Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass- part 2

Click here to read part 1.

Later in the afternoon we picked up the older boys from the Adventure Club where they had been enjoying cookies and playing Wii. As they began to pitch their I-duwanna-leave fits I reminded them about the water slide and we were rolling.

Bummer about the slide: There is no lifeguard at the top. It is a great slide and my kids (and I) had a blast on it but the many kids in line to use the slide were left to their own judgement on an appropriate length of time between riders so I saw my kid shoot out the bottom once only to have a rather large tween girl land right on top of him. Once my kids decided to go down together, stand in the middle of the slide and wrestle we were done with that activity.

Dried off and hungry we prepared for our Ko’Sin evening dining experience. The restaurant was a bit fancier than I had anticipated and very beautiful. While we waited, Jack noticed this “nest” hanging from the ceiling. The highlight of this restaurant is definitely the kids menu. Kids items were prices just as reasonably as you would find them anywhere else and came with a bowl of fruit, followed by their entree and then dessert. Wow!

The adult menu is priced in the $20-30 dollar range, quite steep for me. Allen had the Pan Seared Marinated Pork Porterhouse Spiked with Mole ($28) while I ordered the Oven Roasted Game Hen ($28). My culinary trained husband called both dishes “crazy yummy and unique”. We shared bites and ooohed and awwwed but I will admit to being jealous of Jack’s burger at the same time. Jack ordered the cheeseburger ($5.25) off the kids menu which included everything you see here. Wow. I was glad we didn’t order an appetizer. The other boys got macaroni and cheese ($4.25), their standard.

I will hand them this, Ko’Sin knows how to treat a kid. After their plates were cleared the were each served a bowl of chocolate mousse covered in cookie crumbles and garnished with a couple of gummy worms. You guessed it: worms in the mud. Now, that’s what I’m talking about. Allen and I shared a piece of the most beautiful Big Fat Chocolate Cake I’ve ever seen which we didn’t even come close to finishing. We were happy campers!

After dinner, we retired to our room and woke up on Father’s Day to go to church with my family in Ahwatukee, quite conveniently located just down the street from the resort.

Bottom line: We had a great time last year at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa’s LEGO Mini-Build but this year they outdid themselves. We would definitely do it again and have recommended the package to our friends and family. Thanks Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa for the weekend and by Ko’Sin restaurant.

Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass

We were lucky enough to spend another weekend at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa this year for their LEGO Mini-Build family package and I wouldn’t have thought it possible but this year was even better! For one, we spent an extra night at the hotel this year giving us extra time to swim and enjoy the resort. Secondly, Stephanie Heckathorne (the brains behind the LEGO Mini-Build family package) and the LEGO team threw in some extra games and activities at the actual LEGO build which made it an even better experience for the kids.

We arrived at the resort Friday night, unloaded our things and headed straight down the the pools we grew so fond of during our stay last year. Then we turned in early with visions of multi-colored LEGO bricks dancing in our heads.

I knew better than to worry about breakfast Saturday morning. The snack spread at the Mini-Build included fruit, granola bars, cookies, chips and breakfast bars… a little something for everyone in my posse.

I even let my kids go for the sugary drinks that early in the morning. Hey, what is vacation good for if you can’t throw your every day dietary guidelines and restrictions out the window?

When things got rolling each boy sat down with his own commemorative LEGO barbecue grill kit with one brick engraved with the place and date. Why a barbecue grill? Why, in honor of Father’s Day of course!

Once finished with their barbecue grills, the kids participated in the LEGO free-build on the floor (out of which came some phenomenal LEGO sculptures) or in races to see who could build the most LEGO men in a given time period. My William had no trouble keeping up with the big boys and Chris wasn’t much behind him! As a bonus, each of my kids went home with a super-cute green LEGO tractor which they put together in our room later.

Since the older boys were headed to the Adventure Club after the Mini-Build, Allen and I took Jack on a boat ride down the river. Last year the boats shuttled folks to and from the old casino, now you can ride out to Rawhide and we even picked a group of out-of-towners up from the golf course.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about our adventures at the pool, the kids’ first trip down a water slide and our review of the Ko’Sin restaurant at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

And be sure to check out last year’s trip here!

How-To’s Day: Father’s Day shirt & tie cards

Now that you’ve chocolate dipped Dad’s favorite treats it’s time to make the perfect Father’s Day card to go with them. I’ve done this card for different occasions and it never fails to get a chuckle. There are lots of different shirt and tie designs out there but I found this one years ago and it is by far my favorite. I usually let my kids fill in the inside of the card and decorate the tie but there are lots of ways to personalize this card as I will discuss below.

Materials:
White paper
Construction paper
scissors
crayons

Step 1: Fold your sheet of white paper in half lengthwise and then open it back up and fold each side in to the center line.

Step 2: Open up the page and turn it over, spiny side up. Fold the top inch back but only crease it through the middle two quarters.

Step 3: Turn the paper back over and fold both sides in to the center once again.

Step 4: Flatten the top corners down to look like the collar of a white shirt.

Step 5: Turn the card face down  again and flip the bottom of the tail back up so it touches the bottom of the collar.

Step 6: Flare out the inside corners for the sleeves.

Step 7: Add a tie or use patterned paper and add buttons. If Dad’s not a tie kind of guy, have your kids decorate the shirt to look like his favorite then add buttons.  If Dad is a uniformed worker, check out this variation on the shirt card. Find more detailed instructions on this design here.

For a matching gift idea, create a brag book like the one we posted for Mother’s Day but add a personalized cover like the one I used here.

Don’t miss our upcoming review on our Father’s Day Lego Mini-Build weekend at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa! (They will be hosting another Lego weekend in July if you can’t make this one.) Here is my review of last year’s Lego Mini-Build weekend at Wild Horse Pass.

Have a very happy Father’s Day!

How-To’s Day: Chocolate-dipped Father’s Day treats

This was a perfect activity for a too-hot day when we all felt trapped inside with nothing to do. I just happened to have an enormous chocolate bar laying around (courtesy of my awesome husband) and a really, really lot of sprinkles. This activity went over quite well with the knee-high crowd, plus one friend, and would be a great homemade treat for Dad on his special day.

You will need:
4-5 ounces of chocolate
Animal crackers (or whatever the dad in question has a taste for)
Sprinkles
A double boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot)
Wax paper
Napkins and baby wipes

Step 1: Lay out wax paper and hold the curly edges down with matchbox cars. Or not… but my kids seemed to feel it was necessary.

Step2: Place crackers or whatever you are dipping, sprinkles and napkins out on your workspace so you will be ready to go when the chocolate is melted.

Step 3: Chop chocolate into smaller pieces and then melt in your double boiler or in the microwave. Remove from heat before chocolate is fully melted and continue stirring until smooth. If you are using the microwave or a make-shift double boiler, be careful not to over-melt the chocolate or it will start to re-solidify real funky-like. (Yeah, I’ve been down that road before.)

Step 4: Allow children to dip crackers into the chocolate,  lay them out on the wax paper and add sprinkles to their little hearts’ content.

Step 5: Let set and then put them in a tin or a jar for Dad to take to work. Happy Father’s Day!

How-To’s Day: Five creative coloring crafts

On a good day my kids will spend a half-hour or more at the table with their crayons and blank paper, creating original artwork. But most days straight coloring doesn’t get quite the enthusiastic reaction it used to. So, I’ve been trying to get creative with our coloring. Forget the scrap paper and coloring books; we’ve been working on a few ideas that will get your kids begging for their art supplies.

1. Paper plates. Or lunchbags or whatever funky paper products you have lying around. For whatever reason, coloring on an irregular paper surface multiplies the excitement level by at least three.

2. Butcher paper on the wall. I picked up my roll of white butcher paper at Paper Plus in Mesa and I tape it to the table, the wall and any other crazy surface I can think. The kids love coloring on the wall and fill every square inch on the paper.

3. Cardboard Shuttle Imagination from KidsCraft Playhouses. My kids had an absolute blast with this space shuttle! And so did the rest of the neighborhood. They spent days decorating this thing between trips to the moon and I had neighborhood moms calling to ask me what their kids were chattering on about. For girls or boys who are not so interested in space travel, KidsCraft Playhouses carries a Creation Cottage playhouse.

4. Gift wrap. For the most part, we don’t buy wrapping paper. My kids make it. For big gifts we use the same butcher paper I use to tape to the wall. For smaller gifts we use sheets of packing paper, also found at Paper Plus. The kids use crayons, markers, water colors, glitter and whatever else we have handy. If they know their work is going around someone’s present my kids get extra creative and artistic.

5. Sock monsters. My friend the super-midwife, Brittani Hamilton, suggested this one a couple of weeks ago. We cleaned the sock drawer of old and mismatched socks and the kids each picked one to decorate. The holey ones are the most fun because fingers can poke through, acting as horns or claws.

If most of your crayons are busted nubs, be sure to check out how to create your own Recycled “Swirly” Crayons right at home.

Disclaimer: Shuttle Imagination provided by KidsCraft Playhouses for media review.

How-To’s Day: Roasted garden roots

Our five-year-old Christopher (on the left in this photo) doesn’t eat veggies. Or anything else even remotely healthy but especially veggies. So, we put him in charge of the garden. He weeds and plants and waters and takes great pride in his little plot of green.  He still won’t eat most of the fruits of his labors but he will at least taste it. This is the same kid who won’t even lick his broccoli for a whole bowl of ice cream. That’s progress.

Christopher’s latest harvest, a whole bunch of root veggies, seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a few vitamins and minerals into his body that he is surely missing. Here’s how we did it:

Ingredients:
Potatoes
Beets
Carrots
Garlic
Butter, salt & pepper

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cookie sheet with foil, shiny side up.

Step 2: Cube all of the veggies, no smaller than an inch, no bigger than an inch-and-a-half. You decide what ratio of potatoes to beets to carrots you want and cut up enough to fill the cookie sheet. One cookie sheet easily feeds our family of five.

Step 3: Peel and cut six to twelve cloves (according to your taste) of garlic in half and distribute evenly amongst the veggies.

Step 4: Cut a cube of butter lengthwise and then into pats and spread out the same as the garlic. You can use as little as a half a cube or a whole cube if you want them good and crispy. Add salt and pepper to taste — more than you would think you’d need — the potatoes suck it up.

Step 5: Roast on the center rack for 20 to 45 minutes depending on how done you like them. We do two pans for company (as seen above) and it’s important to remember to rotate them to get good browning on the top and bottom pans.

These are great to cook ahead of time if you need to put other things in the oven. Just crank the oven up to 500 degrees about 5 minutes before dinner and throw the veggies in the oven until they’re sizzling.

Disclaimer: If you know us at all, you know my husband gets credit for this recipe. If you don’t, you know now. Thanks Allen!

How To’s Day: Create a custom clipboard

My sister and I were born seventeen years apart. I got to be there the day she entered the world and from that day on I spoiled her like crazy. I bounced her to sleep on my back on the trampoline, I got her “water and ice” when she asked for it, I took her to preschool and sent her off to her first day of kindergarten with tears in my eyes.

Those first couple years of her life my friends and I got a kick out of carting her around with us and how people assumed she was my child. I took pictures of everything she did and endured countless hours of Teletubbies, Barney and Mr. Rogers.

But as my kids have grown in number and age and as the geographical distance continues to grow between my sister and I we don’t get to spend anywhere near enough time together. So, imagine my delight when she agreed to spend some time with me this last weekend working on this week’s How To’s Day craft.

The plan: To cute-ify the clipboard that hangs in Allie’s room displaying a few of her treasures. The outcome: Pure awesomeness (displayed above and to the right).

Materials:
Clipboard
Roll of wrapping paper (the thicker/heavier the paper, the better)
Cutting mat
X-Acto knife
Spray adhesive
Mod Podge (or watered down Elmer’s glue)- optional
Small foam paint brush- optional
An extra pair of hands

Step 1: Roll your wrapping paper out across the cutting mat and place your clipboard flat on top. Cut around the clipboard leaving an extra inch or so of paper around the edges to wrap around the back.

Step 2: Lay some newspaper, ads or something to protect your workspace and place the clipboard on top. Place your pretty paper over the clipboard just where you want it and then lift up the paper covering the area below the clip. Spray adhesive on the board and then smooth the paper down.

Step 3: This is where another set of hands is helpful. Have someone hold the clip open while you work around it cutting the paper with the X-Acto knife.

Step 4: Lift the upper section of paper and spray adhesive (this is tricky). Smooth the paper down around the clip.

Step 5: Turn your clipboard over and cut out the corners of your overlapping page as shown to the right above. This will help it fold down uniformly. Paint paste onto the top and bottom strips of your paper and fold it onto the back side of the board. (I would recommend Mod Podge or watered down Elmer’s. We used spray adhesive but at this point it was a gobby, gooey mess. ) Do the same with the long side strips.

Step 6: If you want to, give the whole thing a coat of Mod Podge for durability and shine.

Add your calendar, grocery list, pictures or whatever you fancy and hang your clipboard on the wall!