6/22/2016

Surviving Summer



How's your summer going so far? With kids?

Minute by minute we are either loving it, or we're wondering how we're going to survive it all.

I found this quote on instagram that I could relate to:
"5 min. ago, I was pulling cookies out of the oven and thinking how much I [love] my life.
4 min. ago, all 3 kids were screaming like horror movie extras.
3 min. ago, I crammed cookies in my mouth to keep from shouting.
2 min. ago, I took off my shoes so I wouldn't go outside
and hide in my Cheerio receptacle, I mean minivan.
1 min. ago, I was thinking how much I hate my life.
Right now, everyone is quiet and drinking smoothies, [I love my life]!"

Here's some of my summer survival tips:
Some things I've done through the years to enjoy my kids a little more, and SURVIVE.

Read a chapter book with your kids.
Surprisingly, even my older kids will come over when I start reading.
We don't always pick a smart, classic. Sometimes they're just silly books that make us laugh.
This is our book this summer:


Snow Cones!
Visit your local snow cone shack at least once a week!
It helps break up a long, hot afternoon. This has been one of my best survivial tips.
I only let the kids get the smallest size to cut down on the cost, esp. when we go once a week.
It's also a great incentive to help them get some work/chores done.


Allowance, Job Charts
Summer is a great time, to help your kids do some chores.
I have found, that during the school year, when they have homework, and more schedules, kid chores create tension and stress in our home. So summer, has become the best time, when we're a little more relaxed to help them learn some jobs. We track what they do a little more, and I pay them their age, for an allowance. We go to the bank, where they make deposits, see how much they're saving, and we teach them about tithing. They also keep some of their money for spending. Our new tradition is to have them buy their own school supplies at the end of the summer. This helps them get their favorite glitter glue, or pink binder, if they can afford it, and they're also more prone to just use the pencils and crayons we already have at home, before buying brand new stuff.

Library Summer Reading Program
We like to participate in our library summer reading program, where the kids can earn prizes.
Sometimes the prize is a trip to a local restaurant, which is fun to do with my kids in the summer.

Free Lunch in the Park
Our local cities offer free lunches for kids in the park.
This has been a great way to get out of the house, and FEED the kids.

Take a Trip Tuesday
We try to go do something each week.
A museum, a hike, sometimes a tour.
Tours can include: Bakeries, restaurant, police/fire stations, libraries, government buildings, etc.

Last summer we did Blue Apron.
They send you a recipe, with all the ingredients for a meal.
I'm doing it again this summer.
I don't like cooking as much in the summer, my brain is a little more mushy, and Hot.
Plus, the kids like to help, and we learn some new recipes and cooking techniques.
I have some codes if you want to try your 1st meal for free.
Leave a comment, and I'll send you the code by email.


This summer I'm trying Kiwi Crate.
They send 1 box each month, of a craft/science/art project with the supplies
and instructions to complete a project. I only did the 3 mon. subscription
for the summer. I got a discount code from their facebook account.
We've gotten our 1st box for June, and my kids enjoyed it.
We are looking forward to our next month's projects.
This is way cheaper, than sending my kids to art or science camp,
and we get to do it in our own home! It's a Win Win for me.


Summer Bingo has worked in the past,
I didn't need to do it this summer.


6/07/2016

Summer has started!



My kids finished school last Friday.

Lindy finished Middle school and 8th grade - High School Next Fall!
Kyle finished 6th grade
Tate finished 4th grade
Sadie finished 2nd grade
Brandon finished Preschool -He'll be at 1/2 day kindergarten Next Fall- I'll be a little bit of an empty nester next fall for a couple of hours.

The kids ran in the capitol classic race kids-only 1 mile race in downtown boise over the weekend.
Always a fun tradition.

We went to a ward social on Friday. We are in a brand new ward that was created in our stake.
We've all been calling less for 3 weeks now, it can feel a little nerve racking, wondering what you'll get when every calling is up for grabs. EVERY CALLING.

We burned our kids' school papers on Sat. night in a campfire in our backyard.
That was fun.

This week Kyle goes to band for the saxophone, Tate will start the banjo.
The kids have an art class this week.
Sadie will do a little cheer, and Tate also wanted to try karate.

We are sleeping in, and so GLAD to be done with school work and papers!

5/27/2016

Romantic Songs

The movie Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren is
one of my favorites.

I love when they dance to this song in the movie



La Vie En Rose is another favorite song that I like to listen to.


5/20/2016

Painting Furniture

I tried furniture painting an old shelf, recently.

Here are some of my tips:
I used The Frugal Girl's blog post on furniture painting as my resource
A great resource with pictures!
Centsational Girl has a great furniture painting post too!

Plan on about 20-30 min. each day, over a period of about 4-5 days.
Don't plan on doing it all in 1 day.
Be patient with yourself, it takes practice furniture painting.

I've done it a couple times now over the years,
and I'm just starting to get better at it.
I'm still learning, myself, what works and what doesn't.

Basics to Remember:
Sand, Wipe off, Spray-on Primer, Sand again-wipe off, Roll on Paint

These steps work well together to give you a
finished, smooth, professional look to your furniture.


Step 1:
Sand the wood piece to remove the finish.
I used 80 grit sandpaper (This sandpaper feels rough.)
I like using an electric sander.
I just picked a sander up at my local Home Depot or Lowes or Amazon.

Step 2:
After you sand the piece, use a damp rag
to remove/wipe away all the fine dust on the furniture.

If there are any holes you need to fill or repair do this step next.
There is wood filler tubes, glue, paste, etc. you can also pick up from Home Depot or Lowes.
Step 3:
Spray on a primer using a spray can.
Use a primer color similar to the
color you'll be painting it. Grey primer works great for color;
white primer works the best if the finished piece will be white.
Apply 1-2 several thin coats of primer.
No worries, if there are a couple
spots you missed, since you will be painting over it anyway.
Step 4:
After the primer dries, Sand again! This time using a higher grit sand paper.
I used 220, this sand paper is very fine, and feels much smoother.
It's okay if some of the primer is sanded off. Your goal with this step is SMOOTH.

Be sure to wipe off the excess dust with a damp cloth again.

Then, take your hand over the piece of furniture to see if it feels smooth.
You many need to sand again if it doesn't feel completely smooth yet.

Step 5:
Time to paint. I prefer to roll on paint for the final paint color.

You can spray paint with a can, but spray cans, can get a little drippy for the final finish.
Spray paint cans works great for the primer step-
because it's fast, and if you get any drips, it gets sanded off later.
Spray paint cans also work great for smaller color changes, frames, vases, etc.

I prefer rolling on paint for larger pieces of furniture.
You could use a fancy paint sprayer for this step.
They are expensive and I just haven't invested in one yet.

For now, rolling on paint is the best for me, since I don't furniture paint that often.

Try to get a paint that has a satin finish to it.
That will give it a nice finished look.

I painted on 2 coats of paint.

If you need to take a break, you can put your roller in a plastic bag.
Plastic grocery bags work too, if your roller is larger.
You can leave your roller, like this for a few hours.
These little foam brushes work great for touch-up and some tighter spaces, if needed.

* Special note for this project, I used some leftover sample paint that was very flat.
There was NO sheen or shine to the paint.
So to help finish the piece I sprayed on gloss to give it a finished look.
But it didn't show anything really. So I wouldn't do that again.
Live and Learn- I do recommend getting paint that has a gloss, or satin finish to it.

5/04/2016

A Mother's Day Gift Idea

Buy a package of Forget-Me-Not Seeds.


Attach this little note on the back from

4/28/2016

Favorite Short Hair Products

Here are my favorite hair products that I use with my short hair.

I have thick hair, so keep that in mind,
as you consider these products and the texture of your own hair.

1. Aveda, Brilliant Hair Retexturing gel
I use this one when I have wet hair.
I need to put product in my hair after I wash it.
This allows my hair to be more manageable, after it's dry.
It's a little pricey, but it works so well, I let this be a beauty splurge.
We all need at least 1 beauty splurge, right?
Cheap gels don't absorb in my hair very well,
and don't last throughout the day.
This one absorbs great, with out being too goopy,
and doesn't give my hair a wet, crunchy, look.
It looks natural while keeping my hair more styled.

2. Style Sexy Hair, Slept In creme
This one I use in the mornings on my dry hair,
when it's sticking up everywhere.
This creme is my quick fix, to help me fix my hair fast.
The title is exactly as it's described - it fixes your slept-in hair.
Sometimes I use it on my wet hair too. This one maybe my favorite!

3. Aveda, Control Paste
This one I use on my dry hair, and you need a little product to control some fly aways,
or just tame your hair a bit. It only takes a finger-tip of paste,
that you rub into the palms of your hands,
and then rub into your hair to style it a bit.
It's great for an evening out, or just to fix your hair
when you need to look a little more polished.
This one is pricey, but I use it for years since you only use a little at a time.
It doesn't smell the best, but it works so well, that I overlook that con.
I also use this one with my longer hair too.
It helps with straight hair, without making your hair look wet or sticky.

4/25/2016

A weekend

Over the weekend, I painted a book shelf
Chris mowed the lawn,
we celebrated cousin Spencer's 15th birthday,
Lindy competed in National History Day for her Rachel Carson project,
at the same time she came down with a fever, and aches,
and spent the rest of the weekend in bed,
We took the rest of the kids to see the new Disney Jungle Book, movie.
It was a a cold, rainy weekend,
perfect weather for a movie outing with the kids.
(But matinee prices are $$, yikes,
we may not be doing that again anytime soon.)
I thought the movie was fun seeing all the animals,
and Bill Murray was a great voice to the bear character.
The tiger character was mean, so there were a few scary parts for little, littles.
Our 5 year old did okay with it.

We attended church, Chris and I did a little family history,
and later enjoyed a family dinner and dessert with friends.

Now onto Monday, and another week!

4/20/2016

Secret Hideaway

I love finding and taking my kids to secret hideaways.
I call them secret hideaways,
because they are usually hidden in some trees.
We can hang out, read, and relax there,
and forget our cares for a while.
























One of my new favorite songs, Catch and Release
by Matt Simons includes these lyrics
that perfectly captures how I feel about our secret hideaways,

"There's a place I go to,
where no one knows me,
it's not lonely,
it's a necessary thing."

A few years ago I posted about a
Secret Hideaway, from our last home.
Here's that blog post for a trip to the past - 5 years ago!
I kinda look the same because I had short hair in that post.
My kids, DO NOT, they are so young,
and we didn't even have Brandon yet.

4/18/2016

Softening Brown Sugar + An Easy Dessert Recipe

I have a large bag of brown sugar, that went really hard.
It became hard as a rock -
too hard to put in measuring cups, and bake with.
But, I hated to throw it out.
I googled how to soften brown sugar, and saw this tip:

Put your hard sugar in an air tight container with a piece of bread.
(I also put in a couple drops of water, too).
Then cover it with a lid.

I wasn't sure if it would work. I was a little skeptical.



WaaLah! It did work, I had super, soft brown sugar after a couple of days.
I love how this tip gives us a good reason to use the heels of our bread, too!

My soft, brown sugar was perfect for making this EASY, yummy dessert.
Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars
from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Recipe tips after making it a few times:
We like using less chocolate chips, and more caramel.
Give the bars enough time to cool (1 hour +), to cut and serve.

Image source from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

4/14/2016

A Family Update


Here is what we are each up to this Spring:

Chris: Works at Wells Dental,
and works with the 11 year old scouts in our church.

Me: I'm on our kids' elementary PTO board this year
- this could have a post all it's own.
I'm a primary teacher in our church.

Lindy: 8th grade, piano and clarinet lessons, track, and
she serves in her young women's class presidency.

Kyle: 6th grade, saxophone in the school band, he does boy scouts,
and runs track.

Tate: 4th grade,  piano lessons, scouts, and gymnastics.
He loves tinkering and engineering,
and is constantly working on a hobby of some kind
-origami, yo-yo making, rubik's cubes, airplane engineering, etc.

Sadie: 2nd grade, piano lessons, and clogging.
She's getting ready to be baptized next month. 

Brandon: Pre-school, and soccer

We are all doing well, but feeling busy; even when we try to keep our activities to a minimum.

4/12/2016

Decor Trend - Green Palm and Banana Leaves

Have you noticed some of the fun decorating trends with green leaves?
There's palm prints, banana leaf fabrics,
fiddle fig trees, ferns prints, etc.
Below are a couple of my favorite ideas
using these greens in your home:

Watercolor prints in gold, gallery matted frames.

I like the new trend in Fiddle Fig Trees.
Silk, artificial trees is a better option for me.

Adding a pillow with these fabric prints is a fun idea too!

Sources for finding these ideas:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

For more inspiration on these trends:
Etsy has a great selection that is reasonably priced.

Laurel and Wolf is also a good source if you're interested in
some interior design services.

4/09/2016

Rhubarb Recipes!

My husband grew up having rhubarb in his backyard garden.
His birthday is in April, so he loves having rhubarb pie for his birthday.
Now all the kids and I like it too.
We grow it in our garden now.
(The rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so don't eat the leaves!)

You can find it at most grocery stores though, this time of year.
Here are some fun recipes, we've tried over the years that we enjoy.
Most of these are dessert recipes! Of course.


Rhubarb Cream Pie
Image source simplebites.net
Preheat oven to 400. Combine 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. four, 3/4 t. nutmeg. Add 3 slightly beaten eggs. Add 4 c. 1 in. slices of rhubarb (1 lb.) Line 9 in. pie plate with pastry; fill with above rhubarb filling.
Dot with 2 T. butter. (* optional, you can add a lattice crust top). Bake for about 50-60 min. Cool serve with vanilla ice cream!

Image source top:

adesertfete.blogspot.com

bottom: cuisinestyle.com

















Rhubarb Compote from Blue Apron
image source giddyupglutenfree.blogspot.com
















In the pot used to cook the quinoa, combine the 1 stalk rhubarb, 2 T. vinegar, 2 T. sugar and ¼ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes, or until the rhubarb has softened and the mixture is saucy and thickened. Transfer to a serving dish. Rinse and dry the pot.

This sauce is delicious served with grilled chicken.
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3/22/2016

Easter Week Videos

I love thinking about what the Savior did this week
as we prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday.
I love using these bible videos,
to show our family about those events.

Here's the videos:

Palm Sunday


Monday - The Cleansing of the Temple
(You can click on the link to access this video).

Tuesday  - Teaching in Jerusalem


Thursday - The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane

Friday - Jesus is Scourged and Crucified

Saturday -


Easter Sunday -


You can also watch this beautiful video about celebrating our loved ones who have passed on, and who we will see again because of the Savior's resurrection! #Hallelujah

3/17/2016

Free National Park Pass for 4th graders!

Do you have a 4th grader this year?
If yes, then you're in LUCK!
4th graders and their families
can visit National Parks for free this year, until August 31st.

Go to this website to get your free pass
for your 4th grader and your family.

It's perfect for Spring Break, and your Summer Plans!