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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sunflower House

I've thought of growing sunflowers for a couple of years.  I usually remember to plant them too late in the season, but not this year, or so I thought.  I bought the sunflower seeds and on the packet it says to plant them in May or June, after the last frost.  I planted them the first week in July, a little late but I was hoping they'd grow and bloom just fine.  I had planned on planting them in the backyard, right before our yard turns into the field of tall grass.  I figured the large flowers would be nice to look at and would cover up the tall grass growing out in the field.

Well, since I waited so late to plant them, the field was full of tall grass which I figured would block out the light and inhibit the growth of anything else.  I didn't want to plant the sunflowers in front of the field, that would be in our yard where we mow.  I was determined to grow sunflowers this year so I decided to plant some in our flower beds around the back patio.

My well meaning husband didn't know we had planted sunflowers and sprayed the flower beds with weed killer.  The sunflowers were dead, or so we thought.  Two sunflowers survived and were starting to grow taller and taller each day.  They still hadn't bloomed but I knew they would, it was just a matter of time.

Before they had a chance to bloom, my 12 year old son thought it would be fun to chop down things with a big stick.  Those sunflowers were the perfect thing to chop down.  Alas, we will have to wait until next year to plant our sunflowers.  I better mark my calendar now so I don't forget.  Oh, and after I plant them, I'm letting everyone in the house know so they won't spray them or chop them down.

Since I don't have any pictures of my sunflower border, I thought I'd share another fun way to grow sunflowers, and that's by making them into:

A SUNFLOWER HOUSE

Lasso The Moon shows off the sunflower house she made for her girls.  There are step by step pictures and even a video of what it looks like and all the fun the girls have playing in their secret spot.  Stop by her blog to check it out by clicking HERE.



San Juan Parent tells how to make a sunflower house HERE,
and for detailed instructions including what type of sunflowers to use, check out THIS SITE.



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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back to School 2015

School started this week and I still can't believe it.  It still feels like summer to me, but I guess once the homework starts then it'll definitely feel like the school year has begun.  

Every year I've taken first day of school pictures by the front door.  Having the same background is an easy way to see how much the kids have grown over the past year.  Here are pictures comparing this year and last.



The kids are now in 5th and 7th grade.  I've still got two little ones at home keeping me busy but the house is definitely quieter.  Now that the older kids are gone all day, I've got to take care of and play with the younger ones myself.  The older ones were such a big help this summer that I'll be missing them.  

And just so this post isn't all about my kids, here's a neat trick I learned the other day.
Yes, you are never too old to learn something new.

Type "do a barrel roll" into your search bar and see what happens.  It's pretty neat.  I wonder what else my computer can do :)




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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ding Dong

Several weeks ago a guest rang our doorbell and it crumbled under the pressure of his super human strength.  Just kidding.  He used regular strength to ring the bell and it just cracked.  Our house is about 13 years old but let's face it, this doorbell doesn't look high quality so I guess it was just a matter of time before it broke.  


And since we had to replace it anyway, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to upgrade the look of our front porch with a non plastic doorbell.  The yellowing plastic color didn't really go with the rest of front door.  So when it was time to upgrade I went with something that would match the door handle and lock better.  But first, I'll tell you about my doorbell replacing adventures.  You see, DIY is never as easy as it should be for me and this task was no exception.   



Step 1 was simple enough.  I just unscrewed the existing doorbell.  



Step 2 wasn't bad either.  I unscrewed the wires from the old doorbell and attached them onto the new doorbell.



Step 3 was to screw the new doorbell on.  That's when I felt like a ding dong.  My old doorbell was a flush mount and this new one had a recessed mount.  



I wasn't about to let that stop me, so I got out the chisel and made a nice little hole for the back of the doorbell and wires to fit it. 



Now, back to step 3:  screw the doorbell on.


I also realized the new doorbell isn't the same shape as the old doorbell so the white base paint color shows through.  Oh, well, that will be a project for another day.  I'm declaring project "Replace Doorbell" complete.

And here's my little helper making sure it works.  Which it does, phew!
I love how the gold-ish brass color matches with the rest of the door.







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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Wraps

I can't believe school is starting in less than 2 weeks!  This summer has flown by.  I guess trying to keep up with 4 kids will do that.

Back to school means back to packing lunches.  While my son will eat the same exact thing for lunch every day, my daughter likes to mix things up.

Here's an alternative to the old standby of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:

Peanut Butter Banana Wraps






They are simple to make and a fun treat to eat.  Just spread peanut butter on a soft tortilla, add some sliced bananas to one side, then roll it up.

For more sandwichless lunch ideas, check out THIS post by Thirty Handmade Days.



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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

19 years

Monday was our 19th wedding anniversary, and I love this guy more and more each year.


I was attracted to him the moment I saw him.  And when I heard him speak, he had such confidence that I knew I wanted to get to know him better.  Two years after first meeting him, we were married and 19 years later we are still going strong.
One reason we get along so well (at least in my opinion) is that Kevin is strong in areas I am weak.  He really does complete me.  We are not perfect, and our marriage isn't perfect, but we are understanding of each other and work hard to make things work.  

Alright, enough of the mushy stuff,  here's a little romantic humor for you.




I always struggle with buying gifts for my hubby and lately I've solved that problem by getting him candy.  You can see the cute candy jar I made for him for Father's Day HERE.  And for our anniversary, I put together this cute candy basket.


I got the idea HERE which has quotes to go along with various candies.  I went to the store and bought what I knew my husband would like.


Then I printed out the quotes and attached them to the candies.


We had a lovely dinner and a fun family home evening activity afterwards.  In keeping with our anniversary, we talked about Temple Marriage.  I got out the photo album and let the kids look at our wedding pictures.  I even got my wedding dress and let the girls try it on.  They thought that part was fun, while my husband thought the activity was turning into a girls night.   It was fun to reminisce about our wedding and let our kids know how important marriage is to us.









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Monday, August 3, 2015

Homemade Slushie

On a hot summer's day, I love to cool off with a refreshing ice cold drink.  I love chocolate but it's not the most refreshing thing to drink, even if it is in the form of a chocolate milkshake.  When it's really hot, I crave something fruity.  I saw THIS recipe for a homemade slushie on Pinterest and just had to try it.  It's really easy to make and uses Kool Aid so there's a variety of flavors to choose from.  We used strawberry.  
 

All you do is add the Kool Aid mix to the blender, 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup of sugar and 4 cups of ice. 

And for an even creamier treat, you can top it off with some vanilla ice cream to make a Slushie Float.



If you have an easy to make, refreshing summertime drink, I'd love to hear about it so please share your recipes in the comments.  Thanks.



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Monday, July 27, 2015

Pioneer Day Fun

Friday was Pioneer Day, the day the first Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley back in 1847.  

We celebrated with a fun pioneer activity put on by our church primary.  


There were pioneer stories and butter making...

sack races...

a sunflower seed spitting competition...

and tin can stilts.

The kids had so much fun but I think the tin can stilts were the favorite.  My 10 year old didn't want to get off them.


We also held a Pioneer Day Family Home Evening on Sunday.
We used the song, thought, lesson and treasure hunt ideas found HERE.

I also included this "I Am A Pioneer" video which lead to a discussion of modern day pioneers, and how we can be a pioneer.



As for the treat, we made covered wagon cakes.  They sort of look like a covered wagon, right?  The kids didn't care.  It was chocolate, cookies and marshmallows so they loved it.








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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Miniature Horses

Since we aren't going on a big vacation this summer, I've been keeping the kids busy with some day trips.  If you live near Lancaster or are planning to drive through it, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the Lil' Country Store and Miniature Horse Farm.  Here is the store's website, however, more information is given at THIS site.



It's a small out of the way Amish store with homemade gifts and food for sale as well as hand crafted furniture.  The main reason we stopped by was to visit the miniature horses they had there.  They were so cute and my kids loved to pet and feed them.   Pony and cart rides were also available.

Here's a video that tells more about the store and horses:



I suggest combining this visit with another activity since this won't take much time.  There are plenty of other things to do while you're in Lancaster such as the Strasburg Railroad, the American Music Theatre or the Outlet Malls.  After our visit the kids and I went to Dutch Wonderland which was only about 5 minutes away.


Have you found some fun out of the way spots to visit this summer.  I'd love to hear about them.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Travel Toothbrush Holder

This summer hasn't gone according to plan, but that's OK, we're going with plan B.

You see, the Spencinator was supposed to go to a 5 week therapeutic day camp.  After the first day, the camp counselors called me to come get him.  He didn't want to participate with the group much less be in the group.  Not surprising, the kid has autism so of course he hates being in a group.  I would have thought this camp would have been able to deal with it, after all they were a therapeutic camp with lots of other kids on the spectrum.  Anyway, after trying to incentivise him to go, we realized it wasn't going to work out.  So instead of having him occupied during the day for five whole weeks, he's now home to torture his sisters.  Just kidding, not really.  That means I've got to be on the ball and keep the kids busy so there's no time for fighting.  Not an easy task.  

I'm lucky my mom is now retired and has more time to help out.  Every other week she is having one of the kids stay at her house for "Grandma Camp".   They love it and I love it.  Not only do they get some one on one time to be spoiled by their grandparents, but they also get some time to be an only child for a while.  And the rest of us at home get a break from some of the sibling rivalry.  It's a win win for everyone.  

With all this traveling, I've had to pack overnight bags for the kids.  I've been using something I made a while ago to store their toothbrush and toothpaste.


It started out as a regular old wash cloth.  I folded the bottom 1/3rd of the wash cloth up and sewed some vertical lines to make little pockets.  



Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, chapstick and even a comb or brush can fit inside and roll up neatly to pack into their suitcase.  It keeps everything organized and in one easy to find place.







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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4th of July 2015 recap

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.  I'm finally getting around to posting about what all we did.  We were pretty busy and I loved every minute of it.

I got the kids all dressed up in red, white and blue for their annual 4th of July picture.  The baby has been mobile for a couple of months now and it's harder than ever to get a good shot of him, this is the best I could get.


And here's the previous years pictures.  I love looking back and seeing how much the kids have grown.


Sky Zone was having a buy one get one free sale so we started off the day with some jumping.  The girls jumped almost non stop the entire hour.  The Spencinator loved being able to jump off the 'walls' of the trampoline.  Even my hubby joined in on the fun.  They also had dodge ball games and a foam pit to jump in.  As the day went on, it got more crowded so it's a good thing we went early.


Saturday night we went to a local patriotic concert.  This little band was great and the conductor was a bit of a comedian.  Afterwards they had an illumination ceremony where they lit candles and we followed the trail to the end where we could roast marshmallows and make s'mores.  


Sunday night we went to another concert.  The US Army Concert Band played and sang lots of patriotic songs.


The last song included cannons.  A man's personal collection of civil war cannons went off and started the fireworks celebration.  I've never been so close to the fireworks, they were wonderful - so big and bright.  It was a great way to celebrate.  



With all that noise, you'd think this little guy would have been in awe or fussy, but no.  He actually fell asleep.  I guess when you're a baby and you're tired, you just gotta sleep no matter where you are or what's going on.  






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