Starting graduate studies has forced me to rearrange my schedule, drop certain activities, and really look at my priorities.  One priority that I insist on making number 1 is my family.  I don’t want my family to ever feel that I put school, or a future job made possible by school, before them.

This week’s dilemma?  Hoob’s 16th birthday.  How do I make it special for her and still meet my school, church, and other family obligations?  Hoob’s birthday is on Friday which also happens to be a full-day youth conference for our stake (group of congregations in our church).  Here are my ideas to make the day as fun as possible for her:

*I had her choose the shoes she wants for her birthday from and we ordered them last week.  They should arrive before her birthday.

*Even though we will be visiting four historical sites in SLC during the day with other youth and leaders from our stake which makes it hard to celebrate her birthday, I have arranged with one of the ward (congregation) leaders to buy a birthday cake.  We will keep it secret from Hoob until we break for lunch and then we will pull it out and have the youth and leaders from our ward sing happy birthday to her and then share the cake.

*I will make sure to take pictures of the cake activity.

*Tomorrow afternoon I will put homework on hold and I will take Hoob shopping for new capris and flip-flops–the rest of her birthday presents.

*I always give my kids a chance to go to lunch or breakfast with me on their birthday for some one-on-one time with me.  Because of the youth conference starting early, making it necessary to eat a quick breakfast at home, and then including lunch and dinner as part of youth conference, Hoob and I will, instead, go to see a movie together that night as our one-on-one time.  The movie she has chosen?  “Green Lantern.”  Once again, homework will be put on hold.

*Of course I will wish her a happy birthday on facebook so that others can know it is her birthday.

*Hoob, or course, is anxious to get her driver’s license.  With Friday’s schedule being what it is, we will go Monday afternoon as soon as I am done with class to pick up her license.

I am hoping these ideas will help Hoob to have a special day.  Hoob is so good-natured, I really don’t have anything to worry about, but it really is about…

…making family #1!


Back on June 11, 2008 I wrote a post about gift ideas for graduates.  I was focusing on high school graduates because that is the season of life we are in right now.  We are half way through our six-in-a-row high school graduations.  As my daughter, Huh, decided to give campus life a try, I was trying to figure out what to give her for Christmas that would be most helpful to a college student.  Because she was moving 12 hours away from me to a city she is unfamiliar with, I hit upon the idea of giving her a GPS unit for Christmas. 

It turns out that a GPS unit was a great idea!  Not only did it help the two of us navigate to her new home, it helped us find other important places.   She needed a new windshield wiper blade.  Not a problem.  She used the GPS to list nearby auto parts stores and then chose one to navigate to.  She needed a grocery store.  Not a problem.  Again she used the GPS to locate nearby grocery stores.  When the two of us were craving Vietnamese food, the GPS unit came to the rescue by showing us several restaurants to choose from.

Although it was hard getting on a plane and leaving my daughter there, I was at least comforted that she will be able to find her way around her new city.  So, I add one more idea to my graduate gift idea list…

…a GPS unit…

…and a hug.

Here is a fun game we recently played with our youth.  It was a hit, so I thought I would share it here so that others can experience “Garbage Softball” too.

*The game is played using items you can find around home.  Anything goes. 

*Play it with normal softball rules (three strikes, 4 balls, three outs per inning, etc.).  We had a 6 run mercy rule because we weren’t sure how each inning would go.

*Only the pitcher and catcher get regular mitts.  Everyone else in the infield has to use other items from home as mitts (oven mitts, ski gloves, garden gloves, foam #1 hands, etc.).  The catcher also wears an old Halloween mask as the “catcher’s mask.”

*Outfielders have to be three-legged.  We used big hair bands to put around the partners legs to make them three-legged.

*The ball is a tennis ball, the bat is a tennis racquet.

*The batter has to wear reading glasses while batting and while running to 1st base.  Make sure the glasses make the vision blurry enough to make batting and running more difficult than normal.

*From 1st base to 2nd base the runner has to use crutches.  The runner has to use the crutches as crutches, they can’t pick the crutches up and run.

*From 2nd base to 3rd base the runner has to jump into an old laundry bag or gunny sack and hop all the way.

*From 3rd base to home the runner has to loop a giant rubber band around their legs twice and run sideways.

*Provide leaders who run the “handicap” items (reading glasses, crutches, laundry bag, rubber band) back to the original base once the runner is done with them so that the next runner can use them.

*Anything can be used as “handicap” items.  If you don’t have crutches or a giant rubber band, for example, you could use clown shoes or over-sized boots or old skis–basically it is whatever you can find!

*It is helpful if you have one leader as umpire behind the plate and one leader as umpire in the infield to make the calls at the other bases.  One leader can also be scorekeeper.

*Use old pillows as the bases.

*Play for a set time or until it is too dark to see.  Make sure the playing field is a large one, some of the kids can really pound a tennis ball!

We played until dark and then served chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk (it seemed “Septemberish” to us!).  The kids had a blast playing, and the leaders had a blast watching.

Give it a try sometime!

In July we will be going on a trip with my extended family (parents, siblings and their families), which is something we do together every few years.  This trip is going to be smaller in scale than past trips, but we are determined to wring every bit of fun out of the trip that we can.  On our family website we have been posting ideas and giving our opinions about things we can do on this trip.  We are planning activities that include the entire family as well as leaving times open for individual families to do things alone.  Many of our ideas could be used for stay-cations, family reunions, or other family gatherings, so I thought I would share:

*The area we are planning to visit has a few “commercial” tourist options available.  The top vote-getters for our family are tubing on the river and visiting the pools and waterslides.  We could also visit an arcade with lots of games and free movies on Friday evenings, an alpaca farm that offers tours, and a ranch that offers wagon rides complete with dinner and entertainment.  There are a couple of miniature golf courses available.  We are playing with the idea of creating a family (mini) golf tournament.

*It has been a tradition in our blended family for all the females to paint our fingernails and toenails all the same color for trips.  Our female relatives like the idea and want to do the same for this trip.  My 11-year-old niece is pushing for the color to be green this year.

*There are biking and hiking trails available.  We might pack picnic lunches and hit the trails for the day as a group, or we might leave this option open for individual families.

*The menfolk would like to fish the river.  Again, this option is open for the entire group or for individual families.  

*There are several of us who own Magic Bullets.  We are considering bringing them all along and having an afternoon of making smoothies and relaxing.

*We might use all of our digital cameras to go “hunting” for the best pics of wildlife.  We might even make it into a contest.

*Those in the group who are used to exercising daily might form a morning walking/running group.

*For the last big family trip we took (a cruise), Hub and I made t-shirts for the entire family to wear one day.  If we can come up with a cute idea, we might do the same thing this year.

*When our blended family went to Oregon last summer, one of the activities we did that was a hit was to play glow-in-the-dark tag on the beach.  My mom is already gathering glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets for a gigantic game of tag.  Hopefully we can find a place big enough to play it.

*If we can find a park we might play some softball, or steal-the -flag, frisbee, or other games we think of.

*We are checking to see if our accommodations have outdoor grills or firepits.  If they do, we plan to have a giant family cook-out.

*On the first morning of the trip we will all meet at my parents for breakfast before driving caravan style to our destination.

*Our accommodations are a bunch of mini-cabins owned by my 80-year-old aunt.  We plan on doing service for her by cleaning the cabins or finding other needs she has. 

It has been great to use the family website to bounce ideas off of each other.  As more and more ideas are presented, the excitement for the trip grows (especially among the kids).  If you’ve had any experiences that worked well with your family, please share!

 It’s been awhile since I posted a poll from our family.  I decided I’d better do another one now since Squid leaves next week for a two-year mission for our church and, therefore, won’t be available to participate in family polls.

The question:  When you have a bad day, what do you do to get over it?

The answers from our family (plus two who are like members of the family because it seems like they are at our house all the time):

Hub – Eat!

Kweenmama – Read or go for a walk.  Both are great ways to escape.

Squid – Go mountain biking.

Huh – Throw a ball at the fence for two hours.  Hit the basketball with the bat.  (Yup, she’s a softball player)

Plumber (Huh’s boyfriend) – Go to the gym or go for a drive.

Juju – Draw and listen to music at the same time.

Mack – Talk to my mommy.

SkiShop (Mack’s boyfriend) – Do something I like to do, like drawing.  Or play the guitar.

Shroom – Play on the X-box.

Hoob – Do something I like to do, like drawing.  It takes my mind off of things.

Yawlin – Cry.  Just kidding.  I scream into a pillow.

When SkiShop and Hoob learned that their answers were very similar they decided that they were the smartest of the group since “great minds think alike” dontcha know?

So there you have it folks!  Having a bad day?  Get over it by using our suggestions!

I think I might try hitting the basketball with a bat the next time I have a bad day…

Activities on a vacation don’t have to cost a lot.  Here are some ideas from our recent vacation to the Oregon coast:

*Shop online for affordable lodging.  Hub used the site (Vacation Rentals by Owner) to find us a house to rent near the beach.  VRBO is the same site we use to rent our Moab condo to vacationers.  Our needs were simple.  We didn’t require a hot tub or a game room.  Balconies and garden paths were luxuries not needed.  We were looking for a place near the beach that could sleep nine people and had a kitchen so that we could cook most of our meals ourselves.  The house we rented fit the bill.  It wasn’t fancy or big, but that didn’t matter.  It cost us under $800.00 to rent it for an entire week.  Run the numbers, you can’t find hotel lodging for nine people for that price.  

*We saved money by using the kitchen of our little beach house.  Had we stayed in a hotel we would have had to eat out for our meals.  By renting a house and visiting the local grocery store, we cut our vacation costs down.  Because the kids were allowed to make requests for meals, they didn’t mind not going out to restaurants.  Breakfasts were cereal, waffles, fruit, and bacon and eggs.  Lunches were usually sandwiches.  Some days we planned “day activities” that required us to pack a picnic lunch.  Dinners were spaghetti, stir-fry, lasagna, grilled cheese sandwiches and soups.  As long as the kids bellies are full, they don’t mind where the meal comes from.

*Take advantage of the location of your lodging.  We purposely chose a house near the beach because our kids love the beach.  We knew we would be spending lots of time there.  The beach was within easy walking distance.  In fact, we could see the beach from the house.  We used the beach for many of our activities.  And it was free!  Explore the area within walking distance of where you are staying.  You never know what you might find.  One afternoon Hoob and I took a walk around our temporary neighborhood and picked up fliers advertising the other vacation homes in the area.  We imagined what it would be like to stay in each house.  We talked about the features we liked most.  It was fun to walk it together.  (And it was gratifying to see that most of the houses were renting for $3,000 – $4,300 per week–Hub really did find us a good deal!)

Our little beach house.

Our little beach house.

*Look for free souvenirs.  We didn’t spend a dime on souvenirs this vacation.  The beach is a great place to find interesting things to bring home.  The kids loaded up on sea shells, pretty rocks, bits of sea weed and sea glass.  If  you are staying near the woods, allow the kids to find pine cones and pretty flowers to press.  Look for pamphlets of the places you visit.  My son gathered pamphlets with great pictures of one of the museums and some of the other sites we visited.  I once read a story in a magazine about a woman who collects the dirt from each of her vacation spots.  She had sand from different beaches, red soil from her jeeping experiences, dark soil from the woods, all stored in little decorative bottles on her fireplace mantel.  There are numerous ideas for free souvenirs.

*Pictures!  Pictures can be some of the greatest souvenirs, and with a digital camera, you can take as many pictures as you want and then delete those that don’t make the cut.  Make sure to get lots of candid shots along with the posed pictures.  Let the kids decide some of the shots and make sure your pictures tell a story.  Take shots of the scenery, the silly people you see, and local sites you aren’t likely to see again.  The kids loved bringing the laptop to Grandma’s house two days after we returned home from our vacation and showing their grandparents and cousins the pictures from our vacation.  Once the vacation is over, the kids can choose some of their favorites to print out  and maybe even frame.  One of the gifts I gave to Hoob for her birthday was a new frame with the picture of her jumping on the beach (see my last post).

Scenery:  A lighthouse we visited.

Scenery: A lighthouse we visited.

*Before the vacation, do some online research to find out what there is to do in the area.  As I researched for our Oregon vacation I learned that the breezes on Oregon beaches make kite flying ideal.  I shopped around for a couple of months before the vacation and found kites for $1.99 for each of us.  We made sure to spend one afternoon flying our kites on the beach.

Putting the kites together.

Putting the kites together.

Four of the kites in the air.

Four of the kites in the air.

*A bonfire and s’mores.  Keeping with our desires to spend a lot of time on the beach, and wanting to do the typical “beachy” things, we built a fire on the beach and made s’mores on our last night in Oregon–an inexpensive activity that all enjoyed.



*Use your imagination.  While shopping for kites I found canisters of glow-in-the-dark bracelets (15 ct.) for $1.00.  I bought two canisters and we used the bracelets to play glow-in-the-dark-tag on the beach one night.  It was fun to see the different, creative ways the kids affixed the bracelets to their bodies before starting the game.  And then we all laughed at how funny it looked to see the “glowies” bouncing around and racing all over the beach.  This game isn’t limited to the beach.  It could be played in a field, an empty parking lot, or even a large backyard.
Getting ready for glow-in-the-dark-tag.

Getting ready for glow-in-the-dark-tag.

*Find the free places.  Nearby where we were staying there was an overlook with a display all about whales.  It had big windows with views of the ocean and binoculars we could use to look for whales.  It was free.  In the same town there was a science center that had displays about marine life and tide-pool tables at which the kids could touch various marine animals.  This was also free.  We visited both places and the kids not only had a good time, they learned a few things as well.
*Hang on to traditions.  It has become a tradition for me and the girls to paint our fingernails in the same shade before we all go on vacation together.  It creates bonding.  This year things were so crazy before we left (Huh’s graduation, filling a vinyl lettering order, packing) that we didn’t get around to painting our nails before we left.  I packed the fingernail polish–shades of green and blue this year to represent Oregon–and let the girls know that I had brought the polish.  On one rainy afternoon we stayed indoors and painted our fingernails and toenails and watched episodes of “House” (a cable station was showing multiple episodes of the show).  The boys joined us in the t.v. watching but not the nail painting.  🙂  It was a nice, quiet activity on a gloomy day that didn’t cost much.  I think the nail polish cost me $3.50 for three bottles.  And, we kept our tradition alive.
Lovely nail painting job.

Lovely nail painting job.

**I included the above picture to show the shade of green I chose for my toenails.  But, the REAL reason the picture was taken was to show my wet pant leg after I’d gotten caught in a wave while tide-pooling.  The entire family was trying to reach an outcropping of rocks and we were timing the waves.  Both Hoob and I got caught in one.  I got one leg wet, she got both of hers wet.  We were the only two that got caught by the wave.
Many of the ideas presented in this post can be adapted for “Staycations” or even “Family Nights.”  The point to any activity with your family, whether it be a vacation or a night at home, is to relax and make the most of it.

Last year I wrote a post offering ideas to beat the boredom on long road-trips.  This year I add to that by giving suggestions on items to have in the car.  Our trip to Oregon included a 14 hour drive.  Here are some items I found helpful to have along:

*Water bottles.


*Music.  I allowed the kids to choose the music.  They brought along their own CDs.  Some of their music choices leave me shaking my head, but it is good for parents to occasionally listen to what their kids like.  Ask questions about it.  Who sings this?  What is this song about?  Is this a guy or a girl????  At one point I was able to point out to Huh that a song we were listening to had lyrics that I didn’t like.  She quickly changed the song.

*Baby wipes and hand sanitizer.

*Snacks.  Mack suggested one of our snacks for the road-trip.  She had it at girl’s camp last year and really liked it.  Give each person a lemon and have them roll it in their hands and knead it until it is quite squishy.  Then offer a choice of candy sticks with citrus flavor.  Our choices were orange, lemon, and tangerine.  Stick the candy stick into the lemon and suck on it like a straw.  The acid from the lemon eventually creates holes so that the lemon juice can be sucked up through the candy stick.  The mixture of sour and sweet makes it delicious.  I had our lemons chilled on ice in the cooler, which made for a nice cool treat during one of our stops.  Be aware that you will get sticky.  That is where the baby wipes and hand sanitizer come in handy. 

*DVD players and plenty of movies.  They did make the 14 hour drive a little more bearable.  As the driver, I found that I enjoyed Hoob’s DVDs of “The Andy Griffeth Show” most enjoyable because the dialogue was funny enough that I didn’t need to see the screen to see what was going on.  Why my soon-to-be 14-year-old loves old shows like “The Andy Griffeth Show” and “I Love Lucy” is a mystery to me.  Most of her friends find it strange.  But I don’t mind that she likes themMost of the stuff kids watch today is garbage.

*Games.  I had notepads of the “Dot Game” available as well as various peg games.  The kids could play with a partner or by themselves.

*Camera.  It is a GREAT boredom buster.  Teens especially will find uses for a camera.

Oregon 187

During one of our day trips in Oregon some bikers pulled into the gas station where we were filling our cars.  One of them had a face covering that looked like a skull.  I told Huh to discreetly get a picture of him.  She tried, but couldn’t get the camera at the right angle.  The other kids tried with their cameras, but they weren’t quite as discreet as Huh.  When we pulled away from the gas station the bikers followed us.  The kids reacted with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Huh was sure we were going to die.  Though they were fearful, the kids kept snapping away with their cameras.  I laughed hysterically the entire time.

Oregon 284

Oregon 288

Oregon 287

We never did get a picture of the guy with a skull.  The bikers waved as they eventually passed us. 

We also used the camera to take pictures of stuff that is important to know…

Oregon 030

Yup. Good to know.

*If your teen drivers want to do some of the driving, make sure they have their license with them.  I had Huh drive for part of the drive to Oregon so that I could get some rest.  She was following Hub who was leading in his truck.  As we entered a construction zone a highway patrolman pulled us all over for speeding.  Poor Huh was beside herself because she’d just been trying to stay up with Hub so we didn’t get lost.  She was ready to chew Hub out if she got a ticket and it went on her driving record.  After checking licences and registrations for both vehicles the cop let both driver’s off with a warning.  Maybe he decided a family our size couldn’t afford two speeding tickets?  Whatever the reason, we were very grateful.  Thank you Mister Oregon Highway Patrolman.  We laugh about it now.

*Cell phone.  We made it all the way to Oregon and through the entire week without me having any TIAs (see my previous posts).  And then about two hours into the return trip one hit.  It wasn’t as big as the one two weeks before, but it was enough to scare me.  I told Huh to call Hub, who was again leading in his truck, and tell him that we needed to pull over as quickly as possible.  Huh and Mack each took turns driving my car for the rest of the drive home (Squid gave Hub a few breaks in his truck as well).

More on the trip later.  Today I make an appointment with a neurologist.

I saw an article in our local paper about the importance of parents taking mini breaks during the day to avoid burnout.  Because our lives can get so busy, the article shared ideas for short 15 to 20 minute breaks a parent can take to rejuvenate and then get back to the tough job of parenting.  I am one who makes sure to take a few breaks during the day just to save my sanity.  I can attest to the value of mini breaks!  

Here are some ideas for mini breaks based on the personalities of our family members.  Though I could share many ideas for each person, I am only sharing what their top choice for a break would be:

Hub – Spend some time in the yard.  Pull a few weeds, plant some flowers, pick up a little litter, or just sit and enjoy the fruits of your labors as your garden matures.

Kweenmama – Read.  Allow yourself to read a chapter in the book you are reading.  Set the timer and spend the time reading the newspaper or a magazine.  Read what your kids are reading in school so that you can talk with them about it later.

Squid – Ride your bike.  Even a quick 15 minute spin around the neighborhood can be rejuvenating.

Huh – Listen to music.  Close your eyes and just listen.

Juju – Call a friend for a quick chat.

Mack – Take a power nap.

Shroom – Spend some time on the computer.  Allow yourself 15 minutes to write a post for a blog, read other blogs, check email or Facebook, or play a game.

Hoob – Do some stretching exercises or yoga.

Yawlin – Jump on the trampoline or get active in some other way.  Jog, walk, put on your favorite music and dance, just get moving!

Max – Chase your tail.  Okay, Max is the dog.  But he is a member of the family and so I include his activity.  The idea here is to act silly.  Give your kids a break too and go crazy together.  Draw funny pictures,  tell jokes, play a video game, spin in circles, spray each other with silly string, eat a disgustingly, unhealthy snack.  Let yourself go and enjoy being with your kids.

Some other ideas that have worked for me:

Soak in the tub; take pictures of the kids; pour a cold drink and relax; Sudoku, crosswords, and word searches; brainstorm ideas for the next family get-a-way; listen to the birds; text a joke to your teenagers; read the comics; pray, meditate, read scriptures or other uplifting material; channel surf for exactly 15 minutes; walk around a local park; chat with your spouse; journal.

Adapt these ideas for your circumstances–get rid of guilt–and take that break!


I won this award!
I won this award!

 Elaine over at Looking For George decided to pass this award on to me.  I’m touched, I’m thrilled, I’m stressed and confused…I received an award back in September and it took me FOREVER  to figure out how to put the award image in my sidebar (okay, I never really figured out how to do it, my husband did it).  Maybe I can talk Hub into helping me again this time.  Anyway, Elaine’s blog is one of my favorites, but since she tagged me with this award I can’t “re-gift” it back to her.  I am linking back to her though, so that you, too, can read her posts about her family life, home improvements, her thoughts on Twilight, and many other funny and thought provoking posts.

The rules are as follows:

1.  Link back to the person who gave you the award

2.  Pass the award on to five other blogs that you think are FABULOUS.

3.  List 5 of your FABULOUS addictions. 

My choices for this award consist of bloggers who have given me suggestions and/or ideas either here on my blog, or in posts on their own blogs.

#1 – MJ from Note To Self left me this wonderful idea in the comment section of this recent post:

I thought of you today. On my police wives forum, we were discussing swing shifts and how to keep the family together when you are all rushing about on different schedules (like my fiance works nights, and I work days, and we pass each other on the way). One woman had a great idea to have a conversation book, where she and her daughter write notes to her daddy about their day. And then when he comes home early in the morning, he writes a response in it before hitting the hay. That way in some small way, they get to be a part of each others lives until they can really be together on the weekend. Plus, I thought, what a great keepsake!

I dunno, it just sounded like something you would have suggested.

What a great idea!  And yes, that “conversation book” will be a great keepsake.  I journal for each of my kids on a regular basis and they enjoy occasionally reading their journals and reminiscing about the things I have written, but I think I like this idea of having a notebook or journal that sits on our kitchen counter and having each member of our blended family jot down whatever they want as they come and go.  I think we are going to try it!

#2 – Carol at Write At Home left me this idea in my post about having a week of free activities with my kids:

Have you ever tried letterboxing? I’ve only done in once when we were visiting family in New York, but it is fun. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt, and it’s basically free. To learn more about it and find out if there are any letterboxes in your area, check out this website.

I have never tried letterboxing, but I have read about it and think it sounds like a fun activity for a family with lots of teenagers (like our family).  We will be taking a road trip this June and I think I will do some research to see if there are any letterboxes located along our route.

#3 – K. Trainor at Today’s Musings left me this suggestion in the same “week of free” post mentioned above:

A week of free–what a neat idea.
My dd’s and I enjoy cemeteries, too. We go to where relatives and friends can request a photo of a loved one’s gravesite. We check local requests, then head off to take a digital photo if we can find the stone. We upload it to the site, so it’s free for everyone (except the cost of gas, of course.)

I know it sounds a little creepy, but it feels like a good deed. The girls and I are always respectful in the cemeteries, and stay away from mourners who of course need their privacy. It means a great deal to family members who live out of state, and we’ve gotten some beautiful thank you emails.

Just another ‘free’ idea for ya! )

This one I had never heard of before, but I like the idea.  What a great way to help kids serve others in a unique way.  I haven’t visited the website yet, but when I do I am going to check to see if it is a way youth groups can do a service.  If it will work, I am going to suggest it to the youth leaders of our ward.

#4 – Morocco over at Full Moon recently posted a meme that sounded fun and easy (I’m all about easy!).  All you have to do is go to the 4th picture folder on your computer and post the 4th picture in the folder on your blog and write an explanation of the picture.  I decided to give it a try:


The 4th picture in the 4th folder on my computer is of a squirrel raiding the bird feeder at my parents’ cabin.  I took the picture on a visit to the cabin last summer.

#5 – Kemi over atKemi Like Chemistry posted this great craft idea on her blog last year.  She did it as an Enrichment Night activity for her LDS ward.  Like she stated there, these cute soap bottles would make great Mother’s Day gifts.  I think they would be great as a gift for any occasion!

The rules of this FABULOUS award don’t state that you have to have received great ideas from those you choose to give the award to; I just used the ideas as a way to narrow my choices down.  I read so many fabulous blogs that it would have been overwhelming to try to choose from all of them.  The five I have chosen here have given me ideas that I had intended to post about at some future time on my blog.  Receiving this award has given me the opportunity to post about them all in one post!  It’s kind of like bloggy multi-tasking!  🙂

Do make sure you visit each of the blogs listed above.  You will be uplifted, get to laugh, be made to think, or learn something new…maybe even all of the above!

Now, for my five addictions…Um, I don’t really have any addictions, but there are a few things I like to do on a regular basis:

1.  I like to blog.  Posting.  Reading the blogs of others.  Sharing the quirks of my blended family for all the world to read.  I started blogging a year ago this month and it has become something I really enjoy doing.  I try to post as regularly as I can.  Keeping up with all the blogs I like is becoming quite a chore though…so many, and so little time!

2.  I like wasabi.  I had never had sushi before I met Hub.  He introduced it to me while we were dating, and at first I thought it was so-so.  But as we have continued to have it, I have tried different types and have really come to love the flavor of wasabi.  I even have wasabi cravings now.  Hub found a tube of wasabi at the grocery store and bought it for me.  The problem is that we rarely have sushi in the house.  So, to get my wasabi fix, I open a can of salmon and eat the entire can with wasabi.  I know, I know, most people that I tell this to think it’s gross. 

3.  During the winter months I like to have a cup of hot cocoa while I watch the evening news.  Every night.  If it’s cold.  The cocoa has to be ready by 10:00 p.m.

4.  I don’t like to eat my lunch unless I can be reading the newspaper at the same time.  I can make an exception if I am on a lunch date with Hub, but if I am home I really want the paper in front of me while I eat.  I even make sure to bring the paper with me on the days I teach art at the elementary school so that I can have it with me on my lunch break.

5.  I like to read.  I will read anything I can get my hands on.  Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter.  The problem is that if I am reading a really good book I can get lost in it and tune everything else out.  Once, when I was a teenager, the neighbor’s house caught on fire.  I was so involved in the book I was reading that it took me a few minutes before I heard my mom yelling for someone to call the fire department.  I have to be careful about the times I choose to read so that I don’t miss anything important.

Have a FABULOUS day!

A post of random things at the beginning of a very busy week:

1.  We accidentally stumbled upon one way to get teenagers to clean their room.  If your daughter has happened to ask a boy to an upcoming girl’s choice dance, and if she did that asking by filling his room with balloons, posters, and confetti, then make sure to casually ask, “I wonder if Bryce is going to answer you by doing something to your room?”

I asked that magic question and watched Huh get a look of total panic on her face (you would understand that look of panic if you had visited her room in the past few months).  She then went into action.  All last week Huh decluttered, rearranged, and cleaned her room.  It looks one hundred percent better.  And bonus of all bonuses, Hoob liked what Huh’s room looked like and decided to declutter, rearrange, and clean her room!  When is the next girl’s choice dance???

Note:  Bryce did answer Huh, but he didn’t visit her room.  Instead, our doorbell rang at exactly 12:06 a.m. Sunday morning.  Sitting on our front porch was a cute stuffed lion and a poster that said, “I’m not LION, I would love to go to the dance with you!”  Huh was thrilled and even claims that she’s not disappointed that he didn’t do anything to her room.  She says it’s kind of nice to be able to see her floor.  Imagine that!

2.  We are looking for ideas on ways our family can serve others this holiday season.  We want to help our kids look outward and focus on others instead of themselves.  Hoob has already had the opportunity to help at our local food bank with her youth group at church and both Hoob and Huh went with me when our Relief Society took homemade slippers to an assisted living care center.  Those individual chances of service are great, but we are looking for ideas on things our entire blended family of nine can do.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

3.  Every May and November I scrub the carpets in our house.  May is when I move furniture, wipe down base boards and do the deepest cleaning.  In November I simply scrub the high traffic areas in each room but don’t move the furniture.  I just like to have the carpets looking nice for the holidays.  Soooo, with scrubbing carpets, teaching the “Meet the Masters” art program at my son’s school, hosting a demo of the weight loss product I sell at my house this Thursday, helping Hub with some of the orders for his side business, plus all the other tasks that come with being a wife and mother, I’m not sure how posting on my blog is going to go this week.  Hopefully I can still write something every other day, but no promises!

One good thing, two of the seven kids have their rooms clean, so scrubbing their carpets will be a breeze.  Now, how do I get the rest to get their rooms clean?