Random Fun Moments

Watching a FULL solar eclipse. We didn’t get to see all of it in Colorado, but probably about 2/3 and it was pretty awesome! It was a bright and sunny, warm day, but when the eclipse happened, the birds and crickets quieted and the air became considerably cooler, yet it was still daytime. It was pretty cool!

Random scary halloween guy in Lowes.

We found these cheap Groupons for a local, small amusement park called Heritage Square and since we’d not been before, we snatched them up! It was small, but a great time, mostly due to the go-karts and mini-roller coaster! It was the first time the kids had ever driven go karts and they loved “driving”. 

I told Annika and Tasha how much I’d loved the tilt a whirl ride as a kid, so the three of us went on…only, apparently, my head doesn’t enjoy spinning as much as it used to. About 15 seconds into the ride, our little cart was spinning faster than a bottle top and I couldn’t handle it. I didn’t feel sick, I can’t honestly describe how I felt, but I had to get off. So, they stopped the ride so I could exit. The kids went on the ride about 6 times more and loved every minute of it!

Around this time (September), I decided that I needed to do something differently on Sunday mornings to make a distinction for the kids between the Sabbath Day and the rest of the week. I started setting the table nicely and making a special breakfast before they woke up on Sundays. I made sure there was beautiful, calming music on and sat and ate with them as we talked. I’ve continued this tradition ever since and feel it has really helped our Sunday mornings start off on the right foot.


Back to School 2017

Each year, I have difficulty comprehending how my children could be in X grade and this year was no different! Kevin starting middle school, Tasha in her last year of middle school and Annika in 4th grade! Say what?!


Tasha-First day of 8th Grade

Annika-First day of 4th grade

Kevin-First day of clown school….I mean 6th grade!!!!


Happy Birthday Annika….again!

So, Annika had three birthday parties this year! THREE. That’s what happens when you try to keep your normal birthday traditions, travel to see family in a different country and have a friend birthday party 😉

Annika is obsessed with hamsters and requested a “Hamster Party”…

I tried to find as many hamster-related games as I could. They had a hamster-food eating race, played “hot-hamster” (like hot potato, except with a stuffed hamster) and find the carrot in the shavings game. 

All in all, it was a good time! A little crazy to throw together a birthday party a few days after you return from a 10 day vacation, but it turned out fun and that’s what matters…Even if my hamster cake was a fail 😉


O Canada-Part 3!

It was so hot and humid while we were visiting, that we had to hit the pool every afternoon to cool off!

The kids were overjoyed to find a frog!

This is an original carousel from the 1800’s. 

Me and my Mommy at Uncle Rolph’s Sanctuary

Playing Yum! It was always my favorite game as a kid. It’s a lot like Yahtzee. 

We had to go to the Falls at night. They had changing colors and a great fireworks show. Not to be missed in July.

My favorite town in the world, next to Ouray! Niagara-on-the-lake. We bought about 9 slabs of fudge 😉 Not to mention, we also bought butter tarts and a number of other baked goods from the local bakery. AND ice cream. 

I’d always wanted to take one of the horse-drawn carriage rides around NOTL and knew it would make it memorable for the kids. The bonus was that we learned a bunch of history as we went.


This was an incredible, authentic pizza place that we stopped at for lunch. The kids didn’t really care for real pizza, but us adults loved it!

This is Kevin at an old Apothecary shop.

The kids each took turns riding in Grammy’s car with her when we went places, so they’d have some special Grammy time.

My friend Melanie and her kids were able to meet us in a park so we’d have the chance to catch up in person. So good to see her and meet her kids! Annika and Liv got along famously! They claimed they really were sisters.

We had to leave Mom to drive to Buffalo and catch our flight home, but we took a detour on the way to go to Palmyra, NY and visit the homesite of Joseph Smith and his family.

Ammon’s paternal Grandmother actually lived in this house one summer, after the Smith family had vacated it.

The Sacred Grove was just as peaceful and serene as I remembered. 

The hill Cumorah monument

It was a crazy 10 day vacation, but we loved every minute of it!


O Canada-Part 2!

Finally, after all our running from place to place, we had a home base in St. Catherines. Mom and our gang spent our first day there in Niagara Falls doing all the fun things there.

We took the Hornblower boat ride by the Falls. The power of that water is incredible.

We escaped the heat and humidity by going through Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum. 

This Mona Lisa was painted only with nail polish!!!!! Can you imagine?

The kids had fun 😉

In all the years I lived in Ontario, I never tried Poutine. It never looked very appealing to me, but wow! Was I ever missing out. This stuff was to die-for. Amazing fries with cheese curds and gravy. Heaven! 

Time for the wax museum. Some of the figures were very life-like. Some, not so much, but still fun!

Niagara Falls!



O Canada!

After 15 years of marriage, we finally ventured back to my homeland for a vacation with the whole family. It was one I’d been looking forward to for a very long time and it didn’t disappoint. It was very busy and the kids didn’t love driving all over the place constantly, but they were troopers and had a great time along the way.

Layover in Chicago meant melt in your mouth “chicago-mix” popcorn (read: cheddar and caramel mix

It’s an old cottage with old stuff and it smells funny, but I adore it because it’s charming somehow and holds so many memories for me. You can imagine my joy when the kids walked through door and exclaimed “It smells so old! I LOVE IT!” They fell in love with it just as I have and even now, talk of how they long to go back.

It made me so happy that a lot of the decorative things that are there are the same as when I was growing up!

When we arrived, it was cloudy and cool and sprinkling. That didn’t stop us from getting on our swimsuits and jumping in the cool water to play. We swam and floated around until we were cold. Kevin & I played catch.

After two fun-filled days of sand and “sea” (bay), we headed to my Grandparents house for a visit. 

Nana took the opportunity right away to have some “girl” time. She gave each of us girls some special pieces of jewelry that were hers. I have her pearl necklace and earrings that Papa had made for her. I also have her charm bracelet that I always remember her wearing as I was growing up.

Papa had seen Kevin making pancakes on the blog and decided he and Kev would make some together. We had yummy pancakes, drowning in fresh Canadian maple syrup 😉

Time for the ladies to go shopping!

Nana and Papa treated us to the Mandarin for Annika’s birthday lunch. We ate ourselves silly and enjoyed every minute of this fabulous chinese buffet. It’s also been a favorite of mine since I was young. Annika got the special treatment of wearing this fabulous chinese hat and having a sundae.

I love these two so much!!!!

As if the Mandarin wasn’t enough, Nana also bought Annika a birthday cake. The kids were spoiled rotten the entire time…Papa offered to put cream on Kevin’s cereal, Nana slathered Tasha’s toast in butter and we ate until we looked like Oompa Loompa’s!

We were driving to our next stop, when we happened to pass this convenience store. I couldn’t believe it was still there! I used to ride my bike there as a child and spend all of my coins on their 5 and 10-cent candy! Ammon pulled a u-turn and made sure we stopped to take a photo…and buy a bunch of candy 😉

Next stop was to my old riding teacher, Frank Grelo at Grelo Farms. 

It was a dream fulfilled for me because I had quit riding with Frank far too soon and always regretted it. 

After leaving Franks place and grabbing lunch, we headed to meet my Mom’s side of the family in a park. We were about halfway there, when Annika realized she’d left her purse at the restaurant. Luckily, it was still there and we were able to retrieve it. Thankfully, my sweet extended family was kind enough to wait for us!

My Aun Marilyn picked up some things for the kids. So thoughtful!

My cousin Rebecca

The whole gang

My cousin Maureen and her friend Cheryl. 

The ladies

My cousin Reena

My cousin Ron and his wife Lisa

My Uncle Steve and Aunt Eileen

This place has been here since the 50’s I guess. Cute little hot dog place. My hot dog wasn’t great, but I guess its more about the experience =)



Girls Camp-High Adventure

This year, I had the privilege and challenge of serving as a 2nd year leader at girl camp. Girls camp is a week-long adventure with a bunch of girls ages 12-18 with very little sleep, lots of silly songs, motivational speakers, team-building exercises and lots of outdoor fun. 

We slept on cots in a military-style tent

This is part of the obstacle course

Tasha was so brave and conquered the high ropes course, and pretty much every other scary challenge at camp!

It was a long, hot, trying week. I learned a lot.

Free Stuff is the best

One thing I do love about living in the city is taking advantage of all the “free” days at various restaurants and stores. 

Dress up like a cow you say for a free meal…um, OK!!

Free slurpee!!

4th of July & Camping Extravagaanza!

After just returning from Ridgway a day or two before, we didn’t plan much. We did have Ellen over for her birthday and joined our neighbors in the evening while they set off fireworks. 

No personality, this girl 😉

Camping is one of our very favoritest(I just made it a word) things to do as a family. I think we managed to go twice last year, which was the most we’ve been in about three years. We definitely made some memories!

Normally, we only stay one night when we camp. We decided now that the kids are older, we’d attempt two nights. It worked out perfectly and made all the work of packing and unpacking worth the time. Planning food was a little challenging though. We grilled frozen personal pizzas our first night. Turned out darn good!

We used to camp on the ground. Now we’re over it. We like to be comfy 😉

What do you do when it pours rain for 2 hours while you’re camping?! Play PIT, naturally! Best. Game. Ever!

This is my “boys will be boys” picture.

Tried so hard to get a nice picture out of this kid. No luck. I love the way they turned out anyways!!!

Now, this girl on the other hand….

No problem posing here.

Look at this beautiful girl I found in the woods!

Ok. This was Ammon’s invention. Freaked me out a little at first, but look how cool it is!?