Nov 29, 2020

Traveling Together - Snow Canyon State Park

So...DRUMROLL...winner of our amazing nail kit from Manscaped is MARCI!! Please email me your shipping info, Marci, and I will get that set right out to you. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Back to our amazing trip to sunny southern Utah the week before Thanksgiving. There are just so many things I want to tell you that I keep mixing them up. On Friday, my sweetie wanted to take us to Snow Canyon. He and Curly had visited that state park when they were there in March when COVID first hit. 

Our first goal was to get them all fed, so we stopped at a little picnic area that was pretty deserted. 

But it was hard to get much eating done when this little guy kept stealing our Cheetos!

Then the kids decided they wanted to climb a rock. They all headed out while we alternately watched them and the bird.

After they stopped here for a pic, the bigger kids went all the way to the top! I convinced Scout that she could get me at least to that little outcropping of rock. The kids made it look so easy... but I must confess that I struggled a bit. Not that it was a problem, I just worried about slipping and falling way more than I did 20 years ago.

Then we drove to a scenic overlook that was stunning, but not quite as impressive as Dead Horse Point.

By then the kids were ready to climb another mountain, so we went looking for one...

It wasn't hard to find. 

Our last stop was at the huge area of red sand dune just inside the park. I stayed in the car with Little Warrior since he had fallen asleep, but the kids absolutely loved that part the best!

Then it was back to the hotel, a quick shower and some pool time. We had a few more family members show up toward evening and we all helped in the planning for Saturday's adventure...

Nov 28, 2020

Perfect Gift for Crafty and Baby Doll - Piano Pass

I am so excited to tell you about this gift idea! I think I have told you before about my experiences with piano lessons. As a child, I took lessons for 8 years, first from our across the street neighbor, but then when my parents could no longer afford the lessons, from another neighbor. I watched her kids and she gave me free lessons. It was the perfect solution.

As I started having kids of my own, I wanted them to develop a love for music, but I knew that we would not be able to afford to have them all take piano lessons. Not only that, we didn't even have a piano! So we did band, which was amazing, but not like what comes from knowing how to play the piano.

This past week, US Family Guide asked me if I had any interest in 3 free months of online piano lessons and I was so excited to share this idea with two of my girls who would love to learn to play. Crafty was teaching herself a little while she was on her mission and then the piano offered her great solace when she had to come home early from the Philippines. Baby Doll has always wanted to learn to play, but she doesn't have the patience to sit down with me and my clumsy teaching methods. 


Lessonface is launching Piano Pass, a new daily class series of live online piano classes for all ages and all playing levels. Classes are for adults and kids and you can have daily access to over 20 live interactive piano lessons each week! All of these lessons are with a live, in-real-time piano teacher. 

These lessons are normall $39/mo (which is a real bargain!), but if you start right away, the first month is only $14.99. That is just for adults... Kids Pass are just $4.99 to start and then $19/month after that first month.

I have to tell you, we are just so excited to give this a try and then report back to you. Speaking of reviews...


Just hop back a couple of posts and leave a comment. At the moment, you have a pretty great chance of winning!

Nov 27, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful day; cooking together, playing games, and following our traditions even though we were missing many family members.

As usual, most of us ate too much food, but Curly was a little crazy!

For some strange reason, he mixes his turkey dinner together like a breakfast bowl. He threw away a tablespoon full of potatoes, but check out his terribly clean plate.

We watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving and celebrated our own version of Peppermint Patty's tirade at lunch.

And of course we had more than our fair share of silliness.

I'm so grateful for this amazing family of mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 25, 2020

Traveling Together - St. George

It is probably starting to sound like we travel all the time, but our trip to St. George was actually supposed to be for Curly's football tournament. After the Governor of Utah shut things down, we still had our hotel rooms reserved so we decided to go anyway.
We were traveling with Bossy's family (since they love football too), and at the last minute, Little Warrior also joined us.
As soon as we got all checked into our hotel, the only thing the kids wanted to do was swim.
We had the pool to ourselves and it was so much fun!
Most of the pools have been closed, both in Park City and in Oregon, so the kids were very excited to have this opportunity.
We stayed in the pool until 10:00 pm, so the little ones were tired. We had just gotten them settled when suddenly the smoke alarms went off throughout the entire hotel!!
Honestly, we were terrified as we grabbed the kids from their beds and ran for the parking lot with all the other guests.
After a few long moments, the fire engine showed up and we were let back into the hotel. It turned out that someone was operating an unauthorized space heater that got too hot.

We finally got the kids settled back in and sleeping. We had big plans for Friday and we didn't want anyone to be tired.

Nov 23, 2020

Review: BLACK FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!! - Manscaped: The Shears 2.0

Hey everyone! Remember that I promised you a giveaway? We have had several opportunities to review some great new Christmas products and one of our favorites is Manscaped's four-piece luxury nail kit affectionately called The Shears 2.0.

Nail clippers are always difficult to find at my house, so it was easy to find someone willing to help me with this review. I must confess that even though these are marketed to men, I was excited to try them. Over the years, I have had many nail kits and I have never found one with a decent pair of scissors, but these are terrific!

I asked Curly to be my hand model and after a pic or two, he was way more interested in getting his fingernails all cleaned up than he was with helping me with the review. How many 12-year-old boys do you know that like clipping their nails??

After using the scissors on a couple of nails, we pulled out the actual clippers. They were a little confusing at first; they do not open at all like traditional clippers, but after we figured it out, it was easy. The clippers do a great job on fingernails, but I'm not sure how they would handle toenails. They are not marketed that way, so we didn't try it. The blades are smaller, more like traditional fingernail clippers.

I didn't even have to ask Curly to pull out the nail file. He was anxious to clean up everything and he used the pointed tip to strip the last of the dirt from under the edges of his nails. He didn't have any use for the tweezers, but we did talk about what he might be able to do with them (good teaching moment...) and then he carefully placed them all back in the sweet little container before calmly taking them up to his room.

"Wait!" I called after him. "Those were supposed to be a Christmas gift!" He stopped halfway up the stairs. 

"Oh." Then a minute later. "Do you want them back?"

I could hear the disappointment in his voice and I thought about all the times I tried to get my older boys to take care of their nails. "No..." I tried to keep the smile out of my voice. "I guess you can have them."

SCORE!! Another win for the parents!

And now, you can score one of these great little kits for yourself. All you have to do is comment on this post with the name of who you would like to give them to and one lucky winner will be selected by Friday, November 27th at midnight. Please make sure your comment leads back to an email address so I can find you.

Remember, if your name is not chosen, you can still get one of these for 20% off when you click here.

Good luck, everyone! I can't wait to see who wins.

***Giveaway Closed***

Nov 20, 2020

Traveling as Two: Salem

We were sad to leave our little condo that gave us so many happy days, but nothing on vacation seems permanent except the memories. 
The bay in our backyard was pretty full as we said our last goodbyes and packed up the car.
My sweetie promised one last look at the ocean before we headed inland. This little dock was just behind our building on the other side. We were surprised at the sand and debris from the previous day's storm.
The furthest white building shows our little deck and the condo.
Then we were off and on our way to Salem. My sweetie wanted to take a different route back to Portland so we could see new things.
We drove up into Washington to explore more of the Columbia River, although it seemed like there was always a river somewhere on the path.
We saw some weird stuff along the way!
We saw many place in Oregon where people are struggling; lots of tent living and homeless. I don't know anything about their economy, but buildings and freeways are crumbling and in need of repair. I worry for them and pray for better times soon.
We stopped by the state Capitol building in Salem. I thought our temples were the only buildings with gold statues on top!! Then it was back to Portland and another night at the same hotel where we began.
A quick morning trip through the airports and we were home. Another fantastic trip together. This is rapidly becoming my favorite pastime.

Nov 19, 2020

Traveling as Two: Rainy Day Activity

Saturday was our last full day at Water's Edge Condominiums. It was a good thing we had planned a rest day, because the pounding rain would not have cooperated with sightseeing. I had taken along a felt stocking I was making for the Dog Walker and I was excited to finish it up.
But that meant I needed a new project. My sweetie had taken me to JoAnn's and I was excited to actually find something we could do together. 
A couple of decades ago, we had enjoyed painting ceramics together, so I picked up these little kits for just under $1 each. We were extremely limited in brushes and resources, but each one had a brush so we cut bristles and reshaped them to give us more options. Each kit had 3 paint pots, but without blue or black, mixing colors was tricky. In spite of the challenges we were pleased with how they turned out and they will be a fun reminder of this trip.
Tomorrow we make our way back to Portland...our amazing vacation is almost over.

Nov 18, 2020

Another Great Holiday Gift

It almost makes me feel like I am writing commercials in between my vacation posts... but when they asked me about this one, I just couldn't resist. 

You probably all remember my sweet little grandson, Twizzler, who moved with his parents to far away New Jersey this past summer. He had health problems for the first few months of his life and even after his surgeries, he was pretty far behind developmentally. I sure wish I would have had one of these for him!

No, not that cute little girl (although I might send a personal hint to his mama😄), but the pink device beneath her that is helping her learn to crawl. Thankfully, Twizzler has finally learned to crawl with the help of physical therapy, but I am excited to have one of these Crawling Toys for our new little granddaughter and then for the little guy we have coming in February. (Did I remember to tell you Bossy is having a boy? We have been so busy traveling...) 

Crawligator is recommended by many physical therapists as a fun way to help kids learn to crawl. It helps build gross motor skills during tummy time, and it even won a JPMA Innovation Award last year! You can order it now in time for Christmas and receive free shipping.

Check back next week for a complete review.

Nov 17, 2020

Traveling as Two: Back to Newport

One of the activities my sweetie and I have always enjoyed is visiting a good aquarium. After a little research, we discovered that the Oregon Coast Aquarium was supposed to be one of the best, so we made an appointment online and headed for Newport. 
We arrived a little early so we decided to visit the pier. The sky was so amazing and you know how much I love the big boats.
The aquarium was different from any we had ever visited before. Part of it was outside which was good because of COVID-19, but not so great with the rain.
My favorite part were the long tube-like aquariums. The fish were more native to the area, so they were pretty different from what we had seen in the past. 
My sweetie had a good talk with this one.
Our favorite was the sea otter. Did you know they are extinct in Oregon except for the ones in this aquarium?
I had never seen starfish this big!!
After spending way too much in the gift shop, we drove back to the condo. My sweetie had a special meal planned for us.
I love condo life. It's so nice to not have any worries beyond cooking dinner and cleaning up afterward.
Maybe someday....

Nov 15, 2020

Traveling as Two: Astoria

We got up early and checked out of the hotel; there are so many things we wanted to see. But first we had to make a trip across the bridge into Washington.
I love huge bridges even though they terrify me a little. From Astoria, this one starts out really high so the barges can pass beneath it and then gets lower to the water as you go. The Columbia River is massive! We drove the Washington shoreline for a few minutes before turning back to the bridge.
After we got back to the Oregon side, our first stop was the Columbia Maritime Museum. I was anxious to learn a bit more about what is arguably the largest river in the continental US.
My sweetie loved this museum! We had no idea how important the men and women of the Coast Guard are in this community. Without them, many more ships would never be able to "cross the bar" and make it from the ocean into the Columbia River and back out to the open seas again.
We left the museum even more in awe of the Columbia River if that were possible. My sweetie wanted one last look up close, so we headed to Fort Stevens State Park. This is the only place the Japanese fired on the mainland during WWII. Sadly, most of the park and memorabilia were closed because of COVID-19, but we did find one terribly windy platform to stand on.
Then it was back in the car. We were still hoping to get to the Tillamook Creamery factory tour before it closed.
My sweetie is a huge fan of Tillamook Rocky Road ice cream. He is, in fact, an ice cream snob!
We couldn't come all the way to Oregon and miss out on this one.
They aren't giving out samples right now because of COVID-19, so we bought our own...
...and a bunch of other stuff as well.
Then it was back to the condo in Lincoln City. We old folks were tired and needed a chance to rest. But what an amazing day.

**Just so you know, we pull our masks down for a quick pic, but they are required here in Oregon as well.