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Archive for the ‘ Family ’ Category

See my new Widget???

The time has come….As most of my friends know, my family has been hit by the cancer bus. This deadly bus has picked up 4 of my family members… only one is still riding it alive. Troy Parke… he is my husbands brother. He has multiple myeloma and it is killing him. He is a husband, a daddy, a brother, a son, an uncle, a community caretaker, a get’er’done guy, a friend and an amazing mentor. Troy is a fighter and he wants to live. His chances are greater if he can have access to health that is off the charts un-afforable. I’m begging all who are listening to give anything you can.

I have a new widget! –> see it? A direct linky link to click and give. Even $20 will help a TON! Just think, if 10 people gave $20, that’s $200 towards treatment.

In the 5 years that my brother-in-law has been fighting this incurable cancer, he has NEVER asked for money nor had a fund like this set up for him. I remember there was a fundraiser for him once. That is it. Well, the time has come to help him fight!!!

He needs to walk his daughter down the aisle. She’s 13.

Please help. Please spread the word.

You can go to the above link and search for Troy Parke to learn more.


Gettin Crafty! A gift EVERYONE can use!

Ok, maybe everyone is an over-statement…

How bout this, anyone with a few kids and maybe a few kids with kids. Or someone with like 12 sisters and/or brothers. No really.

I saw this pic on the famous Pinterest (ya, I mess around on there once in a while – Jenn Parke if ya want to follow my boards or whatever). I am TERRIBLE at following directions, so I often look at pictures and then figure out how to do it by looking at it.

Saw this. Pinned it. Then screen shot it and went shopping.

fam birthdays


From Michael’s, I purchased a 14″x4″ blank wall plaque ($3.99) and 2 packages of the little round wooden discs (3.49 each). From Ace Hardware, I purchased a 14 piece package of little silver eye screws (2.29) and a spool of wire (3.99).

I really wanted silver little S hooks, but those little guys are actually quite pricey, and I was considering making quite a few of these….

From Walmart, I purchased a can of Khaki colored spray pain ($3.00).

Total: $17.25, or $20.25 if I include the paint, which isn’t really fair because it will be used for MANY other things…..

I posted a pic of the finished project on Instagram (yep, I’m there too…) and people were all sorts of interested in HOW I DID IT! I went back to the original pic I found on Pinterest and the link no longer works…so I how no way to point people to it! So I thought…hey, I can at least tell people how I made it!

Step 1: Lay all the materials out and paint. Let dry.

Step 2: Apply a second coat. Let dry.

Step 3: Measure center and draw light pencil line for FAMILY text. Sponge paint the word FAMILY in all caps in center of plaque.



I already had 2 inch letter stencils, so I used those. I also had a deep red paint and used an old sponge to paint the letters with.

Step 4: Once the FAMILY was painted and dry, I drew another light line in the center of that and free-hand wrote birthdays with a black permanent marker.

Step 5: Measure out and make center marks for the 12 months. Abbreviate each month above the center mark. This is the step I was least pleased with, and that was because of the plaque I chose. Because it had raised sides, I was unable to use a stencil or even write in a nice, fun font….



Step 6: Screw in the eye thingys under each month. (I enlisted the help of my darling hubs for this job)



Step 7: Write the names and days of birth of each family member on a wooden disc.

Step 8: Drill a small hole at the top and bottom of each disc. Big enough for the wire (or hook) to go through.

Step 9: Assemble and viola!



The Happy Couple and their new family birthday chart! I think they like it!


Preface: We overbooked a few weeks this summer but CHOSE not to back out of any of it.

A quick Friday afternoon to Sunday morning camping trip.

It’s only 50 miles away. But it will take at least 3 hours to get there.

I need a drink for this drive.


Giant love hearts. *swoooon*

One more quick stop, to “top off” the propane tank. That was already full. And we missed the minimum 5 gallon purchase sign. AT $3.47 a gallon.

That was an expensive top off.

Then we drove.

and drove.

aaannnndddd drove.

Around the lake.

For like ever.

And then we arrived.

A meadow in the middle of nowhere the trees. A little flat opening begging for tents and campers. No sign of the lake that we just drove around for HOURS.

No cell signal.

No electricity.

No toilet.

Again, no sign of the lake.

But there were bears.

I can do this.


We had a GREAT time. We laughed, we rode bikes, rode quads, played card games, shot BB Guns, paint ball guns…

Time to rush home.

Commence 3+ hour drive home.

We broke down.

Notice the CLIFF on the left side.

And the MOUNTAIN on the other side.

Enter MacGyver.

The dude has brains.


After about 45 minutes or so, he got the truck running, with fear of it shutting off again, we BOLTED. Driving like mad around this bumpy, windy, scary dirt road.

Did you hear the BUMPY part?

We hit a bump a bit too hard. Huz says “UH OH.”

With the fear of the truck shutting off, we are in super frenzy mode to check the bikes on the bike rack.

This is what they looked like at the beginning of the trip.

They did NOT look like this anymore. They where on the ground.

Giant metal hitch mount rack = broken.

In lightening speed, we unhooked and untangled all the bikes, stuffed them all inside the camper and jumped back in the truck.

We made it home.

Just in time to shower, re-pack the 8yo and drive him up to his bible camp and race back a dinner party.

I forgot what I was coming home to.

Just before we left, the closet broke. Again.


Current truck status: 98% fixed – turns out the alternator died.

Current bike status: 70% ok

Out of 4 bikes….

- one bent wheel
- one severed brake line
- one destroyed drink holder

Current closet status: 12% worse

Time to pack for the next trip.


Just killin time.

Have you ever been told “I can’t take you anywhere?” I haven’t. I have embarrassed a large number of people, however, never have I been told they didn’t like hanging out with me. Well, at least not to my face.

I was held hostage patiently waiting at a children’s birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. That’s a nice peaceful place to like….read or somthin.

Or, if you don’t have a book handy….

or just don’t wanna read…

CLEARLY…this is what you do next.

I am simply being a good influence on my niece. She will make excellent choices in life with a little direction from me.

*No children were harmed in the following images. Some *may* have been glared at until they vacated the ride or area WE wanted to play in.

Ooops, dang it.



Missy is a terrible driver. Or, maybe the road was just bumpy.

Does this chair make my butt look big?

LOOK OUT! HAWT FireWOman at 12 o’clock!! (I’m allowed to say that about my niece. She’s 18. And her parents don’t read my blog! I hope!)

Whack A Niece!

Hey look, not a single ticket of my own!

Do these tickets go with my face?

As if you wouldn’t have been doing the EXACT same thing at Chuck-E-Cheese. Pffft.

You should know, although we were at a cute kids birthday party, I didn’t take a single picture of said kid OR even my own kids.

Not one.

Proud parenting moment right there!

Happy Friday!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today you would have turned 67. 67 would have looked good on you, but there is A LOT of drama in the world that you would HATE.

Instead of being all sappy about how much we miss you, I wanted to post a little Happy Birthday to a man who had many passions one among the many was the Board Game Card Sleeves. Today, I am molded and shaped by you in a few very specific ways. Here are few things my dad loved comprised in one post.

Classic Cars, mainly Cadillacs:
You’re love, admiration and respect for genuine classic cars was awesome. If only I was a boy and could justify buying and restoring something old and awesome for you…. remember your green 52 baby?

Or the very few times you strayed away from Cadi’s…how about your Bronco that was a BEAST to drive…

How about your love for Standard Poodles…as much as you complained about them, you were a sucker for a Standard!

How about traveling…you LOVED a fun vacation, whether it was to Vegas, Mexico or Florida…

You especially loved those Florida beaches….

You LOVED fishing…

LOVE is not a strong enough word for your relationship with ice cream

You loved playing any kind of card games.

And I saved the best for last, simply because in all your grumpiness, you LOVED mom more than anything else. We all knew that, even when you pretended to be mean!

So, happy birthday Dad! We love you.

Stupid flippin cancer.


Not so Normal Monday! And a FREE Pedi!

I went out to coffee with some friends this morning since its a school holiday and most of my friends are teachers. We sat at Starbucks and chatted for just over an hour when an decided I better get home to check on the kids…oh and go to work. I didn’t have the day off, I’m still not sure why! Even though I’m not a teacher, I still should get all the same days off that my kids get off…right?

I get home to have my 10 yo say she has a surprise for me. I walk upstairs and she has turned her closet into a day spa!

How cute is that!

So, needless to say, I chose not to go to work but I did sit in that pink fuzzy chair for at least an hour….

and soaked my feet in the warm silky water….

and let her paint many layers upon my toes.

I even got the special post pedi slipper things that are clearly made for 10yo’s and not grown-ups….if that’s what you call me!

Pink + glitter + little heart stickers = a happy heart!

And, at the end of the day, I need to add, she did a pretty darn good job!


It’s quite possible it meant even MORE to her than it did to me…and it meant the WORLD to me!


Kid Night – Take 2!

Our second attempt at Kid Night was a HUGE success! Tonight Brayden chose everything from the pre-meal beverages to the dessert which included a shot of whip cream directly into mouths.

The Beverage: Pink Lemonade mixed with 7-Up
The meal: Dungeness Crab with Broccoli and a side of Clam Chowder
Dessert: Your choice – Coke Float or Banana Split each featuring whip cream

He is a 7 year old who knows what he wants. In this case, he wanted individual crabs for each of us, but I chose the more affordable route, and we each had half a crab.

The clam chowder was our only flop. Not because he messed it up, because it tasted terrible! It was out of a package…I should have known better…

Shortly after this moment he regretted his decision…but only for a few minutes. Cleaning crab is GROSS. They smell bad, they have lots of insides that we don’t eat, which means heavy cleaning. N. A. S. T. Y.

At this point he was asking if I would kindly help him with the disgusting part. I did. He’s only 7. I gagged.


Now…the good stuff….

Whip cream is really the most important part of any meal.

My kids are super excited about this new tradition. They feel so important. I am trying to not be a complete control freak. They need this. I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to be in the kitchen at all. I can tell that won’t be too far in the future!

Next Monday….Lexi’s back in the kitchen. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

New Trial: One night a week is Kid Night

I ran into a friend at the grocery store yesterday. Both of us were gathering a few items for dinner. She makes a comment about being exhausted and ready to go home and sit on the couch. She then proceeded to tell me that every week they have Family Dinner Night in which one of their children (ranging from 6th grade to 3 years old) picks WHAT they will have for dinner AND MAKES IT. The only child she has to be in the kitchen with is the 3 year old, but she did tell me that the 3 year old knows EXACTLY what ingredients go into the spaghetti and will keep her on track. She said it works so well with her three kids because they are creative. One might not be too daring in the dinner department but dessert is his specialty. She said her middle son is a fabulous baker, so he is daring and creative with the main course.

I have had my kids make their own pizza’s, meaning, I make the dough, they sprinkle their toppings on… but I have never given them the power to decide and then create the entire meal themselves. What a way to boost their knowledge in the kitchen as well as training them in sooo many ways!

I am so excited to start this tradition in my own home.

Tonight is Lexi’s night. Lexi just turned 10. She is our oldest and is in the 4th grade.

She picked Chicken Quesadilla’s served with a dollop of sour cream and for dessert she chose homemade donuts from her new donut maker with a homemade maple glaze.


Dinner and dessert was EXCELLENT. Lexi was proud.

Next week: Brayden’s night. He is so excited and can’t stop throwing his ideas around. He’s mentioned chicken, broccoli, noodles tossed with butter…but his main course….CRAB.

Oh boy….

I ALWAYS dread when hubs goes out of town. I’m not the kinda girl who needs space or alone time.

Hubs went out of town this weekend.

Then daughter was invited to a sleep-over.

It was just me and the boy. So I decided it was DATE NIGHT. Just me and my handsome (though lacking a few teeth) 7 year old boy. We don’t do this often enough, but then again, too often would make it not as special…I don’t know what is the perfect amount here….

Anyhow, I tell him I am taking him to the movies. We are going to get popcorn, soda AND candy! He was insistent to bring his OWN money to buy his candy. So I let him! He was excited. Then I ask him where we should eat dinner before we go see our movie. He says “Mary’s Pizza Shack” which is one of MY favorite places.

That’s what kind of boy he is.

We had an amazing time. Just us. We giggled, ate, watched Dolphin Tale, and laughed…and then…he fell asleep during the movie.

The next morning we had a lot to do. I had a mini retreat, so he was going to hang out with a friend that day. I got up and jumped in the shower. When I got out I heard a noise upstairs…

He had gotten up, came downstairs, heard I was in the shower and went back upstairs and took a shower. ON HIS OWN. This may not seem like a BIG deal to you, but WHAT!?!?!?! Without arguing, forcing, begging, pleading, demanding….. totally on his own!

My heart MELTED!

Then we went to Starbucks. We giggled a lot more. We needed this alone time.

He also had a soccer game that day, that I had to miss. That breaks my heart. He scored 2 goals. He played well. But I missed it. ;o(

I heart this kid!


Saturday early evening rolled around and Brayden was invited to hang out with his cousins for a few hours. Then it was just me and my 9 year old girl. Guess what……DATE NIGHT!

I asked my girl what she wanted to do. Gave her a few options. She mulled around a bit with a few of the ideas….then I had a brilliant idea. I offered to rent any movie she wanted on iTunes and go to the store to make her any meal she wanted.

She squealed YES with much excitement! She loves to be home!

We jump in the car to go to the grocery store. I ask her what she wanted me to make for dinner. If you have paid much attention to my high maintenance kids, you would have guessed her answer.


I said sure. We got all our ingredients (just for california rolls – as I have yet to find sushi grade fish here) and head home. We turned on Pandora, danced around the kitchen and made sushi!

She loved every minute of it. She even headed over to the computer every once in a while to add different stations to my Pandora shuffle that was playing! It was GREAT.

Then we rented Mars Needs Moms, sat in front of the TV and ate our sushi. I also made an Egg Drop soup to go with our sushi. It was delish.

A priceless evening that we needed.

A priceless weekend that we all needed.


Sunday morning we all woke up happy and refreshed. We layer around until it was time to get ready for church.












I love Sundays. I like to play dress up.

That was my weekend in a nutshell.

And it was good.

This is sort of about Rob. He is from Pennsylvania. He’s a really fun & wild dude. He’s in the pic below (far left). 

Rob said “buddy”, “Brooklyn” & “ya” a lot in his super cute east coast accent!

Oh, and he’s my sisters boyfriend.

Rob had NEVER been to California before.

We had 3 short days with Rob…and my sister & mom…but again, this is kind of about Rob.

So, we felt it was OUR job to give him just a taste of the “California” experience in just 3 days. And, just in Redding, CA.




Here is a list of the things we did:

  • Swam
  • Played xbox
  • Made extravagant meals
  • Layed Out
  • Had a party
  • Went to a vineyard
  • Ate Sushi
  • Went to a day spa (at my Niece’s cosmetology school)
  • Ate at Kobe Steakhouse
  • Ate at In-n-Out Burger
  • Went to Shasta Lake
  • Went wakeboarding A LOT
  • Went to a Yogurt Bar
  • Convinced Brayden to wakeboard
  • Went to Chuck-e-Cheese (Rob & Jaub BEGGED)
  • Went to Need 2 Speed Indoor Racing (the only thing Bry beat Rob at!)
  • Bribed Brayden to pull out his loose tooth

In all that excitement, I managed only to grab photos of us wakeboarding.

A good time was had by ALL!

Rob’s job was to do tricks.


He even talked Brayden into jumping on his wakeboard!

Our job was to look pretty!

We did pull out a few tricks for our audience though!!!

We all survived.

We are all very SORE.

One last shot before I sign off….Rob made a little deal with Brayden. If he could pull out his tooth BEFORE dad got on the boat, he would give him $30. Yes, THIRTY DOLLARS.


Thanks Rob & Jaub!!!

What a GREAT long weekend!!