Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Hike" at Silver Lake ... Perfect for the kiddos


We are so lucky to live in a place so full of beauty. I'm sure every one thinks this of where they live; be it the ocean, the desert, the bright lights of the city. But to me few things can compare with the beauty of the mountains surroundung Salt Lake City.

I have heard about this wonderful family friendly hike at Silver Lake just up Big Cottonwood Canyon and have been wanting to check it out for awhile now. This Saturday we had the rarity of nothing planned and the weather was gorgeous so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to check it out.

About 30 minutes away right outside of Brighton ski resort is Silver Lake. It is a breathtaking spot nestled in the mountains. The "Hike" was a super easy and consisted of an even boardwalk for about 2/3 of the way around the lake. It was pretty and fun, long enough to make it worthwhile but short enough the kids weren't complaining at the end. We packed a picnic and ate first. It was a perfect day playing in the beauty of our "backyard"!







Monday, July 13, 2015

"Little" a turns 4


 
 
Our little A is 4 today! The time has gone by so quickly! I still think of her as my “Baby.” She is not a baby anymore at all. Little a is growing up so fast! She is a precocious, intelligent, curious, spunky, fun loving, little ball of energy. She is such a sweet little beauty who is such a fun, athletic little tomboy.

…. And no matter how big she gets… She will still be my “Baby”.
 
Here's some shots from her "4 year-old" photo shoot at the always amazing FOTOFLY studios
 


 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Utah Arts Fest 2015









  
Jeff and I have been going to the Utah Arts Festival since we first started dating. We have loved seeing all the amazing art and entertainment. Jeff has fun caching up with artist friends that are showing at the fest. Over the years our festival going experience has evolved... or maybe it's devolved, depending on how you look at it. Gone were the days of leisurely strolls through the artists booths, now we spend 90 percent of our time crafting in the kids ART yard. Not that this change was bad, we just missed the art part of the Arts Fest.

This year we came up with a great solution. We did the fest twice.

Thursday, my Mom and Dad graciously had A and a over for a fun sleepover freeing Jeff and I up for an evening of grown-up fest going. We strolled hand in hand around enjoying the artists booths, listening to the funky fun sounds of the "Saliva Sisters" and Jeff got to visit with some old artist friends. It was a fantastic night and we closed the Festival down.

 Saturday we loaded up the kids and headed down town for some family art fun. We Spent 99% of the time at the ART Yard. The YARD had an Egyptian theme this year. The kids painted huge paper mache Mummy's and Sphinx. They created tons of fun free make and take crafts and had a blast at the instrument "petting zoo" hosted by Summerhayes Music. We had some delicious ice cream treats to cool us down provided by "SO Delicious." The kids had a FANTASTIC time at the festival and weren't dragged through the vendor booths.

Doing the Festival twice this year was a great idea. We all got to enjoy our favorite parts of the festival in a fun relaxed way.

UTAH ARTS FEST 2015 was HIT!





 








Friday, May 8, 2015

Disneyland 2015



Disneyland 2015!!! My Mom and Dad did it again! They gave us the most magical experience. I know it's completely cliche but Disneyland (for us) really is one of the most magical places on earth. It's not just the rides and characters and Disney awesomeness; It's the amazing family experience that we got to share.

We started the trip off with a limo ride to the airport and had a perfect flight via Jet blue (Dad said he only ever wants to fly Jet Blue).  We stayed at the Grand Californian and Mom and Dad had the "Magic Makers"  "help"  mickey leave a huge welcome package for the kids full of awesome treats and gifts.

We spent whirlwind days in the parks, full of rides and the kids meeting their favorite "Stars". I think little a's biggest moment was meeting "Elsa". She looked so very nervous! Big A's favorite was the roller coaster, California Screaming. He is such the little daredevil (don't know where he gets that from...ahem). They both got picked to be part of the Jedi Training and got to "fight" Darth Vader. We did Character Dining (amazing!) and played in the hotel's beautiful pools. The entire trip was perfect. It's cheesy and cliche and all of that but it was pure family Magic.

 I hope the kids will never forget it (little a is only 3), I hope Mom and Dad had an awesome time (rides are NOT their favorite), I know that I will never ever forget it.













 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mickey Shortbread Cookies ... Baking with Little A



Baking with my girl…..

Foodie nerds that we are, we watch a lot of the cooking competition shows and evil parents that we are we make the kids watch with us. As much as they will tell you the contrary they actually like watching them with us, especially “Master Chef Junior”. Little A is convinced that she is going to be on the show  “When I'm really big, like 8 or something.”

 I figure it’s time to let her start helping in the kitchen. What better project for a three year old then cookies? We made some fantastic shortbread cookies (mickey shaped of course!) and little A did a ton of the work. They turned out SO yummy! Who knows maybe she will be berated by Mr. Ramsey in a few years.

Shortbread Cookies (Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe)

Ingredients
  • 3/4 pound butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
·         Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Directions
 
Mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour and salt, (I use Martha’s trick of mixing them up with a Wisk instead of sifting!) then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a shaped cutter of your choice (I like mickey!). Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

                       Enjoy!!




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Eye of a Stranger... recognizing kindness


Big A with his gift
It seems like you hear about “Stranger Danger” all the time. It was preached when I was a kid and it’s still a big thing today for my kids. There are many dangers out there and we have to be careful, play it safe. Watching the nightly news will likely make you want to lock your children away Rapunzel style till their 18… maybe even longer. While we all have to watch out for these dangers sometimes a stranger can make your day. This is because a stranger is not obligated to love you, like your family, has no connection to you like a friend. They are a total and complete enigma that can sometimes see something you overlook every day.
 
Case in point…….

 Me and A and a were shopping at the Disney store the other day. Big A had been a good boy, behaving, but little a had been a bit of a handful that day so a lot of my attention was focused on trying to wrangle her in. We looked through the store at all the new toys and Big A showed me a cute costume he liked. He was just browsing around being good so I wasn’t really focused on him.
 
We were about to leave the store when a  trio of ladies walked over to us and one stepped up and said “Excuse me sir,” to A. She then smiled at me and continued. “We have been looking though the store and noticed what a nice boy you are. You’ve said excuse me and thank you, helped your sister and been very sweet and mannerly this whole time. I used to be a 2nd grade teacher and so I know how rare it is for a little boy to be so nice and polite. I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate mannerly little boys and so I bought you a gift to say thank you for being so good.” And she handed A a bag. “I saw you have a sister so I got her a little something too so she wouldn’t be left out, (she handed little a a bag too) but I want you to know this is because you are such a kind and mannerly boy and I want you to know that people notice.” We all thanked her and she left saying to me “You have a special boy there.” She had gotten Big A a Star Wars ship and little a a stuffed toy.
 
It is kind of sad. I had been so distracted that I had not really paid much attention to my Big A. He really is such a good boy all the time I think sometimes I take it for granted. It completely amazed me that my sweet little guy had made such an impression on this kind stranger that she would do something like that for him. A stranger made me remember how amazing and special my Big A is, made me realize that I shouldn’t take it for granted. Sometimes a stranger can offer much more than danger….

Monday, March 9, 2015

punishment (or consequences) chart ... free printable

 

Punishments… the bane of any parent’s existence. When to punish, how much?? You don’t want to over punish but you don’t want to “under” punish either. Why can’t kids just all be perfect and save us parents this big hassle?

At our house we were having a couple of problems in the punishment area. First off Jeff and I are on opposite ends of the punishment spectrum. I’m an under punisher and he’s an over punisher. We were having a hard time agreeing what really fit what was going on, we were confounded and the kids were confused, all of which made for some very unproductive situations. Looking for an idea I came across the idea of a “punishment chart” (some call it a clip system). Where the kids start each day “good" and as they do bad things they progress down the chart to worse punishments (or consequences if you want to be all PC about it). I created one and printed little pic’s of the kids faces to move down the chart. (Jeff thought I should have used grumpy faced pics instead!)

It has worked out wonderfully. Jeff and I stay on the same page with punishments and the kids know what’s going to happen if they keep acting up. Now if they start acting up I can just say “You’re gonna move down the chart!” and it curbs things, especially if they have already moved down a little. An added benefit is they are proud if they don’t move down in a day, “Mommy I was “Good” all Day!”

For a Free printable of the chart click HERE