Category Archives: Just For Fun

It’s the Look of L♥VE

Hearts, hearts everywhere. We couldn’t let Valentine’s Day arrive without some pink and red around the house.

Most of the decorations are ones we made before, or purchased years ago.

But I did add some new items. Some heart garland, using different size punches and twine, that I felt inspired to create after seeing Lisa Leonard’s display. I love her blog.

And some fancy hearts to line the entertainment center. (Thanks for the use of all the punches, Jo!)

Plus an “XOXO” printable I put together that you can download here.

We have a few treats planned for the season. One we made already, but didn’t turn out exactly like I envisioned, or as pictured here. “Blondies” using Valentine-colored M&Ms. Take any cookie recipe that you love (Colin used our trusted Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe), but replace the chocolate chips with candies, then spread in a 9×13 pan. The trick, which neither of us realized, is to reserve some candies and press on top of the spread dough. Otherwise you can’t even tell they’re in there.

Ours aren’t very festive looking but they sure tasted good.

Our other planned goody is brownies cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter, which we plan to eat for Valentine’s Day dessert.


What kinds of things do you do for Valentine’s Day?

Lollipop Valentines

I saw an idea for homemade Valentines on Pinterest that I wanted to try for Warren’s classmates. I thought it was clever and pretty easy to pull off.

Take a picture of your kid holding out his arm, add some hearts and “Happy Valentin’s Day!” (I used my Creative Memories program for the layout and to add the bokeh hearts and hand-drawn shapes), print as 4×6 photos at Costco, make slits at the top and bottom of the fist, and insert lollipop of choice.

I made a few versions and had him choose. He decided this one would be for the boys:

And this one he’d give to the girls:

Pretty simple and pretty cute.

My only regret is that we couldn’t use Livesaver’s Swirled Pops for the treat. They don’t make them anymore. Such a shame because they were the best sucker at Valentine’s Day. My favorite was the Strawberry & Vanilla flavor. I guess Blow Pops will just have to suffice.


What do you do for Valentines at your house? Do you make them from scratch or buy the ones that come in a pack at the grocery store?

Playing School

It’s Christmas Break, but that doesn’t stop Warren from attending school. He engaged us all in the time-honored game of “playing school,” with curriculum developed on the fly that morning. They were the students, I was the teacher, with heavy collaboration by Warren.

Here is how our day went:

Art— watercolor painting

Snack & Recess— Goldfish crackers and playground time

Botany— Discussion of evergreen trees (parts labeled with inventive spelling)

Writing— Practicing letters, as Jake and Joey look on

Religious Studies— Understanding the Nativity

{Really, it was just a great excuse to use my new camera.}


“I Got a Nikon Camera…”

“I love to take a photograph.”

That’s the Paul Simon song that I’ve had in my head ever since we purchased this little beauty (an early Christmas present):

The Nikon D5100. I’m in love. Now you will see random, meaningless pictures show up on blog posts just because I’m practicing. Like this one:

It’s the handle of the orange tree planter we inherited from friends that just moved to Utah. (Thanks again, Nicole and Ryan! We miss you guys.)

Needless to say, I have much to learn about this camera. But I can’t wait to get started.

“Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away…”

{Hopefully, the song is sufficiently stuck in your head now, too.}

P.S. A special shout out of thanks to Mary Karlee for babysitting at the last minute so we could go buy this new toy and go see a movie at the theater!

The Eggnog to Beat All Eggnogs

We came upon this treat completely by accident.

On our most recent overnight temple trip we realized we didn’t bring any milk. We made a quick pit stop at Bristol Farms grocery store on Westwood Boulevard and I walked in to buy a half gallon that was sure to be $6.

Glancing at the dairy shelf, I noticed eggnog (a Christmas weakness of ours) in a variety of brands. But the one that caught my eye was in a glass bottle. It just had to be good. I called Colin, who was sitting with the kids in the car, and asked if he agreed that it was worth the extra cash to try this new brand or if we should just stick to the Knudsens that we already liked just fine.

His sensibility almost won out. But when I got to the checkout and saw one more small refrigerator full of the pretty bottles, I couldn’t pass it by again. It must have been fate. Just to be sure, I asked the cashier what he thought of the Broguiere’s Dairy brand. He hadn’t personally tried it (not a nog drinker), but he said it always sold out every Christmas season. Just then another cashier chimed in and then another to emphatically tell me that this is the best eggnog around. Sold.

Fresh, creamy, and so, so rich, it’s hard to go back to what we once called good.

You have me Broguiere’s. You have me. I’m yours completely come December 1st. Or late November. But who’s counting? Coupled with Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps, you’re the finest of the season.

Who knew that poor planning could lead to such joy?

Journey’s Newest Fan

Maddie was digging through our cd collection one day and stumbled across this classic rock album: “Infinity” by Journey. Yes, Journey. I’m not ashamed.

“What’s that, Mama?” she inquired after checking out the artwork. “That’s Journey,” I told her with eyes half open (she made her discovery around 6AM). The image on the front was beyond me, especially that early in the morning, so I left her to her own artistic interpretation to determine.

For whatever reason, she has decided that this cd is a must-have item. It comes with her in the car when we pick up Warren from school. She carries it around the house singing, “Journey, Journey, Jour-NEY!” and can often get Warren to join in. It can mostly be found in her back pack, where many a treasured item resides.

She has never actually heard the music. I don’t think we’ve ever loaded it onto our computer to add to the iTunes playlists. But she loves the cd. The actual physical object that is the cd. That night, after a long day of carrying it around, she lovingly placed it on the bookshelf outside her door. “So I can see it when I wake up,” she explained.

See, Journey. Your rock legacy lives on, even among the younger set. But I do wonder about the absence of Steve Perry. I mean, how do you go on without his hair do?

Christmas Wish Lists

Since it’s the beginning of Christmas season, we decided to have the two older kids make wish lists. Helpful for us, fun for them. They’re too young to write the items down themselves so Colin and I acted as scribes as they relayed their ideas.

This is the first year we’ve had them do this. We told them to wish big. The sky’s the limit when it comes to writing down what they want as gifts. However, we also told them that no matter how many things they listed, they’d only be getting a couple of them, and not necessarily in the order they were written, lest they get some grand idea that putting it to paper made it official. From their lips to Santa’s ears, or something. It would just be a fun way to think about what they really wanted.

Warren was as excited as any 6-year-old boy could be to begin the task. Giddy, he paced around the living room, telling me it helped him think better, as he came up with ideas far and wide. The following is his list as strictly dictated, minus the drill, matches, and saw that he also requested:

Warren’s Wish List 2011

  1. Mountain bike
  2. Computer
  3. Watch (digital)
  4. Spy kit
  5. Magic Treehouse books
  6. Beyblades
  7. Telescope
  8. Real tools
  9. Drawing set
  10. CB radio
  11. Hot Wheels race track
  12. Hot Wheels cars
  13. Emergency candles
  14. Stereo
  15. T.V.
  16. Picture frames (for his artwork)
  17. A box of wood
  18. A box of metal
  19. Yarn (red)
  20. Pumpkin carving kit
  21. Chapter books
  22. Roll of stickers (Star Wars)
  23. Drawing journal
  24. How To Draw books
  25. Treasure chest
  26. Pretend gold and diamonds (for the chest)
  27. Lego police station
  28. Lego fire station
  29. Lego X-Wing fighter
  30. Clay for sculpting
  31. Sculpting tools
  32. Black lights
  33. Police badge (real looking)
  34. Sand buckets
  35. Long metal shovel
  36. Dice
  37. Chess game
  38. Wall paper/stickers (Star Wars or fire trucks)
  39. New sneakers with laces
  40. Calvin and Hobbes books
  41. Weaving materials
  42. Rope/lasso
  43. Chandelier
  44. Wall clock
  45. Ceramic water pitcher (blue and green)
  46. Jeans
  47. Giant blanket
  48. Money (“Like pennies,” he said)
  49. Droid phone
  50. Floor tiles
  51. Beyblade stadium
  52. Gold/silver paper
  53. Art from scrap materials
  54. Backpack
  55. Basket for toys
  56. Bureau drawers
  57. String
  58. Measuring tape
  59. Scotch tape/duct tape/blue painter’s tape
  60. Cardboard boxes
  61. Stuffed animals
  62. Watercolors
  63. Flossers
  64. Glass bottles
  65. Paper cups
  66. Air fresheners (fruit scented)
  67. Hair spray

We explained the same rules to Maddie. This was her chance to tell us what she most desired for Christmas. Colin got the pad of paper and pen ready and asked her what presents she wanted. Her list was a tad different from Warren’s:

Madeline’s Wish List 2011

  1. Pink

Perhaps she is wise leaving it up to interpretation. A quick search in Amazon’s toy section yielded approximately 5,200 suggestions in the “2-4 Years” category. Obviously, she’s found the loophole.

What I Found When I Came Out of the Shower No. 2

Unlike last time, Maddie took the opportunity to be counter-productive while I showered. Today, I walked out to find marker all over her face. Luckily, it was a) easy to remove thanks to that “washable” guarantee from Crayola, and b) all that she decided to deface instead of, say, the wall.

Note to self: make writing tools inaccessible to toddlers while in another room for more than two minutes. Better include scissors in that group, while I’m at it.