Category Archives: family fun

Announcing Road trip 101 – a new series

Have you missed me?  Probably not, but you can gush about my blogging absence if you want.  It will make me feel loved. 😉

Along with the crazy-busy summer schedule that happens with six kids and their activities, we just got back from a two-week trip to visit both sides of our family.  All in all, we put more than 2200 miles on our van and 30+ hours of drive-time to create lasting family memories.  Plus, we did it all without any movies or electronic games.  Sound impossible?  Not really.  I decided to share some of my planning and experience with the blog world in a new series I’ve titled Road Trip 101.

Watch for installments over the next few weeks with tips and tricks to keep your sanity on the road.  Have questions?  Leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them.

Our wacky, April Fool’s dinner

For April Fool’s Day, I decided to do a wacky dinner.  I thought about disguising the menu with creative names and letting everyone order in courses, but I wasn’t feeling very inspired with creativity.  So, I went a different route and collected a variety of utensils, plate-substitutes and cup-substitutes.  I assaigned numbers for each type of item and let everyone choose a number out of a hat to determine what they got to use.  We had some pretty funny combinations.

For plates, we had a sundae dish, large mixing bowl lid, medium mixing bowl, cake pan, aluminum foil, small glass prep bowl, pie plate, pizza pan.

For the utensils, each person got one of the following: tongs, potato masher, measuring spoon, small cookie scoop, measuring cup, spatula, large mixing spoon, small rubber scraper/spatula.

As for the drinks, we used the waffle batter measure, measuring spoon, small glass jar, dressing carafe, measuring cup, small graduated measuring cup, Pyrex measuring cup, shot glass.

I tried a new recipe and made Ratatouille since we had a lot of Italian veggies and herbs from our last Bountiful Basket.  It was good, but not a family favorite.  Part of the issue may have been the difficulty in eating.  At least the deviled eggs went over well.

All in all, this was a fun dinner activity and one that the kids have asked to repeat.  That’s always a good sign.  Have you ever done a wacky dinner?  How did it turn out?

Dancing in the Dark

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any family fitness ideas.  Maybe it’s because my own fitness/healthy eating efforts haven’t been bringing the results I want.  Whatever the reason, I thought this would be a good idea as the weather gets cooler and it’s too cold to do things outside.  All you need for this activity is some fun dancing music and some glow bracelets or necklaces.

Put on some music, assemble the bracelets/necklaces, turn the lights off and have fun dancing!

What kinds of cool motion effects can you create?

I’d love to know how this works for you if you try it!

Bringing the Olympics home

I love the Olympics.  I always have.  I love the Summer Games and the Winter Games.  For the next two weeks, you will find me glued to the tv every night.   I may even give up sleep to watch the late-night coverage and then get up early to check internet coverage.  Either way, I will probably be sporting my latest jewelry-making project, my very own set of Olympic rings.

via Remarkably Domestic

I vividly remember watching the ’84 Games in Los Angeles when Mary Lou Retton took the women’s gymnastics all-around title with her two perfect 10.0s on the vault.  I decided then that I was going to be a gymnast and started practicing on my own.  Yeah, that dream fell by the wayside one day when I realized I was too tall to be a gymnast, so I was going to turn to rhythmic gymnastics since you could be taller there.  Unfortunately, my practice sessions didn’t work out so well, and somehow not one coach or recruiter ever happened to be driving by to see my feeble attempts natural talent with a ribbon or hoop.
Anyway, a recent issue of Family Fun magazine had an article about adopting a country to cheer for during the Games.  The family in the article rewarded each family member for the medals earned by their adopted countries.  A gold medal equaled a quarter, a silver would earn a dime and each bronze medal would get a penny.

After drawing countries out of a hat, we are going to be cheering for France, Finland, Russia, Romania, Sweden, Hungary, Australia and China. (Germany and Italy are also in the top 10 for highest medal count, historically.)
I made up a tracking sheet with our country’s flag, so we can keep our own medal tally.  (I’m thinking the youngest kids are going to clean house with Australia and China!)  We may hang on to the same countries for the Winter Games in two years.  I’ll have a much better chance of scoring with Finland there, I think.  I also made a USA tally sheet.  We’ll track our medals and put the funds toward a fun family outing.
Do you have any fun Olympic traditions?  I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

Fitness Olympics

My extended family started a new fitness challenge in honor of the Summer Olympics.  This 6-week challenge incorporates different activities with medals awarded in each event.  Our first task was to create a flag to represent each individual in the games.  The catch was that everything on the flag had to represent something health-related.

My flag has a yellow background representing the happiness I feel when I make healthy choices.
The red flower represents courage and beauty.
The 6 blue lines represent my goal to drink at least 6 glasses of water per day.
The green ivy represents persistence needed to reach my healthy goals.  This inspiration came from the impossible-to-kill ivy that grows in our backyard.

Challenge #2 was to create an obstacle course.  Each person turned in their best time and medals were given accordingly. 

Our obstacle course started at the base of our backyard birdhouse.  Then our agility and ability to change directions was challenged by weaving around a series of cones. From there, we tested our leaping ability with a quick leap over a rope loop and then practiced quick, alternating foot movements through a series of rope circles.  A quick dash across a homemade balance beam and a dash to our “weeping angel” statue at the base of the tree completed the course.

Challenge #3 was my brain-child:  an event I call the Marathon Relay.  Each family member earned miles by running or walking.  Or, they could turn 10 minutes of exercise into a mile.  Miles were also earned through healthy habits: fruit or veggie servings, whole grain servings, dairy servings, cups of water.  Everyone’s miles were added together with the gold medal course honoring our pioneer heritage and a symbolic trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah.

For the silver medal, I mapped the 500 mile distance between my hometown and a brother’s city.  The bronze distance was the 280 miles or so between our hometown and the nearest “big city”.  Everyone that participated earned the same medal.  I’m happy to say that we made our 1256 mile goal and earned the gold medal.

These challenges have been fun ways to get our whole family more involved in healthy habits and makes for a fun way to celebrate the Olympics. I can’t wait to find out what the challenges for the next few weeks might be.

Aqua Zone

With the Olympic Swim Trials in town the past two weeks, we made time to go check out the Aqua Zone exhibits.  We would have loved to go to one of the sessions of the trials, but alas, unlike Michael Phelps’ reach to the finish line, the ticket prices were a ways out of our budget’s reach.  So, we settled for paying our $8 parking fee and went to the free stuff.  I was impressed with the family-friendliness that wasn’t there four years ago.  There were a lot more family activities this time and fewer that catered just to adults or swimmers.
We started with a walk on the blue carpet and a photo op.  (Maybe they’ll have better lighting next time.)

Inside, we explored the various booths, some local, some general Olympic-themed, and some sales advertisements.  One of the local news stations showed their green screen technology with souvenir photos.

We tried our hands at the Orowheat prize wheel and came away with 4 loaves of bread, one coupon, 2 lip balms and a water bottle.  Not a bad haul.  I’d say we got our parking fee’s worth.

We had fun photo booth shots.

We compared our wingspan to Michael Phelps.

We signed mementos that will go to London for the athletes to see.

Maybe we’ll get another chance to come back in four more years.  I sure hope so.

Our family dancing debut

It’s time for another episode of our family fitness challenge.  Today’s challenge was to choreograph a dance to a song, videotape it, and share it with our extended family.  Here we are in our musical dancing debut to “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” by Donny Osmond.