Driving Scavenger Hunt

I’m gonna be honest, the hardest part of this quarantine has been never having a moment alone. Not really. Even when the kids are leaving you alone for a few minutes, or more accurate you have locked yourself in your room for a few minutes, you can still hear them and you’re wondering how long until they get to your door. Or they are banging on the door. Or shoving their adorable little hands under the door that both makes you want to cry and melts your heart at how cute it is. I have CRAVED those moments where kids are at school and baby is down for a nap and you are left with SILENCE. Complete silence. Also, the ability to go about your home freely and get your list done without being interrupted constantly or feeling trapped in a room because you can’t let the kids see you. Can you tell I’ve been struggling? 😆

So I came up with this Scavenger Hunt and I sent my adorable kids out the door with their dad (for those with teenagers maybe you can bribe them to do this for you) and I gave them the very simple rules: you can’t start until you are out of our neighborhood and take your time but have fun. Tyson was a champ and definitely didn’t rush it. Good man! 👏🏻

Zoey was so excited that she got to do some of the crossing out/checking off

I was very excited to have the house to myself for the first time in months and enjoy some much needed silence followed by an uninterrupted tv show. I HIGHLY recommend finding ways to make this happen. I love our kids and we have had a lot of fun during this quarantine but it was so nice to get some real, true, ME TIME again.

👆🏻 Here is a copy you can download and print for FREE to give yourself some magical YOU time. You deserve it!

Sunday Activities

Our kids are good about treating the sabbath day different from the rest of the week. They don’t ask to do activities they know we avoid on Sundays, they have a great attitude and enjoy their day. With that being said, we felt like we could all use a sabbath day revamp. Something that would really help us refocus on what is more important and use the day to our greatest advantage. Enter our new Sunday Activities program.

Each Sunday they have to do at least 3 things on the “Top Priority” list before moving on to the “2nd Best” side. They can choose to take their time or do the bare minimum, totally up to them. Once they are on the “2nd Best” side we ask them to do at least 4 things. We are hoping this encourages them to broaden their horizons and work on developing new talents.

We’ve only done this one Sunday so far but it was a very successful first attempt. We spent even more time together as a family and the Spirit was extra strong as we continued to stay focused on what is most important throughout the day. I’ll have to do an update in the months to come on how this pans out long term.

Here is a downloadable version if you want to print it for your family. Or come up with your own “Top Priorities” and “2nd Best” activities based on your family’s wants/needs.

Health Challenge for Kids

I am currently doing a health challenge with a group of friends and our older kids wanted to join in. There were a few items on my list that simply wouldn’t apply to kids so I made a few adjustments and came up with a kid friendly version.

For those that don’t know how these challenges work: The top 6 items are everyday items, they are the most important ones that we encouraged the kids to hit every single day. The 1-6 under “BONUS” is more of the optional items but the more you do the better your odds because at the end of every day you roll the dice and whatever number it lands on is that days BONUS. So, if you did it, you get the bonus point! We have the kids doing this challenge Monday – Friday for 5 weeks.

Yes, we are hoping the kids pick up some healthier habits from doing this BUT perhaps more importantly I hope they learn to find moderation. We have been very big on stressing to the kids that this is NOT about perfection. Some days you may get all 7 possible points, one day you may only get 5 but the goal is to be making improvements and finding moderation.

The kids have had some amazing insights so far (they are on week 3 right now) that makes me hopeful that this is working! Some of their comments that have made us happy:

“I don’t miss sweets as much as I thought I would”
“I didn’t even drink soda on the weekend even though I could because I didn’t even want it”
“I haven’t had any headaches, I think it’s from drinking water like you always say” (this was perhaps one of my personal favorite comments #momisrightagain 😉)
“I thought no technology was going to be the hardest but I actually had a lot of fun just playing all day”

We mix Bonus #6 up every other week. Some weeks it is NO TECH and some weeks it is HELP WITH DINNER and by help with dinner I mean I stand there if they have questions with the recipe or need me to walk them through a part but they do majority of it. It’s awesome!

This is after week 1. I had forgot to add number 6 then so that’s why you see it squeezed in there. I could have printed one tracker for each kid but decided to save trees and squeeze them all in one. 🌳

If you are interested in doing this with your kids I have a printable version below and if you have any questions leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP. Here’s to healthier choices, living with intent, and finding moderation in all things! 👊🏼

DIY Puffy {Sidewalk Chalk} Paint

As you can see in the above picture, we already had used regular sidewalk chalk on our driveway but the puffy chalk paint is easy to make, so much fun and looks pretty dang cool.

All you need for this fun craft is shaving cream, flour, water and food coloring of your choice. When it comes to the food coloring, DON’T use the gel food coloring as it tends to stain more and you don’t want to risk it staining your sidewalk. If you keep scrolling, you’ll see how ours came off of our sidewalk.

Add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water and food coloring of your choice (again, I want to stress NOT gel food coloring) and mix really well. Try to get as many clumps out as possible.

Mix 1/2 cup of shaving cream into the flour/water mixture and mix until silky smooth just like in the above picture.

Using a funnel, pour the paint chalk into a squeezable bottle. (here are some squeezable bottles from Amazon if you’re in need)

Now the fun part, you get to start painting on your sidewalk! I just bought the pack I have linked to Amazon and am hoping they will work better then these ones I had on hand. They worked ok once we cut the tip off to make the opening a little bit bigger. Dollar store bottle fail but we made it work with some adjustments so that is another option if you are heading to the dollar store soon.

All of our kids, from our 12 year old down to our 4 year old loved this.

We’re super excited to get our bottles from Amazon so we can make more than just two colors and have even more fun with this. Especially now that I know it comes off ok 😆

All hosed off! When I was at the top of the driveway I could just hose it and it came off but I only had my short hose out front and so it couldn’t reach the bottom of the driveway. 🤦🏼‍♀️ The kids got some of our large sponges and wiped the chalk paint right off where I couldn’t reach with the hose. It actually ended up turning into another fun water activity so win/win! This was an overall success with the kids and we will definitely be doing it again!

What you need to make this fun Puffy Sidewalk Chalk Paint:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
food coloring (any color you would like but don’t use the gel kind)
1/2 cup shaving cream
squeeze bottles (you can buy a pack from Amazon here)

  1. First put the flour, water and food coloring in a bowl and mix well (you can also do this in a gallon bag if you would like. This may be a better option if you don’t have a funnel).
  2. Once you have as many clumps gone as possible, add the shaving cream and mix until silky smooth.
  3. Use a funnel to pour into a squeezable bottle. If you were mixing in gallon bags make sure you still mix the water and flour first before adding the shaving cream to your bag. Once everything is mixed all the way just snip off the tip of a corner and squeeze into a squeezable bottle.

Finding time to be still

In my quest to live an intentional life I have found great power in the ability to slow down.  As I slowed down and put more thought into each decision I was making I found it easier to know what to say yes to and more open to saying no if needed.  I have been amazed at the time I have found to get all of my top priority items done.  My top 4 priorities everyday are:

1. Personal study/feeling a connection with my Savior 

2. My family & their needs

3. Me time

4. Service

 How I go about those top priorities changes from day to day.  Sometimes my personal study is straight from the scriptures, other times it is listening to a General Conference talk.  The needs of my family change from day to day of course.  Me time is sometimes an hour to myself at night and other times it is just doing something nice for myself here and there throughout the day.  Service is sometimes something more time consuming like helping something with a project, or babysitting their kids, bringing someone a meal and other times it is simply texting someone to let them know I’m thinking of them or checking in with a family or friend I know is going through a hard time.

I still have other items on my to do list each day…bake bread, go to lunch with friend, vacuum, grocery shopping, etc; but as long as I have those top 4 priorities done each day, I don’t care what else I crossed off on my list.  Everything else can be bumped back a day or two if needed.

The greatest thing you can do to live an intentional life and to realize what is worth your time and what isn’t, comes when you discover the power there is in stillness.  Another way to word it: meditate.  So often we think that meditating or finding time to “be still” has to be this long drawn out thing and so we push it off because, “who has time for that?!”  Well the good news is we can all find time for that because it doesn’t have to be a long meditation…it can be a moment (or two) of stillness.

Stillness, for me, is sitting in silence (as much silence as I can get with 6 kids) and being aware of everything around me.  The noises around me, what I’m feeling physically, what I’m feeling emotionally, what my thoughts are, and my reaction (physically and emotionally) to those thoughts.  As you begin to pay attention to these feelings you can learn where your focus needs to be.  Sometimes I only have a couple of minutes of stillness before my next responsibility comes knocking.  I have found the better I am at prioritizing and making intentional decisions and commitments for myself and my family, the more time I have for stillness. I am to the point now that at least a few days a week I can find 30 minutes a day to just be still. Think. Reflect.  Feel.  Evaluate, and adjust if needed. On busier days I may still only find a few moments here and there but I CAN still find time to “check-in” with myself. 

I strongly recommend if  you are realizing you need to reprioritize what is deserving of your time and what isn’t that you commit right now, to take a couple of days where after each activity,  you reflect on how you feel after doing that task.  Is it something that serves a purpose?  Is there a way you could go about it that would make it more enjoyable?  Is it something you could live without?  You’ll be amazed how much you can learn about yourself and your needs when you find just a few minutes here and there throughout your day to reflect, contemplate and reevaluate. Listen to your body.  Listen to your mind.  And most importantly, listen to your spirit.

The greatest blessing that comes from stillness is the ability to be acutely aware of not only your surroundings and your physical well being but your spiritual well being.  In the scriptures we are taught that the Lord speaks to us “not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire, but in a still, small voice”. (1 Kings 19:11-13).   He doesn’t shout, he whispers.  I know when there is chaos in my house, if I only whispered my children would not be able to hear me unless THEY made the choice to calm down, be still, and listen.  We are no different.  We can not ask Him to speak louder.  To shout our next move to us.  We must be still to receive His guidance.

Perhaps one of the most well known scriptures that talks about the importance of stillness is Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.  That is a beautiful verse but it is important to remember what it speaks of just before that verse. “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof…The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved..the earth melted…” (Psalm 46:3-9)  Then we come to that beautiful verse where we are told to be still. “Be still, and know that I am God…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:10-11)

You see, the horrible things around us may not stop, our burden and trial may not be removed but if  we can learn to be still, we CAN feel Him and we can receive the peace we seek.  He can be our refuge THROUGH the storm.  

As you make a conscious effort to live with more intent, I have no doubt you will find more time for your top priorities.  Make sure one of those top priorities is finding time for stillness.  Draw closer to your Savior and watch as everything else in life falls into place.  Not always neatly, life may not always be pretty, and it may even at times still be really hard…but you’ll be amazed with the peace you can feel, even through the darkest of days, and the closeness you can feel to our Savior at anytime, when you are simply…still.  

Family Hike – Signal Hill @ Saguaro National Park

A few weeks ago we went on a hike to get out of the house while still practicing social distancing. We heard the trails near us were pretty packed so we decided to try Signal Hill out in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, AZ. The hike did NOT disappointment. We did not have a ton of time to spend but we were able to see plenty with the time we did have. If we had been able to spend longer, we would’ve been able to spend hours more taking different trails or having eating a packed lunch at one of the many picnic areas.

We got to the trail around 11am on a beautiful sunny day in March and the weather was ideal. When you get to the bottom of the first path we took a left to head to Cactus Wren Trail.

I highly recommend this path if you have little kids. This trail is not as steep going up and takes you around beautiful scenery to Signal Hill, which path you can then take back down to the main path.

The above picture is heading up Cactus Wren Trail. See, easy peasy.

I know the desert isn’t for everyone but I definitely see the beauty when out here. 😍 We talked about seeing beauty everywhere we go, about how amazing cactus are and the kids practiced some yoga poses because the scenery “brings them peace”. 🙏

Once at Signal Hill not only can you take in the gorgeous scenery of flowers, blue skies and cacti but the rocks are full of hieroglyphics that are pretty fun to look out and attempt to read.

As great as all of the above was, our favorite part was seeing what we could find in the cactus. Remember as a kid, looking up at the sky during recess and trying to pick out shapes & pictures out of the clouds? Well we did that with the cactus. We found A LOT of Mickey Mouses and hearts, a few clouds and well, thats about it. Turns out it’s harder finding pictures in cactus compared to clouds. 😆 We got really excited about each Mickey Mouse and heart though. The above picture was the first heart that we found. (found by Cambryn…that girl is a master at finding beauty and creativity in everything).

Make sure if you go on this hike you bring water, there isn’t a ton of shade. It’s a great easy hike though and is exactly why the desert will always have a piece of my heart. 🌵💗 If you go on this hike, don’t forget to look for the hearts and at least one Mickey Mouse 😊

Daily Journal for Kids

Our cute little first grader does a daily journal for school and now that she does it at home I wanted something I could easily print that helped guide her to color within a box and write in straight lines.

At the beginning of each week I print out 5 copies and write the topic for each day on a copy so they are ready to go for the week. Her teacher has given some of the following topics: Mon: I like spring because… Tues: My favorite thing to do outside is… Wednesday: A movie I can watch over and over is…. etc. Our older children saw Rylee working on these and decided they wanted in too. They have chosen to use the same topics that Rylee’s teacher has given her. 🖍

Below is a printable version if you would like to use this as well!