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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kid-friendlly meals: Fruit dip

 I have always loved this yummy fruit dip.  It's super easy so it's a great thing to teach your kids to make.

 Just take 1 jar of marshmallow fluff and 1 tub of strawberry cream cheese.  Mix together and enjoy!  Refrigerate leftovers.

I love this dip with any fruit, but my favorites are bananas and strawberries.
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Monday, May 30, 2011

A little trick for guacamole...and the recipe

I learned today when you make guacamole, if you keep the avacado pit in the bowl it doesn't go brown nearly as fast.

I don't usually like guacamole, but my friend James made it for us so I decided to try it anyway.  It was honestly the only guacamole I've ever liked.  I even went back for seconds!  There isn't an "exact recipe" but this is how James made it:
Mash up avacados, saving 1 pit to keep it from going brown.
Add mayo, lime, salt, and tomatoes to taste.
Serve, and enjoy!
We put the leftovers in the fridge with the pit inside.  Last night when we took it out we had to scrape off the very top layer but the rest was just like new!
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Discovery Gateway

I took Lily to Discovery Gateway in Salt Lake a few days ago and she loved it.  There is SO much to see there!  This post doesn't cover all of it - the museum is 60,000 square feet so I couldn't cover it all in one post.

When we first went in they had a room with a bunch of balls.  Lily got really excited and liked to carry the balls around.  Her favorite part of this exhibit was putting them in the vacuum tube (like the tube at the bank.)  She would giggle as it shot up the tube and came out on the other side of the room.

 After the ball room there was a huge room with pretend play things.  There was a mailbox with letters to put in mailboxes all around and mail clothes for kids who wanted to pretend to be a mail carrier.  There was a "park" with slides and things to climb on, along with dress-up clothes for construction workers.  There were dress-up clothes for firefighters, animals, and a bunch of other things.  There was a part that looked like a tiny house with a kitchen and living room kids could pretend in.  My niece Jayne spent a lot of her time in the kitchen (above) baking with food from the cupboards with tiny oven mitts on her hands.

There was a part for kids 3 and under.  The ground was padded and it had a bunch of toys, books, and games for younger kids.  Lily is checking out the textures on the wall in the picture above.  There was a tree house to play in, things to climb on, and even bouncers for tiny babies.  Lily loved playing with the little kids her age in that exhibit.

On this same floor was a horse the kids liked to sit on (above), a chicken coop that made a "clucking sound" when you would reach in to check on the stuffed chickens or eggs, a garden center (below) which Lily loved, a few cars kids could get into and pretend to drive or fill up the gas/tires, and a huge water center.  The water center was at least 3 different levels and had a ton of things that floated and bath toy type things for the kids to play in the water with.  I didn't get a good picture of the water center, but it was huge.

 Lily's favorite part was the grocery store.  Kids could push around their own carts and pick food items off of the shelves.  They could check out and bag groceries, but Lily just liked pushing around the cart and taking things off the shelf to put in her basket as she went.

  I was impressed she could do so much herself.

We stayed at least an hour in the pretend space I described above, and then went upstairs.  They had a huge room with a ton of toys for all ages.  This would be a great place for older kids.  There were a lot of things to build and learn about.  Lily liked the puzzles but was a little young for most of the activities here so it only kept her attention for 15 or 20 minutes before she wanted to move on.

 One whole wall was covered in sheet metal with magnets.  Lily loved playing with the magnets, and my older nieces and nephews had fun playing with the magnetic pipes and that you could drop balls through pictured above.

My nephew really liked the exhibit above.  You could build things on this board and then push a button to simulate an earthquake to see how well it withstood the shaking.

Outside of this room there was a puppet theater and a stage with all sorts of props where kids could act out a story.  There was a recording studio with a bunch of house hold items that could be used as noise makers (shoes, pots and pans, etc.) where you could record your sound effects for a story and play it back.  There was also a whole KSL 5 center with a weather camera, news desk, cameras to operate, etc.

Outside was a real life-flight helicopter.  Kids could get in and fly or get in the back to sit.  We spent a long time here because all of the kids (old and young) loved it.

Here Lily is sitting in the helicopter next to her cousin Jayne.  (above)

I loved the set up of the museum because Lily could jump from one activity to another and back again which was perfect for her short attention span.  Also everything was set up in open huge rooms making it easy for each kid to do their own thing within eyesight.  There were so many things to do I think we could go every week and Lily wouldn't be bored.

They also have classes available.  A schedule can be found here.  I would love to try Music in Motion and Time for Tots once Lily is a little older.

This place is kind of expensive.  It's $8.50 per person which is pretty standard, but that price is for kids and adults.  Also, you have to pay for everyone 1 year and older, so to take our family of 3 it costs $25.  In addition, you have to pay for parking if you park in the underground parking at Gateway.  Parking is $1 for 3 hours or $3 for all day.

However, you can get a membership which would be $50 for 6-months or $95 for 1 year for our little family.  I don't go up to Salt Lake enough to make it worth it, but if I lived within 20 minutes I'd probably splurge for a membership and take her a few times a week.

Discovery Gateway
444 W 100 S, SLC
801.456.5437 x100

Monday - Thursday 10am - 6pm
Friday & Saturday 10am - 8pm
Sunday Noon - 6pm

Admission prices
General Admission $8.50
Senior Citizen (65+) $6.00
Pre-registered Groups $7.50
Members & Children under 1 - FREE

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sympathy cards (with FREE template)

I made a few sympathy cards this week.

 For the Pooh bear cards I used my friend Nancy's stamp and filled it in with water color pencils.  I love those things!  It's so hard to water color in the lines but when I use these pencils I get it right every time.

 I liked using the water color pencils so much I used them on my "Hang in there" monkey cards (below) to get the same affect.  I knew I wanted a little monkey on these cards but I couldn't find a stamp so I drew the monkey, scanned it in, and printed it out.  It gave the same affect as a stamp and was FREE!

Click HERE to get a free template for this monkey "Hang in there" card.  Just print it out and cut it to size. (I printed mine on yellow paper and cut it to be 3 7/8" by 5 1/8")  Then color it in with watercolor pencil, and paint with water over the top.

I was originally going to add tiny googly eyes but couldn't find the package I bought a few weeks ago so I drew mine in instead.  The template doesn't have eyes so you can choose your placement depending on what you use.


Check out this project and more here:
Today's Creative Blog Blackberry Vine  Tip Junkie Not Just a Housewife Hope Studios Coastal Charm The Thrifty Home Savvy Southern Style   Blue Cricket Design Tea Rose Home  The Thrifty Home Women Who Do It All The Shabby Chic Cottage Beyond the Picket Fence Fireflies and Jellybeans House of Hepworths  A Glimpse Inside  The Brambleberry Cottage  Thrifty 101 Elements-interiors Sweet Peas and Bumblebees Shabby Nest 30 Handmade Days  Tatertots and Jello By Stephanie Lynn Cherished Treasures Be Colorful Between Naps on the Porch Craft-o-maniac

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kid-Friendly Meals: Homemade lunchables

Sometimes I get sick of sandwiches for picnics but those lunchables at the store are so expensive!  Since Lily loves cheese and crackers I came up with my own version.

 It's super easy.  I sliced 2 types of cheese and 2 types of meat and put them in these handy Ziploc containers my sister in law gave me a while ago.  I love using thin slices of summer sausage and bologna for the meat but you could do whatever you like.  I stack the Tupperware in a small cooler, add a few juice boxes or water bottles, and throw in a box of Ritz crackers and I'm set!

 This picture is from last fall when we took these lunches to the zoo.  All of the kids LOVED them, and it was a hit with the adults too.  Everyone loved having their own pre-packaged lunch.  I definitely recommend this lunch for a kid-friendly picnic.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Updated calendar for June

There are a LOT of things to do in Utah County in June with kids!

I have updated the calendar - you can check it out here or by clicking the calendar icon on the left hand side of this page.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kid-friendly meals: Homemade Mac & Cheese

A few friends have recently asked me for kid-friendly meal ideas so I decided to devote this week to a few ideas.  First, homemade macaroni & cheese...

I love this recipe, and I love that you make it in the crock pot because I can start it when it's convenient and then leave it until meal time.  This also is a great freezer dinner recipe.  I usually make 1 batch, use 1/3 of it for the meal, and freeze the other 2/3 in freezer ziplock bags (I split it into 2 bags).

It looks gross when you put it in, but after it's all cooked and baked it's creamy and delicious!

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
16 oz macaroni
10 oz condensed cheddar cheese soup
8 oz grated sharp cheddar
8 oz grated extra sharp cheddar
12 oz evaporated milk
1 c milk

Cook macaroni.  While cooking, combine soup, grated cheeses, evaporated milk, and milk in crock pot on low.  Stir.  When macaroni is cooked, drain and add to crock pot.  Stir.  Cook on low 3 hours.  Cool.

To freeze:
Put in bags, seal, label, and freeze.

To serve:
Thaw if necessary.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray.  Put thawed macaroni in baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

This dish goes well with homemade ham & cheese hot pockets which I will post later this week.
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flower girl dress

My brother got married yesterday so I made Lily a flower girl dress using the summer dress pattern I had made for her earlier.  I used dupioni silk because it's so pretty knowing a toddler dress out of this fabric may only be wearable once.  Dupioni silk stains easily - even with just water - and cannot be washed.  I am still pleased with my fabric choice but wouldn't recommend it if you are planning on using the dress over and over.

 Since I was using silk instead of cotton, I also cut out lining using the same pattern.  I didn't cut out the sleeves but did cut out of the front and back pieces out of lining as well.
*When using dupioni silk, don't cut along the fold of the fabric if it was originally on a bolt.  You will have a really hard time getting the wrinkle out since you can only iron on a low heat setting.  I learned the hard was it's better to avoid that fold all together if possible.

After the pieces were all cut out, I sewed along the shoulder and side seams for the lining pieces and then the silk pieces.  I surged all of the raw edges, and then sewed the lining and silk together along the neck using a 3/8 inch seam allowance.  (picture below)

 I trimmed the seam along the neck edge after it was sewn and clipped along the curves.  Then I sewed the clipped seam allowance to the lining as shown below.

After that I sewed on the sleeves making sure to sew it onto the silk and lining.  I sewed on the zipper making sure to do the same.  I hemmed the lining skirt 1 inch shorter than I hemmed the silk.  For this dress I added a 7 inch zipper instead of buttons.  I also did a 2.75" wide white sash.

My husband had school during the reception and wasn't able to get away so it was difficult to get a good picture of Lily.

 I think the dress turned out great.  I loved the flowers the florist made for Lily's pigtails - they were the perfect touch!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Orem Public Library Laptime

I took Lily to laptime at the Orem Public Library yesterday.  I have wanted to go for a few months but it is right during Lily's morning nap time so I never have.  Today probably wasn't the best day to wake her up early as she was already having a hard day, but we went anyway.

 There were a lot of little kids with their parent(s) there.  Today's theme was about mothers.  We would read a book and then sing a song, and then read another book, and then sing another song.  Lily was really excited at first to see the pictures n the book, but once we started singing she got really shy and clingy.  During the second book she lost interest and I ended up having to walk her around to keep her from distracting other kids.

The other kids seemed to love it, and I really think Lily would have liked it more had she not been having a hard day already.

Story time is scheduled for just 20 minutes which I think is the perfect amount of time for tiny kids.  Also, it's free which is always nice, and it's a perfect rainy day activity in Utah County.

Orem Public Library Storytime
58 N State Street in Orem

Laptime: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10:00am in Hogwarts’ Corner. A 20 minute program for babies, toddlers & their caregivers with songs, fingerplays & short stories to introduce our youngest patrons to the world of words.

Storytime: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10:30am in the Storytelling Wing. A 30 minute program for preschoolers & young school age children with stories, puppets & activities to engage youngsters & highlight the joys of books & storytelling.

Bilingual Storytime: Once a month, come experience a special bilingual session of story time! Talented storytellers introduce the audience to words & phrases in Spanish through terrific books & music.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Today's Groupon - The Little Gym

Remember when I posted last week about The Little Gym and how amazing it was?

Today's Groupon has a coupon for 4 classes for only $30 here!

Take advantage of this great offer while you can!  $30 for a whole month of class is a great  deal.  I honestly have never seen Lily have so much fun.  You'll thank me later, I promise.


We had another rainy day yesterday, so my parents and I took Lily to Cabelas to have some inside fun.

Cabelas has huge fresh water fish tanks with trout and bass in them.  I'm talking a hallway with tanks from about 3 feet off the ground all the way to the ceiling along both sides.  Every night at 6 PM you can watch them feed the fish!  (They also have feedings at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday)  Tonight they were feeding the trout little food pellets.  It was really fun to watch them going so crazy for the food.

There were 20 or 30 other people watching with us.  We got there a little early so we were right up front and center.  I loved that we went on a Wednesday night because the store wasn't crowded at all.

After we watched the fish eat, we walked around to look at the animals.  This place has a ton of animals.  Lily loves the Bean Museum but this store may have even more animals to look at!  My favorite scene was the two lions pouncing on this gazelle.  It looks like it could be a painting in the picture - but it was incredible to see it in real life.
In the middle of the store they have a huge mountain with a bunch of animals.  Lily loved the tall polar bear.
Along the mountain in the middle of the store they had a fish pond.  We bought fish food from the dispenser to feed the fish.  Make sure to bring quarters so you don't miss out on this.  I loved it.
1 quarter gave us a small handful (or about as much as a tiny hand could grab onto) of fish food - just enough for 1 or 2 people.  The fish went crazy splashing all over when we threw in the food.
This place is huge.  We spent a lot of time looking at all of the animals downstairs.  Lily kept giggling and clapping because she loved it.
Upstairs they have a small cafe.  I thought I remembered the prices being outrageous when I went a few years ago but we checked them out today and they are actually quite reasonable.  You can get a kids meal for around $4 and a sandwich for $6 - $8 or pizza for cheaper than that.  They had a lot of options and all of them seemed moderately priced.  Not super low-cost but not outrageously expensive.
They also had a general store upstairs that sold fudge, candy, barbecue sauce, and other novelty food items.  The fudge looked tempting but for $3.50 per piece my mom and I didn't try any.  If you're really into fudge you can buy 4 pieces and get 2 free.  6 pieces of fudge for $14?  I think I'll pass.  (A "piece" was about 2 inches by 2 inches by 1 inch.)
They also had this really cool shooting range upstairs.  They had a "token" machine that only takes dollars and says that tokens are non-refundable.  Tokens are 25 cents and each game costs 50 cents.  I'm no sure if the machines take quarters as well, but it honestly looked like a lot of fun.

We loved-loved-loved this place.  I loved that Lily loved it, and I loved that it was free.  We actually liked it so much that we are going to bring the rest of my family (all of my brothers and sisters and their spouses) back soon to look at the animals, eat at the cafe, and have a little friendly competition shooting at the targets.

Cabelas in Lehi
2502 W Grand Terrace Pkwy
Lehi, Utah 84043

Store Hours
Monday - Friday 9am - 9pm
Saturday 8am - 9pm
Sunday 10am - 6pm

Feeding Times
Monday 6 pm - Trout
Tuesday 6 pm - Bass
Wednesday 6 pm - Trout
Thursday 6 pm - Bass
Friday 12 pm - Trout
6 pm - Bass
Saturday 12 pm - Bass
6 pm - Trout
Sunday 12 pm - Trout
Sunday 4 pm - Bass

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trafalga Fun Center in Orem

Is it just me or does it seem like it has been raining for months?  Are you looking for things to do on a rainy day with kids?  I was yesterday, so since we have a pass of all passes (more on that later) we decided to go play at Trafalga in Orem.

 I hadn't been in years but they have really improved their facilities since I went last!  It was raining, so we chose the indoor mini golf which is decorated with bring painted fish and black lights.  Lily didn't care at all for the golfing but loved all of the colors and fish - she was content walking around just looking and pointing at everything.

Not only do they have an excellent indoor 18 hole mini-golf course but they have a huge arcade and XD Theater inside as well.  Outside they have 2 mini golf courses, batting cages, and go karts.  There is a TON to do!

 As I mentioned before, my family got the "Pass of All Passes" for Utah County here.  For $37 each I got a year long pass to Trafalga in Orem, Trafalga in Lehi, a ticket to every Owlz game, a ticket to every Utah Flash game, and a season pass to 7 peaks!  Lily's pass is free since she is under 3, but they still gave us a card for her with her picture on it even though we don't have to pay for her.  Honestly it's an incredible deal.

Would I buy a "Pass of All Passes" just to come to the Trafalga in Orem as much as I wanted?  No.  Maybe I would consider it if Lily were a little bit older and appreciated mini-golf.  I remember loving Trafalga as a kid and fully expect Lily to get excited about it too in few years.  However, I am so glad I got the pass due to the other things it includes (Seven Peaks for example) and still recommend it to all of my friends.

Don't want to commit to a whole year's worth of fun and get a Pass of All Pass for Utah County?  Trafalga has $3 Thursdays where you can go and do any activity for just $3.

Overall, it was a fun activity and I am glad we went.  I can't wait to go back when it's not raining so we can try their outdoor activities as well.

Trafalga Fun Center in Orem
168 S 1200 W in Orem

Open Monday - Saturday
10 AM - Midnight