Waffles for Lunch

It seems like every day we have to eat lunch around here. Skittles is fine with baby food, but that leaves me and Twizlet out, so today we came up with something we all could agree on... waffles!



I had mine with strawberry jam and a little whipped cream. Baby Doll wanted syrup until she saw how I had mine all decked out and then we added jam and cream to her plate as well.


Our sweet Skittles is fine with pretty much anything, so he took his plain (with a little whipped cream on the side). But mostly I just love having these sweet babies here to keep me young, otherwise I might not eat lunch at all.

Feb 11, 2019

Picture in the Newspaper

Not too long ago, Crafty earned the privilege of being named the Family and Consumer Science Sterling Scholar for Bingham High School. In Utah, this is a really big deal. The kids are offered scholarships and a final competition at the state level.



On Friday, the Deseret News ran an entire section that had pics of all the kids from all of the schools in Utah that will be able to compete for top honors. We are so proud of Crafty! Please notice that she is the cute blonde girl right in the middle in the black checked dress.


She will have her interviews over the next couple of weeks and the final announcements of winners will be held in March. Don't worry, I will definitely keep you posted!

Feb 10, 2019

Go GSL!!

Sorry I have been AWOL. As you can see, life has been harder than normal here. Today was not without drama, but I won't go in to any of that... today was also our first chance to support Scout at her volleyball tournament. We missed the one a couple of weeks ago because of basketball, but I'm sure glad we didn't miss this one.


The girls played down in Springville which is about an hour away. My sweetie dropped Scout off early and then visited with Grandma for a bit before returning for the games. I took a different route. Sport drove me down and we stopped at my niece's baby shower on the way before coming in a few minutes late for their second set of pool play games. They were not successful in pool play and we were worried for a minute that they might finish up without a single win today.


With 16 teams in the tournament, they ended up in the fourth group, but they surprised us by winning their first match. We sat during a second match before we could watch them play for the championship of their group. As we watched this other team play, I wasn't sure if the girls would be able to beat them, but when they took the floor, Scout stepped up and became the leader and cheerleader of the team.


She shouted and encouraged the girls and made several amazing hits, but mostly she made them believe they could win and that's because we (and the rest of the crowd) made her believe that they could win. Honestly, it was electrifying and the girls could feel the energy and it helped them beat the Morgan team.


They all received a shiny medal, but I think they received something even more important... confidence. Can't wait for the rest of the season!


Go GSL!!

Feb 9, 2019

Guest Blog: Almost Divorced by the Dog Walker

My mom has asked me to guest blog for all of you, probably because she has been having writer's block lately and/or she's been busy with downsizing her house.

My parents and me and Puppy Lover

I didn't want to talk about the most drastic thing that has ever happened with me and Puppy Lover. Whenever Puppy Lover lived with me at my parents' house in the little apartment, she always felt depressed and homesick from her childhood home. She always missed living with her parents and wasn't quite sure if she really wanted to be committed to being married, just like I always had been. When Puppy Lover and I were first married, it all became a good start of our relationship as husband and wife. She used to make me some meals on the days when I worked and came home during my lunch break to have something to eat. And she always liked to snuggle with me whenever I always had the chance to be with her and have movie nights together.

Image result for twelve makes a dozen wedding
Beauty and The Beast
Puppy Lover and I were always happy being with each other. However, in just a while, when I started heading back to college, she started feeling very lonely and never wanting to hang out with the rest of my family while I'm gone at work or going to class. There were a lot of those times when I got home from work, I see her laying in bed and eating popcorn. I hate to be judgy about a lot of things, but it was just one of those things that I observed.

Image result for twelve makes a dozen wedding
Teach and Twiz

I was always worried about Puppy Lover being depressed and not hanging out with my family. After a little while, she decided to move back to living with her parents until I'm done with school. When I told my parents about it, they weren't happy with that, because they told me that it's really likely of getting a divorce. My parents told Puppy Lover's parents about it and they agreed with them that if Puppy Lover is not really happy being married to me, we would have to file a divorce, unless Puppy Lover and I could work something out. I really didn't want it to happen, because I just know that divorce would be way more difficult than marriage. When Puppy Lover packed up all her stuff and moved away to live with her parents, I was in tears, because it was really devastating to see my own wife giving up already, because she is sad and depressed just because I've been at work and going to school.
Princess and The Frog
Puppy Lover was worried that no matter how much she studied about passing a driver's test, she always ended up with a failed grade, and has concluded that she won't pass it and just stick with not having driving experience for the rest of her life.

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Bossy
Puppy Lover and I almost stopped being married, because maybe she believed that marriage was just too hard and she wanted to give up on it. When my Mom asked me about how I felt with Puppy Lover leaving, I was devastated and she suspiciously asked me of what I said that made Puppy Lover walk out the door and move back to living with her parents. I tried to tell her that Dad made me ask her all those things and I tried to be calm with her about what I was trying to ask and explain. I always had the tendency not to shout or get angry with Puppy Lover, because I know she has a sensitive heart and I always have been very calm with her. But she kept telling me that I shouldn't blame my Dad for all those things, just because he gave me advice to do so and that I was responsible for making Puppy Lover feel bad about herself.

Cat Woman and Batman

It made me realize that it's best for me to understand that Puppy Lover had her turn to live in my parents' household for almost a year, and I felt like it's now my turn to live at her parents' house for a while, just to help me learn how to be more independent with myself, just like Puppy Lover was trying to show some independence. So I decided that it was time for me to move in with her parents so that she understands that I still love her and that she still loves me. We almost thought about splitting up and just becoming friends, but I thought we should still give this marriage one more chance, until something happens. We're hoping that it'll all work out and that someday Puppy Lover and I won't lose each other and not file a divorce. If you can, will you please pray for both me and Puppy Lover so that it can all work out?

Feb 6, 2019

Finishing the Bathroom Project

I know it's been a while since I promised you a pic of my sweetie's latest project, but he was finally able to finish it last weekend. What with new babies and additional projects heaped upon his capable shoulders, it's amazing he finished it as quickly as he did. Besides, take a look at this pic. This is a totally different bathroom!

First he pulled out our old and dicrepid vanity and the broken toilet was discarded long ago. Only 2 things remain from the original bathroom; the shower and the little cupboard that goes above the toilet. He wanted to put in the pedestal, and that required a patch in the tile that looks like we always wanted it that way.


Then, because he found something beautiful he really liked, he tiled halfway up the walls all the way around. He had to reroute the heat vent so that he could get it to work around the vanitty and he changed out the light fixtures and painted everything that wasn't already in tile. \

It was a long, complicated process and I'm glad it is finally over. I'm still sorting stuff from the kids' rooms, trying to decide what needs to be donated and what they truly care about so we can consider that project over.

I've also been doing something similar in the craftroom since before Christmas, but soon I will have the last boxes sorted and I will be ready to declare victory. I've slowly started discarding things in the office even though it wasn't on our remodel list until 2020.

I'm ready for a more organized and less dramatic life.

Feb 4, 2019

Introducing... (drum roll, please)

I finally got the go-ahead from Bossy to share some very exciting news with you! Last week, Cat Woman and Batman had their baby boy and his official blog name is Superman.


He was born via c-section several weeks early because he wasn't growing and Cat Woman had another crazy thing I have never heard of, a calcified placenta. He hadn't gained much in the two weeks before he was born and he came out a tiny 4 lbs 15 oz.


He needed a little help breathing and he swallowed some fluid, so they put him in the NICU and that is where he is right now. There is no specific talk yet as to when he will be home, but we are excited to have a great-grandchild as part of our forever family.

Feb 3, 2019

Scouting Adventures in Science

For Christmas, Princess and The Frog gave each of the younger kids a "Science Kit" full of all kinds of strange and interesting pieces with cards to tell them what to do with each of these things. So I decided to use them to teach my scouts a little about science while having fun at the same time.


As it turned out, the Girl Scouts were on the same page, because they have a badge with mostly the same requirements. We started out with Mentos and Coke, turning them into coke fountains. Then we went inside to do several other activities.


The kids loved having the baking soda and the vinegar blow up a balloon, and the lava lamps with orbies were really cool, but I think the two favorites were the rock candy that began to set up immediately, and the silly putty. We had a great time learning all of the scientific explanations provided by Drama Queen. Then it was time to send the girls home.


I don't normally show you the aftermath of one of our scout meetings, but my sweetie told me it was about time I did, so here you go. And the porch and sidewalk outside looked worse...


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