Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Solution to Being Bored is Chores or Crafting!

During the summer, I had to keep the girls busy. I cannot stand it when they say, "I'm bored!" When they do say that dreadful "B" word, I give them a list of chores to do around the house such as sorting laundry, doing dishes (by hand), vacuuming, and cleaning bathrooms. Eventually they learn not to say "bored" anymore.

Since I don't like the TV on all day long, I had to come up with some creative ideas to occupy the girls this summer. We went to a couple craft stores such as Robert's Craft, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels to buy some fun projects. We got some boxes (stars and squares), paints, brushes, ribbons, letters, magnets, and tons of supplies to make flower hair clips. When the girls had friends over, they enjoyed painting crafts in addition to hanging out, playing Barbies, and listening to music.

Here are some of the crafts that big sister made over the summer...

Here are little sister's summer crafts.

Here are my crafts that I did over the summer.

My oldest daughter was invited to a birthday party. We decided it would be fun to customize a couple things. We added some flower embellishments on a journal and her name. Next, we painted a small jewelry box, added a flower embellishment on top, and peace ribbon on the base. Then I made her a beautiful purple and black flower hair clip! Her friend Amy loved it very much!

We had a lot of fun painting letters, boxes, and making hair clips! Not shown, I also hot glued some magnets on some cute embellishments and wood pieces for my youngest daughter's magnet board decoration in her room.

Good Times= Cabin, Creek, & Card Games

July 23-25 2010

Over the 24 of July weekend, we went up to the Uintas Mountains. We stayed in the Critchfield's cabin (my brother Nate's foster parents). They own around 20 acres of land surrounding the cabin. The cabin was still unfinished and ran on a generator at night. The plumbing was 3rd world country where you use a bucket to flush it down, lol luckily we had a toilet! We had to bring up our own water and "rough it" without a shower. We had an incredible view of the valley below the cabin.

We shared the cabin with my brother Nate, sister Karen, brother in-law Adam, their two boys, and dog Harley the Hog (Basset Hound).

There is an interesting story about the hog, which we were happy he came up to the cabin with us over the weekend... While we were gone to Deer Creek, Nate was doing some handyman stuff around the cabin. There was a giant gray wolf that was lurking around the cabin. The basset hound was on the deck. He started growling at the wolf and scared her away. The funny thing is the wolf was easily three times the size of Harley. We believed the wolf was a mother and had some puppies near by. She seemed harmless and we never saw her again thank goodness.

There were several coolers that held our food and drinks! We ate lots of BBQ meats, pasta salad, homemade bagels with cream cheese, made smores, and ate huge hoggie sandwiches.

We stayed up late playing card games like Uno and Phase 10. My brother Nate brought his flat screen TV and Xbox. The kids played with their Game boy DS, watched movies, played Uno, or played video games. They also caught some lizards too.

On Saturday morning, we went to Deer Creek. It was about 30 minutes away from the cabin. We had a BBQ lunch with the Smith family (my sister's in-laws). The kids enjoyed swimming and playing with water toys. In addition, we went boating in my sister's father in-law's boat. The best part of the weekend was when we were all pulled on a large three person tube. My girls absolutely loved tubbing. They laughed and smiled the whole time out while in the tube. When it was the adults turn, we were in for a ride! Karen's father in-law loves to flip the tube around and go very fast! Karen, Adam, and I were the first adults to accept the challenge of not being tossed out! Karen was the first to fly out, then me, and Adam. Next round, I did a back flip into the water! My youngest daughter screamed and cried for me in the boat. She was so afraid when I fell in the water. John had to calm her down and tell her the importance of wearing a life jacket. It was a lot of fun but I could tell I was sooooo out of shape trying to swim in that cold deep water! Next was John and Adam's turn to endure scary tube ride. Some how Adam was able to hold on and not get thrown out. Poor Johnny got whipped out of the tube twice! He was done tubbing after that! The kids went again and then we went back to the shore! We drove to Heber to get the kids ice cream cones and headed back to the cabin for dinner.

Here is a video of Adam, Karen, and I falling off the tube.....

When we got back to the cabin, Karen did my hair as well as my girls. When we were kids, she learned how to French braid and still this day I cannot style hair very well. Our hair style was perfect after a couple days of no showering!

On Sunday, we woke up early and found the boys in the loft with a deflated mattress and sleeping uncomfortably on the floor. Later the boys went four wheeling and motor cycling. We cleaned up the cabin, packed, and then we went swimming in a very cold stream down the hill from the cabin. We got home later in the afternoon. We were extremely tired from all the excitement and lack of sleep! We sure enjoyed spending time with my brother and sister's family! We look forward to making more fun memories in the future!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Sparkling Good Time!

July 4, 2010

Our memories of the 4th of July this past year were spent with family members. We didn't go to the Freedom Festival 4th of July parade that morning. John is not a huge fan of it. One thing he does appreciate is the jet fly over and being among the military officers He dislikes the traffic, parking, and huge crowds. I think most of his parade issues come from doing marching band during high school. In addition, his bad memories of parades include wearing polyester uniforms! I do try to encourage him to go for the kid's sake every couple of the years! So we went to a few yard sales that morning and made plans for the evening. We attended a BBQ with family members (Dave/Kristin/kids, Matt/Chiaki/kids, Granny/Grandpa, and Manoel with his friend Hailey. In addition, some extended family were there such as John's Uncle Duane and some of his kids (Jen/Ramon/kids, Jenny/Doug/kids, and Mandy/Brian/kids). We each brought our own meat and shared a dessert or side dish. We made our famous multi-layer ice cream 4th of July Jello (normal red, red cream layer, normal blue, blue cream layer, repeating over and over then a whipping cream layer on the top). It was delicious! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it. As usual, it was one of the favorite desserts and the first one completely gone. We had the BBQ at the Pleasant Grove Junior High soccer field. Later that evening we watched the Pleasant Grove fireworks. The fireworks were beautiful however, there were a couple of malfunctioned fireworks that were shooting off towards the people on the lawn. Nobody got seriously hurt but a couple people got some minor burns. It was really scary but we were impressed with how the local Fire Department handled the situation. I must admit the Stadium of Fire fireworks are over-rated! The city of Pleasant Grove can put on a pretty good show and we are 5 minutes away from home!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yard Sale Success!

This past summer my friend Amy taught me everything there is to know about garage/ yard sales. One Friday morning, I tagged along with her. I was amazed with what I found for dirt cheap! Before this summer, I rarely bought things at garage/yards sales. I knew they existed because of the many neon colored "Yard Sale" signs that are seen on road signs, in yards, and street corners. However, I never thought to stop and look until this year! Oh boy, am I glad I gave yard sales a chance! I am now hooked on the whole idea of thrift shopping in stranger's yards! Over the summer, I've learned a lot of great tips that helped me become a successful yard sale shopper that I would like to share with you blog readers in case you never gone out to one before.

1. Plan a head of time before the big shopping morning. Make a list of addresses and times. You can look for them in the classified section of newspapers, online news sites, and your local city website might have a list of upcoming garage/yard sales in your area.

2. Go early in the morning when most yard sales are starting but don't be be "an early bird" most people hate people hanging out when they are not ready or set up.

3. Try to pick yard sales within your city limits and the neighboring cities. Bring cold water!!! I personally cannot last more than four hours of shopping in the hot summer weather that is why I prefer to shop in the early morning and be done before noon.

4. Bring cash! Most people do not take personal checks anymore. Make sure you have a lot of small bills (ones and fives mainly) and tons of change if you are shopping for shoes, books, toys, or clothes. Otherwise, if you are shopping for bigger items like electronics, furniture, appliances, you will need more cash. Over the summer, I never had more then $25.00 in my purse. I tried to stay within my budget. I even brought a zip lock bag full of change (which I found laying all over the house)!

5.If the seller is asking for too much money on some items try to negotiate with them to lower the price. Most the time it works but if it doesn't then move on to another yard sale. They will soon discover nobody will want their stuff if it over-priced!

Now let me tell you and show you the details of what I found at local garage/yard sales on a couple Friday or Saturday mornings this summer.

I got a bread maker with a recipe book!!! Woooohoooooo! It has made me enjoy baking more than ever because the machine does all the hard work, LOL!

I got a few shirts (Old Navy, Maurices, and BYU Cougars shirt) and a pair of American Eagle jeans. Not shown in photos below, I got my kids Book of Mormon Stories picture book, and Little Girl's Bible Storybook for Mothers and Daughters.

Big sister got the following items: a Moab Utah jacket, one pajama set, two pajama bottoms (Old Navy), a long brown bohemian Justice skirt, a brown dress with cute front pockets, a pair of American Eagle jeans, Gap capris, and one pair of jean shorts, two t-shirts, tons of camisoles, and a pair of black flats.

As for little sister, she got the following items: Three skirts (pink Gymboree, navy Children's Place, and a beautiful brown homemade with flowers and lace), three hoodie jackets, (two Old Navy and one Bobby Jack), a Gap jean jacket, three pairs of shorts, a butterfly tank top, a turtle neck that matches the navy skirt, two capris (Old Navy and Gap), a pair of jeans, one long sleeved shirt, three short sleeved shirts, one white sweater vest, flower hair clips, and a pair of brown shoes.

Here are other awesome goodies we found a couple weeks later...

Me: a brand new black gray earring necklace set, Tae Bo workout, sea shell shadow box, and salmon shirt.

Big sister got the following: a gray American Eagle sweater, a rainbow hat/scarf set, a couple of camisoles (from Abercrombie, Old Navy, Gap, etc), Levi's skinny jeans, and a dog stuffed animal.

Little sister got the following: a stylist pink hat, four pairs of Children's Place tights, four long sleeved shirts, two skirts, brown shorts, two short sleeved shirts, a red polka dot Gap swimming suit, green purse, soft dog house with dog, pink teddy bear, Care Bear ball, Polly Pocket case, a plastic doll, and a collection of Disney Fairytale Stories.

Both Girls Share: A wall decoration, Barbie scooter with helmet and Barbie accessories in a zip lock bag.

I've found that yard sales are by far cheaper priced compared to any local thrift store! Now I bet you are wondering how much the grand total we spent on yard sales this summer. Believe it or not, we only spent $55.00 total for the entire summer. I listed some of the name brands because obviously when they were bought brand new the seller's paid a lot of money for them and sold them to me very cheap! Some facts I would like to share are the following:

1. Our most expensive find was the bread maker $15.00.

2. The cheapest items were FREE or ten cents (on some shirts, cotton shorts, tights, hat/scarf, camisoles, toys, books, etc).

3. Big sister's American Eagle sweater was fifty cents and brand new is over $40.00 dollars!!! It was in excellent condition too and her most favorite item!

4. Most the jean items shorts, capris, and pants were either fifty cents or $1.00.

Woooohoooo, we had amazing deals buying back to school clothes this year!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

35 and many more to come!

June 10, 2010

Happy 35th Birthday, John! Since my hubby is a huge fan of sour sweets and heavy cream, my daughters and I made him a special birthday treat! I found a couple recipes from that made the perfect combination to satisfy his cravings. We made him a tart key lime pie cheesecake!

Here are the two recipes we used from!


2 cups of graham cracker (crushed into crumbs)
1/2 cup of melted butter
1/3 cup of sugar

Combine all three ingredients and press firmly in a lightly greased (cooking spray) nine inch pie dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Let the crust cool while you make the key lime pie cheese cake.

Key Lime Pie Cheesecake

1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. container of frozen whipped topping
1 cup fresh lime juice (about five limes)
Lime slices and mint for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and whipping topping. Stir in the lime juice until well blended and mixture is thick and smooth. Immediately pour lime filling into cool pie shell. Chill for at least two hours. Garnish with mint and fresh lime slices. Enjoy!

It was so easy to make and delicious (even the kids enjoyed it)! It is definitely one of our favorite recipes for sure!