Category Archives: family

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?

Family photos

We recently had family photos done to update various walls at our house and grandparents’ houses.  Our yearly photo shoot is the bane of my existence when it comes to choosing clothes for everyone.  It used to be that I could find similar outfits for the girls and coordinate the rest of us.  Nowadays, I have to run between the Juniors, Girls, Boys, and Toddler sections.  And don’t forget a quick trip through mens and womens.  Finding similar color tones between sections is almost impossible.  I browse through several stores, then finally decide on what I want, only to find out that the colors won’t coordinate after all.  So I start over and find a couple ideas, then go to another section and change my mind, going back to previous sections.  Repeat several times until finally giving up and/or finding a workable combination.  This year I decided on navy blue and gray for our overall palette.  Thankfully it worked.

 As I was looking through everyone’s photos, I laughed at the many facial expressions from Princess.  She’s very animated in her face, so many of these are ones we see on a regular basis.

Choosing a favorite from our family photos was tricky.  Bugaboo didn’t want to hold still for too many, and just trying to get 8 people all smiling and looking at the camera at the same time is a feat in and of itself.  Here’s some of my favorites:

 Bugaboo decided he was done sitting at this point.  At least he was looking at the camera.

 Most of our photos looked like this:

A last few attempts at getting everyone all together.

We finished with everyone walking down the hill. This might be my absolute favorite shot.

I’m thinking about enlarging this one to go on our wall.  I don’t think grandparents would appreciate it like I do, so they’ll probably get one of the other family shots where you can see all our faces.  Which one is your favorite?

Family photo shoot bloopers

Fall always seems to bring thoughts of updating our family photos.  It’s been a couple years since we took a more formal family picture and Grandma is asking for updated individual photos for her wall.

I am not a photographer.  Hubby is not a photographer.  Neither one of us has much of an eye for posing or lighting or any of the important phtography elements.  But, we’ve had semi-decent results in the past with the camera on a tripod and the self-timer, so we got everyone dressed and looking their best, then set off.

There is this subdivision that has a beautiful, open entrance area with a lake, old wooden wagon and windmill to make backgrounds.  We picked one of the windiest days we’ve had, but decided to persevere anyway since warm(ish) weather days are getting fewer and fewer.  Who wants a family photo with everyone bundled up in winter coats?  Anyway, it didn’t take long to realize that doing it ourselves just wasn’t going to work.

We’re hoping we can work out a time for a local friend (who actually knows what she’s doing) to be behind the lens and get something worthy of going on the wall instead of just on the blog.  We’ll see what happens in round 2.
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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.