Tag Archives: boys

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.

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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: 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: Make a Grandma’s brag book

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, our next couple of How-To’s Day posts will focus on gifts for grandma. This week’s brag book is a gift we have given on numerous occasions. This book is durable for purse carrying, useful for braggy grandmas (as all grandmas should be) and cheap to put together. It is also easy to update at Christmastime or next Mother’s Day.

You will need:
3M Brag book 4×6 (found at Wal-Mart in the photo album section)
A cardstock cover page
A stack of your favorite photos

Step 1: Remove the cardstock picture that comes in the first pocket of your brag book and trace onto a plain cardstock of your choosing for your cover page.

Step 2: Create your cover page digitally like I did here or craft it by hand. I used this “We love grandpa” photo for a Father’s Day brag book cover.

Step 3: Print your favorite photos as they are or jazz them up digitally. If you are a paper scrapper, you could scrapbook your whole brag book without having to worry about the pages being ruined as long as you can fit each page into the 4×6 sleeves.

Step 4: Insert photos, wrap and gift!

Photos by Jesse Woodbury (my little brother)

Baby stuff checklist

Among the top questions I am ever asked by expectant moms is: What do I need before my baby comes? A sling! Is usually my first answer, followed closely by a co-sleeper,  breast pump, the Dr. Sears Vaccine Book and cloth diapers.

Before their baby was born in January, my brother and his wife asked me to sit and write a comprehensive list of what exactly the need to have which they would then take with them to register. I did and the last couple of times I’ve been asked, I told the inquiring expectant parents to watch for the list on my blog. Here it is! Finally.

  • Breast pump- The very best you can afford. Preferably double, electric. Otherwise, get a lower grade and plan to rent a hospital-grade pump for the postpartum period. Trust me.
  • Receiving blankets- Don’t try to swaddle your baby with these, they are too small. They are good for setting on the floor to change baby, catching spit-up, keeping sun out of baby’s eyes and so forth.
  • Gowns- All you need for around the house during the heavy diaper changing period (boys and girls)
  • Onsies- Great under a swaddling blanket.
  • Solana Swaddle Wrap– The perfect super-light blanket to keep your baby bundled but not too hot for her first four months or so.
  • Pacifiers- Don’t use them right away but it’s better to have them on hand. I like the green Soothie pacifiers.
  • Bouncer- Be sure baby doesn’t spend too much time here to avoid possible spinal issues.
  • Lansinoh- For judicious use when nursing. (Too much will cause baby to slip off the breast.)
  • Hydrogels (Medela or Lansinoh brands)- Can use one set for 6 days, rinse after each nursing with warm water. Do not use with Lansinoh cream.
  • Cloth diapers- For baby’s bum if you want to jump on the bandwagon, otherwise to be used as the world’s most effective burp cloths, cushions, props and nursing drop cloths.  (You will find a million uses for these.)
  • Baby bathtub that fits in your sink. Or you can just use your sink.
  • Baby or regular soft washcloths
  • Baby soap- Unscented, natural is best.
  • Diapers
  • Unscented wipes
  • Unscented laundry detergent (think All Free and Clear)
  • White noise machine- If it’s your first and you have no other kids in the house you will want some noise going all the time so your baby isn’t startled by noisy environments.
  • Flat (not fitted) crib mattress pads for your bed if you plan to nurse your baby there. (Sometimes a good idea anyway right out of the hospital.)
  • Boppy or other nursing pillow
  • Infant Tylenol- Your baby won’t need this right away but you won’t want to run out of the house in the middle of the night to get it when she does.
  • Rectal thermometer- Gotta have one for newborns. Sorry.
  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Diaper bag- Look for lots of pockets and space for a change of clothes. Should be stain-resistant or easily washable!
  • Lansinoh nursing pads- These won’t look like headlights under your shirt like some do.
  • Nursing bra- Easy access is most important in the beginning, support later.
  • Baby socks

For (circ’ed) boys*:

  • 1 box extra gauze squares
  • 1 small tube of Vaseline

* The hospital should send you home with these things but it doesn’t always happen.