Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Fun List!!!

Summer Fun List
Even before our oldest was in school I have loved making a Summer Fun List! We don't always have vacations or do expensive things with our family. But when you make a list full of fun ideas it makes summer that much more fun! I love finding joy in doing little things. And when you look back over your summer your kids are so excited to see all the fun things they did. And just like Phineas and Ferb our goal is to have the best summer ever!!! Plus when my kids can help give ideas everyone wins!

Going to the Beach

cousin movie night
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Art Projects

Movies outside with screen projector
Nerf Gun Battle
Mother/Daughter Pedicures

Photo Shoots
Sidewalk chalk
Bubble Tag

Bike rides

Make crepes
Make ice cream

Hop Scotch

Sidewalk Paint

Pioneer trek
Marshmallow Fight

Science Experiments
sponge tag
do a puzzle
Homemade slime
Paper Airplanes

tide pools
watch musicals
Koi Pond
Shadow puppets
visit at Sunrise Home (retirement home)
Summer Reading (Our Library has a great program)
Fly a Kite
Photography Scavenger Hunt
Watermelon spitting contest

Fire pit Dinners and s’mores
Harry Potter Marathon

Library trips (Reading program)
The Lagoon with cousins
Water Balloon Fight
Build a Super fort
Playdoh creations
Pizza Party
Pokémon Night
Make Root Beer Floats
Sandcastle contest
Lego Day
Giant Board Game
Visit the Temple
Pen pals
Baseball Games
Give service
Rock Band

make a fort
Lemonade stand
Write to missionaries
audio books
visit dad at work and have lunch together
Concert in a park
make strawberry jam
write poems
Family game night
Make popsicles
Dance Party

Make a music video
Play chess
Discovery Park
Hikes (Early before it's crazy hot)
Phoenix Children's Museum (First Friday Free)
Volunteer at Feed My Starving Children
Desert Botanical Gardens (Free 2nd Tuesday of the month)
Mom Date to children's theater
Japanese Friendship Garden
Arizona Museum of Natural History
Arizona Science Museum

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (Free Thursdays)
Splash Pad
Cow Appreciation Day July 14th
Schnefpf Farms
Home Depot and Lowe's Workshops

Papago's Park
Super Farm (Saturdays Free)
Visit Temple Square

Mt. Timpanpgos caves

I found lots of great ideas Here thanks to my friend Jen.
You can also follow me
here for kid activities I have pinned.

Goals for me!

organize pictures
Print up Ginger's pictures for her 1st year
sew as much as I can.
Halloween costumes
work on family history

I love giving the boys down time and working on project myself. Summers are so great. Staying up late listening to books or swimming with friends. You can sleep in or get up early for an adventure. It's a perfect time to read, create, play, and do nothing.

Now that I have decided what to do it's time to start putting things on the calendar...

Happy Summer!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Remembering Grandma

Don't you love old pictures? This is my husband's grandmother. And even though she is quite a bit older than me she was my friend. I love her dearly. And I look forward to the day when I can see her again and meet her sweetheart. And it won't matter that we are years apart. I imagine her this way when she will be resurrected. Fabulous 40's hair style and full brows. With a glowing smile and a her eyes full of love for her sweetheart, who will be at her side.

I am thankful I spent time with her here on earth. Our reunion will be so much sweeter. This wonderful woman loved our Savior and had a testimony of Him. She was married in the Mesa Arizona temple. She drove all the way to LA after her sealing, or marriage, because she wanted her reception that same day. She raised 4 wonderful children. I am so thankful for the upbringing my father in law had. He is a wonderful guy.  Grandma was a great example of someone who served the Lord. She served for 13 years as Stake Relief Society President in the Huntington Beach Stake. (Relief Society is our Church's woman's group. A stake is a large area which makes up several congregations.) I always loved when sisters would tell me about her when Grandma was RS president. I use to live in the Huntington Beach Stake. Some sisters would tell me how she could do anything. Or how she took them under her wing. They tell me how she helped and encouraged them. She was a very talented homemaker.

I remember at her second husband's service they had a luncheon put on my her ward. Someone asked if they should call someone to put away the chairs. She told them no. Her family can take care of that. And she told them and they went to work. It was wonderful to see the great matriarch that she was. She set a great example for her family.

We shared a love for family history. She told me stories and let me scan all her pictures. I would try and send her pictures of my kids. My mom even came with me one time and helped me scan her pictures. It was hard to keep the kids out of her stuff, listen to her, and scan the pictures. She loved the company. And she was always so willing to give me (or anyone) any of her paintings. She was a very talented painter. I love having her painting in my home to remind me of her. (She told us she wanted all her art at her service luncheon after she died. And we couldn't leave till all the painting were accounted for. I was a little concerned about who would get the clown ones, but my hip niece loved them and the problem was solved)

And I learned even more from her. We loved seeing her at the Kerr Family Christmas. And we would visit her in the fall when we would go apple picking. She always loved when we would come. One time I was going to wake up one of my kids so they could see her and she told me to let them rest. She was so no nonsense about that kind of thing. She told me they needed their rest. And we tried to visit in May for her birthday. It was a little hard being there too long as she had cats and I feel crummy when I am around them. But it was always worth the sacrifice.

As she got older she started to lose her hearing and her sight. I can't imagine the loneliness that would bring. It has to be hard be an older woman. Your life is spent taking car of everyone. You are the center of your children's world. You are active at church and in the community. You then have grandchildren and your life is filled with more love. But then it can be harder to be everywhere you want to be. Harder to take care of yourself. It would be so hard to lose your hearing or vision. Harder to feel connected to your family or ward family. I can't imagine not even having books to comfort me when I get older. And of course Grandma was loved! And invited places. And we loved her. But it must have been lonely. That can happen when you live alone and not all your family is close.

I was talking to my father in law about it one time. I wanted her to know that we loved her and were thinking about her. He told me to call her. I always felt bad when we did because she couldn't hear us and sometimes she sounded frustrated. How can you talk to someone who was losing their hearing on the phone. He said that's not why you should call her. I found out he called his mom everyday. He didn't talk long. He just checked on her. But she knew that he was thinking about her. And I learned an important lesson. I started calling her every Sunday. We didn't talk long. A lot of times she didn't really hear what I was saying. But she knew I was thinking of her. She would tell me to give my kids her love. She might tell me a fun thing that happened that week. And I found that as I did this my love for her grew. And her love for me grew as well.

One time when I called her I asked her what she was doing. She replied, "Oh, just waiting for you to call." I am so thankful for the lesson my father in law and grandmother taught me. Life is busy when your children are young. But if we can take time to remember and show our love to others our lives will be richly blessed. She wasn't just my husband's grandmother. She was my friend. And I look forward to seeing her again. And I hope that when I am in those golden years, when my life slows down, that someone will visit me or give me a call.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Calvin & Hobbes Birthday Party

My three boys LOVE Calvin and Hobbes. Draco here has loved him since he was like 3. He couldn't 'read' yet but would "read" his brothers comics and quote the lines he knew. He wore his Linus shirt from Halloween all the time and called it his Calvin shirt. He was due for a new one. This time instead of using a sharpie to draw lines we painted stripes with blue tape and fabric paint. (I would suggest the marker and quilting ruler next time. Much easier) We grabbed a picture of him with his stuffed Hobbes he got for Christmas.
It was his 2nd favorite present after this. I found a pattern for free here. So thankful I found it as I was going to be making my own. (saved me so much time!)  Draco loves his Hobbes. (And so does baby sister)

To decorate for his party I was able to get some comics to use for a backdrop from a girl from my church. I am so thankful for a silhouette. I can make a matching birthday banner pretty quickly. I had some orange crepe paper and made it fringey to switch it up. I love how crepe paper is cheap and colorful. It's a great way to make a party look festive. I printed up some fun prints of Calvin and Hobbes to add to the mix.

We kept the food simple by making popcorn with our popcorn maker. So easy and cheap. Plus it has less carbs for my diabetic son than microwave popcorn. I did flavored water instead of punch or soda. It's cheaper, easier, and doesn't have any carbs. We will have diet soda for him sometimes but I try to not let my other kids drink diet soda. Flavored water makes it easier. And don't the orange slices make it look classy? And match our décor.We made 'tiger tails' from pretzel rods dipped in orange melts and drizzled with dark chocolate. I love salty and sweet together. I had the kids take those home to keep the sweets to a minimum.

I was also told we had to have Calvin's favorite: Chocolate chip cookies! Draco loves the comic where Calvin drinks an elixir that turns him invisible. They after removing his clothes  he is free to sneak into the cookie jar. It ends with Calvin's mom yelling at Calvin, demanding to know why he is naked and sneaking into the cookies. Perfect humor for a 7 year old!

I am really excited about how his cake turned out. It was pretty easy to do. I was searching for ideas and could only find fondant made Calvin and Hobbes. And I knew that wasn't in my skill set quite yet. This method for transferring images would work great for so many things. I wish I would have discovered it years ago. I used Pooh Bear Gold for his skin and a mix of yellow and orange for his hair. The best part was my son's face when he saw it. He loved it!

How cute it Calvin??? I was a little scared it wouldn't work out. My plan B was some orange bunting for the top. So glad it turned out!

I love having parties based on characters from books. Even if they are comics. Our family loves reading. And having parties based of books just encourages reading and brings characters to life.

We made his piñata as well. Easy and so much cheaper. We wanted to make an alien that Spaceman Spiff liked to battle. We searched for the simplest one. (Calvin likes to pretend his teacher Miss Wormwood, or Suzie, or anyone he doesn't like is an alien he has to defeat. Gotta love his imagination!) I was going to make it the shape of the alien, but kept it simple by just using a box. I would cut some slits into unless you want to make it challenging. We filled it with cheap candy and party favors from the $1 store. (Cheap candy = Great candy for low blood sugars)

Just like with our Percy Jackson Party I did my research. I had scored this from a garage sale. I have read Calvin and Hobbes before but I was looking for fun ideas for his party.
We knew our party needed newspaper hats and water balloons.

This mischievous boy loved his party. And he loved introducing his friends to Calvin and Hobbes. Some of them were already fans. Most of the parents were as well. I love that he loves this character so much. And I love that all the brothers quote him together.

The kids were pretty great at letting me get a picture before our water balloon fight. Grady put the balloons in water to keep them cool, but it was still too hot. We had to redo a bunch for the fight. We had them play sardines, a game of hide and go seek, but you stay with someone instead of tagging them.

I love how I got this balloon right before it popped and right after.


I loved keeping it simple. Our activities were making the hats, dress up clothes for free play, relay race, water balloon toss and the piñata. I loved seeing their joy from these simple party blowers.

I can't believe my sweet boy is 7!

Calvin and Hobbes create G.R.O.S.S, a club to Get Rid Of Slimey girlS. Good thing we didn't go along with that. Girls were totally welcomed at his party. Which was a good thing since we had so many of them show up. I love this sweet boy and I loved seeing him giggle and play with his friends.

Some of these items are affiliated links. You are welcomed to buy from anywhere. But I don't mind if you buy them from here. I only share items I really like or use. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Favorite Kid Books

I love reading! It fills my heart with joy to share a great book with my kids. I loved reading Percy Jackson and Harry Potter with my older kids. And I love reading story books with my younger kids. Yoda is 4 and it seems like that golden age. He is game for any book I pick. And Draco and Baby Girl can't help but come over. Here are some recent favorites...

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!

This is a great boy book! But girls will love it too! It's about a dinosaur who keeps "wrecking'' everything at school. So many fun dinosaur names. It's clever and funny. Your little boy or girl will be giggling for sure! And maybe even learn how to behave.


This clever book is about a dragon who wants his mom to keep reading him a book, over and over again. As a parent you can totally relate. This book heats up and kept my Yoda giggling. It was his favorite for a long time. We need to get this book. He wanted to read it again and again.

Yes, No, Maybe So

This clever book teaches what behavior is okay and what it not okay. (Click on the link. They have preview pages) My favorite page is the monkey pushing his brother on the swing under YES. Then it shows him just pushing his brother on the NO page. Then it shows him pushing his brother into a pile of leaves on the MAYBE SO page. I love teaching through silly examples. And even more when they rhythm.  Your kids will love this fun book.

Press Here

This fun book is a little different. I like how it actively involves the reader.  At first my 4 year old didn't know what to think of it. But soon he was loving it and cracking up. In case you haven't noticed, I love funny books.

The Day the Crayons Quit

I forget what kid found this book at the library. But we love it. Each of the crayons write letters to their owner to complain. Such a great perspective! It is a funny read. And I think it encourages us to be creative and think outside the box, even if it's just the crayon box.

Little Green Peas

This is an adorable fun book. I love when books teach simple things very clearly. Some color books aren't obvious enough for someone learning colors to really get it. When kids are young we are teaching them names of things, colors, counting, shapes, noises. And when it's not clear it can be confusing. This is a great read with great illustrations. Very cute and clever!

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

I love Mo Willems! And Yoda really loves this pigeon series. He got this from my dad on his birthday. He loves arguing with me on whatever we are reading about. And any book by Mo Willems is fun to read, even when you are an adult. Very entertaining. You and your child will love it! Hoping to talk my son into having this for a party theme....

Pride & Prejudice

This series of 'classic' books for babies and children are my very favorite!!! My girlfriend who is a librarian told me about these books. I died!!! Allison Oliver does the art and it is too adorable!!! She is so talented! This series takes classics and teaches basic principals. For example P&P is a counting book. 1 English Village 2 Rich Gentleman 3 Houses ( Longbourn, Netherfield, and Pemberly), and you get the idea. They introduce the characters and little things here and there. What better way to prep baby girl to love Jane Austen than to read her these? Plus my boys can't help but read any book we have. So now they too are familiar with the story. We also have Sense and Sensibility, and Jane Eyre. I want to get Alice in Wonderland, A Secret Garden, and The Wizard of Oz. These books are so cute! And amazon really has the best price for them.

Amelia to Zora

This book is truly wonderful. This book focuses on 26 women who change the world. It is very empowering. This book serves as jumping point to know what biographies you would want to read. You get a little taste of what each of these women have done and they hope to inspire you to learn more. There are some great teaching conversations in this book. I love this book so much. I'm sure you will too!!!

I hope this helps you find some great kid books for your children!

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

― Emilie Buchwald

You are of course welcome to click on these links to learn more about these books. If you do purchase from amazon I would receive a small amount at no extra charge to you as they are affiliate links. But you are more than welcome to make a list and head to your local library. Summer is the perfect time to read! Feel free to share your favorite book in the comments! We love reading!