Category Archives: Family

GIVEAWAY – Discovery Gateway Passes! #livewelldgm


Are your kids crazy about the Discovery Gateway Museum? My kids love it there! I love it because it’s a totally hands-on, educational play place where your kids are encouraged to touch and explore everything.


This week, I had the opportunity to see a sneak peek of Discovery Gateway Museum’s newest installation. Discovery Gateway has created an amazing Primary Children’s Hospital Emergency Department exhibit, including the beloved Life Flight helicopter!

Primary Children's Hospital at Discovery Gateway

The entire exhibit is designed to encourage kids to go through the entire hospital experience. Your child can man the Life Flight control tower, play pilot and pick up a patient (a “radio” gives the scenario–one of a number of common childhood accidents–and how to best care for the patient), practice checking in patients, dress up as the doctor, ‘xray’ bones, and even scrub up for surgery!


Surgery? Oh yes! Discovery Gateway has teamed with some amazing developers to create a one-of-a-kind iPad app so your child can preform several different surgeries over a pretend patient! (They are hoping to put this on the App Store soon!)


If your child has a scheduled hospital visit, is frequently sick, or just a bit on the clumsy side, this exhibit is a perfect way to act out any fears or concerns your child may have!

I was happy to hear that the museum is accommodating towards both public and home school field trips. Lesson plans will be available online soon for teachers/parents who want to get the most out of their trip to the museum.

This Saturday, the brand new exhibit will be fully up and running. In celebration of the museum’s 35th anniversary, tickets will be on sale for their 35th anniversary this Saturday for only $3.50 per person! In addition, their memberships will be on sale both at the museum and online for $35 off the cost of membership! The museum will open early for members (9 a.m.) and 11 a.m. for nonmembers. For more information, call the museum at (801) 456-5437 or visit!

Additionally, I am giving away a family pass to Discovery Gateway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Grown Up Questions

Late last night, I lay in bed with the unsettling realization that I would not be able to fall asleep. Apparently, taking melatonin at 11 p.m. does not cancel out the fact that you chose to drink a second Diet Coke at 5 p.m. Regardless of the wisdom of that decision, I’m not sure my kids would have been fed dinner without that second Diet Coke soooo… you win some, you lose some? I guess?

As I lay in bed twiddling my thumbs, (truly. There was thumb twiddling!) I analyzed some pretty hefty questions floating around in my mind. I mentioned yesterday that we are considering a move to a new home. What I didn’t mention is that one of the considerations we are considering is making a bigger-than-average move.

My husband and I would love to be out of the Salt Lake valley. My husband wants land, to raise animals, and grow a garden. He has a goal of more sustainable living. I was raised in a smaller community and hate the idea of raising my children in a big city. The move we’re looking at is only thirty minutes away from where we are now, and will be a twenty minute commute for my husband. This is a comparatively small move for some, I know, but for us, we’ll be moving out of the range of everything we know.

I can’t help but wonder, what are the schools like in this county? Will the junior high be a good fit for my 8th grader? What is the high school like? Will it give my son the best opportunities for the future? Will the elementary school be set up to help my fifth grader with her needs? Is there an active homeschooling community for my kindergartener and I?

While a quick Google search will sort out some of these questions, nothing can answer the questions that really matter: will my kids like their new schools? Will they resent us for moving? Will they make friends? Will I?? What will I do without a Target, Old Navy, or multiple parks within walking distance?? Will I go crazy in a rural environment, especially with my husband a commute away? Oh my gosh, will I ever see my husband?

These questions feel like such big, important, grown up questions. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am finally feeling like a real live grown up. {It’s a process, you know?} The questions don’t yet have answers, so for now I will occasionally lay in bed late at night twiddling my thumbs and fretting. As for today, I will pop the top of my Diet Coke (just one, thank you!) and hope the caffeine required for today doesn’t keep me up at night again.

What grown up questions are weighing on your mind lately?


Time flies when you’re having fun…

40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

Unfortunately, this summer has been really, really long!

No, it hasn’t been that bad. It certainly hasn’t been our best summer (remember when I did summer school that one time?) but it could be worse (remember last summer when I didn’t have a car or the internet?) I guess you could sum it up neatly by saying this is your run-of-the-mill, average summer. Four kids sure take a lot of time and all of your energy.

Here’s a little update on what I’ve been up to, since I obviously haven’t been blogging about it.

  1. Keeping the house cleanish. Really! The kids and I did an intense panic clean (for a home inspection) and we’ve done a moderate job at keeping it up. Kind of a miracle. I’m slowly seeing the piles start, well, piling up again. Sigh.
  2. Quilting. I made a quilt! It’s the kind of quilt that really deserves its own post, but here’s a sneak peek:

    40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

    40th Anniversary Quilt for my In-Laws

  3. Feeding four kids. This deserves its own spot on the list because hello, that’s hard work. Especially when you take into consideration that grocery shopping often involves four children.
  4. Homeschool obsessing. I’m gearing up for the new year, and I’m hoping this next year will be far more successful than last. I should really do a “wrap up” post on the previous year. We’ll see.
  5. Homeschool shopping. Online shopping mostly because a) I like to buy used when I can, b) I don’t have any homeschool stores here and c) retail shopping involves four children.
  6. Quilt obsessing. I’m constantly designing quilts in my head, though most days I don’t even break out the sewing machine. Most days, my dining room table isn’t clean enough to break out the sewing machine, let alone put fabric on it. I have high hopes for a sewing room one day.
  7. Fabric shopping. Or at least a lot of fabric window shopping online.
  8. There seems to be a strong “shopping” theme in this list, did you notice?
  9. House shopping. (Yes, more shopping! I get bored, okay?) And yes, I said house shopping. Nothing official yet, but we’re hoping to move soon, and it is looking like that might actually happen.
  10. Raised caterpillars and released butterflies! (We used this awesome kit!–affiliate link)
  11. Going to Seven Peaks, parks, a splash pad, and other kid-fun type activities. Not too much of that, I wouldn’t want my kids expecting fun on a regular basis!

What have you been up to this summer? Has your summer flown by, or is it dragging just a leeeetle bit now that it’s August?

Psst… it’s almost my birthday! Come back soon for a freebie!

Ultimate Summer Book & Movie Bucket List

summer book movie bucket list copy

Want to prevent summer brain drain this summer? The Homeschool Experiment has come up with an awesome resource for us: a summer book and movie bucket list! I’m so grateful she was willing to let me share this list with you!

Click to download!

These movies are all available via Netflix (streaming or DVD rental) and are “G, PG, or the equivalent.” It’s a huge list of family friendly books with movies to enjoy once you finish the book! She calls this “Movie Literature,” and I love it. Typically her family reads the book first and follows with the movie, but has a fun twist for series of books:

If it is a series of pictures books, we’ll read one a day for a week before watching the movie. If it’s something like Spiderwick, where the movie is based on all the books – we’ll read them all first. With others that have a movie for each book, like Harry Potter, we read them in order and watch the movies as we complete the books. And then other series that are chapter books, but only have one movie made like Judy Moody, we’ll just read the first book in the series.

You can peruse the whole list below (the links will take you to Amazon) or download the PDF here!
Be sure to swing by The Homeschool Experiment to say thanks! Please note:

Please review any books or movies to make sure they fit within your family’s standards before using them. The books are linked to Amazon, where you can find the author and publishing information. Also, some of the movies do not have the same name as the book. If that is the case, I’ve included the movie’s name after the book title.

The Adventures of Pinocchio*
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer*, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn* – The Adventures of Huck Finn
Alice – Alice Upside Down
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland*, Through the Looking Glass*
Amazing Adventures from Zoom’s Academy – Zoom
Anne of Green Gables*, Anne of Avonlea*
The Ant Bully
The Apple Dumpling Gang
Around the World in Eighty Days*
Arthur (series)
Babar the Elephant (series)
Baby Sitter’s Club (series)
Ballet Shoes
Bambi: A Life in the Woods*
Banner in the Sky – Third Man on the Mountain
Basil of Baker Street – The Great Mouse Detective
The Bear
Because of Winn-Dixie
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ*
The Biscuit Eater
Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses*
Black Beauty*
The Black Stallion
Blackbeard’s Ghost
The Borrowers
The Brave Little Toaster
Bridge to Terabithia
By the Great Horn Spoon! – The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin
Call of the Wild*
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlotte’s Web
Chateau Bon Vivant – Snowball Express
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car
Chrissa Stands Strong: An American Girl
Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch, & the WardrobePrince CaspianVoyage of the Dawn Treader
The Chronicles of Prydain – The Black Cauldron
City of Ember
Clifford the Big Red Dog – Clifford’s Really Big Movie
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court*
Curious George
The Dark is Rising Sequence
David Copperfield*
A Day with Wilbur Robinson – Meet the Robinsons
Doctor Dolittle*
Dream Days* – The Reluctant Dragon
Dumbo, the Flying Elephant
Ella Enchanted
Eloise (series)
Escape to Witch Mountain
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Freaky Friday
The Gnomobile
Great Expectations*
The Guardians of Childhood – Rise of the Guardians
Guardians of Ga’Hoole (series)
Gulliver’s Travels*
Hans Brinker, or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland
Harriet the Spy
Harry Potter – Sorcerer’s StoneThe Chamber of SecretsThe Prisoner of Azkaban
Hatchet – A Cry in the Wild
The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings – Cartoon Version
Horrid Henry (series)
Hotel for Dogs
How to Eat Fried Worms
How to Train Your Dragon (series)
Howl’s Moving Castle
The Hundred and One Dalmatians
The Incredible Journey
The Indian in the Cupboard
The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Hugo
The Iron Man – The Iron Giant
James and the Giant Peach
Johnny Tremain
A Journey to the Center of the Earth*
Judy MoodyStink (series)
The Jungle Book*
The King’s Damosel – Quest for Camelot
Lassie Come-Home
The Last Unicorn
Little Lord Fauntleroy*
A Little Princess*
The Little White Horse – The Secret of Moonacre
Little Women*, Little Men*
The Littles
The Lost Ones – The Island at the Top of the World
Lottie & Lisa – The Parent Trap
Madeline (series)
The Magic Bed Knob, Bonfires and Broomsticks – Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Mars Needs Moms!
Mary Poppins
Meet Felicity: An American Girl – Felicity: An American Girl Adventure
Meet Kit: An American Girl – Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Meet Molly: An American Girl – Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front
Meet Samantha: An American Girl – Samantha: An American Girl Holiday
Miss Spider (series)
Misty of Chincoteague – Misty
Monkeys, Go Home
Mother Carey’s Chickens* – Summer Magic
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – The Secret of NIMH
My Friend FlickaThunderhead
Nancy Drew (series)
The Neverending Story
Nicholas Nickleby*
The Night at the Museum
Nim’s Island
Nurse Matilda – Nanny McPhee
The Old Curiosity Shop*
Old Yeller
Oliver Twist*
One Thousand and One Nights* – The Thief of Bagdad & 1001 Arabian Nights
Oz – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz*, The Marvelous Land of Oz* – Return to Oz, Ozma of Oz*
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Peter Pan*
The Pickwick Papers*
Pippi Longstocking
The Polar Express
The Princess and the Goblin*
The Princess Diaries (series)
Ramona (series)
Rascal: A Memoir of a Better Era
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm*
The Rescuers
Robinson Crusoe*
The Secret Garden*
A Series of Unfortunate Events (series)
Seuss – The Butter Battle BookThe Cat in the HatGreen Eggs & Ham – Dr. Seuss on the Loose, Horton Hatches the EggHorton Hears a WhoHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!The LoraxThe Sneetches & Other Stories – Dr. Seuss on the Loose
The Sheep-Pig – Babe
The Spiderwick Chronicles (series)
Stuart Little
Swiss Family Robinson
The Sword in the Stone
The Tale of Despereaux
A Tale of Two Cities*
Thomasina: The Cat Who Thought She Was God
The Three Musketeers*
Toby Tyler*
Treasure Island*
The Trumpet of the Swan
Tuck Everlasting
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea*
The Ugly Dachshund
Uncle Remus & Brer Rabbit* – The Adventures of Brer Rabbit
Undercover Cat – That Darn Cat
The Water Horse
The Water-Babies*
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story
Where the Red Fern Grows
White Fang*
The Wind in the Willows*
The Witches
A Wrinkle in Time
The Year of the Horse – The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit
The Yearling
*eBook available for free through Project Gutenberg

These are books that are supposed to be released as movies in the next year or so:
Ender’s Game (2013)
Ethel and Ernest (TBA 2013)
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (Epic, 2013)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters (2013)
The Phantom Tollbooth (TBA 2013)
Punk Farm (TBA 2014)
Where’s Waldo?, series (Where’s Waldo, TBA 2013)


An Unpinnable Halloween

I believe my daughter is waving to her reflection in this picture, and my toddler is grinning at a stranger in the distance.

I went to bed last night with delusions of grandeur, thinking I would wake up early and surprise the kids with some Pumpkin Pancakes (like these on the Idea Door!).
I woke up tired, grumpy, and late.

I believe my daughter is waving to her reflection in this picture, and my toddler is grinning at a stranger in the distance.

In this picture you’ll notice three girly girls, dressed up in costume. We were so late in getting ready that I missed the chance to take a photo of my son, and my oldest daughter was rushed out the door with her hair in a sloppy ponytail because we couldn’t find the brush and she was going to be late. No time for cute cowgirl braids. As she ran out I admonished, “Keep your hat on so no one sees your hair!”

Nicole, Abigail, and I went to the annual costume parade at the school but got there late, and missed Rebecca actually parading around. Instead we sat in the hallway with her and watched the other children go by on their way back to class, as Rebecca’s class was one of the first to go. (Frankly, I preferred this to getting there super early and waitingwaitingwaiting to catch a glimpse of my kid before she’s gone!)

Oh well. I’m a slacker. I decided I would make a cute little Halloween themed lunch. (These mummy pizzas are adorable, but the cookie cutter pumpkin sandwich is more my lazy style.) I would be awake, alert, and could master a little Halloween fun. We didn’t start school till just before noon and rushed through it before my daughter came home from her short day at school…

… then I realized I was out of bread, so we just reheated baked potatoes for lunch.

Our traditional pre-trick or treating bowl of piping hot chili will be waylaid by the fact that I didn’t have the ingredients for chili on hand.
Carving pumpkins? Didn’t buy ’em.
Decorating the house? Decorations were in storage… sure hope we get our Christmas decor out before February.

This blog is officially unpinnable, as far as this Halloween is concerned.

I’m just keeping it real for you. If you ever feel like less-than-the-best because of those cutesy, crafty moms on Pinterest who deck out their porches and create crafts for the season and bake up a storm, all in the name of enjoying a holiday with their family, I just wanted to let you know: you’re not alone.

Are you a slacker Halloween mom?

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