Tag Archives: kids

Road Trip Mishaps

You may be shocked to think there were any mishaps at all.  Usually family time is perfection time and it all goes so swimmingly.  Especially if a water slide is involved.

But I made one major mistake on this road trip.

I forgot it was 2016.

I made books with activities  for each child.  I gave each child a dry erase marker with the eraser on the lid so they could do the games in the book over and over.  (I’d carefully put each page in a page protector in the same order for each book so I could call out which page I was doing and we could do it all together.)  (Insert a picture of anything unrealistic here.)

I got material so everyone could tie their own blanket as we drove and then cuddle with it.

I brought extra paper and markers in case they got bored.

Essentially I brought everything I wish I had had when I’d gone on road trips with my family.

I’d forgotten that 30+ years had passed.

And there are iPods.  And iPads.  And books on CD.  And portable DVD players.

So yesterday I finished tying two blankets and tied mine completely.  (I didn’t bring mine due to the smallness of our vehicle.)  There is one more yet to be tied.

I brought home brand new notepads and markers and I was the only one to mark all of the licenses we saw.

Mount Rushmore is a jackpot, by the way.  We saw 24 different states in the parking lot.

We saw all states except for Hawaii, West Virginia, and two other states.  We even saw Alaska.  But I think Kevin and I were the most excited about the game.

I could’ve saved a lot of time and effort if I’d just downloaded the license plate game.

Then we could’ve opened the apps together.

This is where the bison licked the car.

This is where the bison licked the car.

Time not wasted was picking out these babies

Time not wasted was picking out these babies

Road Trip Recap

When we last saw our heroes, they were cramming themselves into a tiny SUV which should’ve been bigger.  We now join them somewhere on I-90.

I’d only reserved two hotels for the entire trip.  I had no idea how far we would travel each day and so I only booked for what I thought would be busier places: Rapid City and Nauvoo.  The little towns by Mount Rushmore are basically shut down off season, so I didn’t find anywhere closer for a family of five.

With a waterslide.

Mount Rushmore was pretty cool, I thought.  My husband had wanted to hike around it but all of the trails were closed because it had snowed the night before and there was ice.  And the Department of the Interior does not mess around with ice.

The kids became junior park rangers and I learned a lot about Mount Rushmore that I hadn’t known.  For instance, Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t originally planned for it.  And dynamite was used to create 90% of it.  And honeycombing isn’t just for bees.

Custer National Park was a highlight.  We saw prairie dogs, deer, elk, coyotes, wolves, wild ponies, and bison.  One bison started licking our car.  We found out from another visitor that they lick the salt off the cars.  I had just thought that was the bison way of being friendly.

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it...

This is the bison licking our car. If you would like a better picture, you can get out of your car and take it…

Once you leave Rapid City, heading East on I-90, you start seeing billboards for Wall Drug.  And then you keep seeing them about every 50 feet.  There are big billboards and little billboards.  Billboards offering free water.  Billboards offering discounts to Vets.  Billboards with obscure drawings that have nothing to do with Walls or Drugs.

By the time you’ve driven 5 miles, you are very curious as to why Wall Drug advertises so much.  So we decided to stop.

(Which may be why they advertise so much.)

It was Easter Sunday and I wasn’t sure it would be open but THERE WERE SO MANY SIGNS we thought it was always open.

So we got off the freeway.  And followed the signs to a GIANT store.  It took up a whole block.  It was amazing.

It was closed.

So instead, we went to the bar across the street and had the best burgers and fries we had eaten in a while.  And fried pickle chips.  I would like a lifetime supply of fried pickle chips.

I think the highlight of the trip for the kids (and for me) was Nauvoo.  It’s a historical town where we learned how to make rope, bake bread in a brick oven (hypothetically), weave our own rugs and make a horseshoe.  The kids like living history towns; we sort of make them like them because we keep taking them to different ones.  It just makes it easier if they decide to enjoy themselves.

We learned a lot.  We even ran into Susan Easton Black and George Durrant who were there on  a very brief mission.  We followed her around town and the cemetery (with her permission).  We even stayed an extra day so we could hear her lecture.

And it’s a good thing we did because we then got to see the Carthage County Museum (or something like that) which was made from the collection of a biology teacher from the local college.  She used to collect things.  Nowadays we call that hoarding but I guess her stuff was interesting enough to keep her house as a museum.  And that’s where we saw the pickle jar with the pickled two-headed pig.  A true highlight.

It's in a PICKLE JAR!

It’s in a PICKLE JAR!

We finished our trip in Independence Missouri.  We spent the day driving to different LDS sites and then we went to the visitor’s center.  We knew it had been a long day and trip and that we were done with it all when the missionary asked us what we should do before we pray and my 8 yr old said:

Eat.

(The correct answer was some version of ponder…  meditate, think, pause…  Eat was an answer she hadn’t heard before.)

The whole trip was a good time.  There wasn’t too much fighting (Thank you Tyler Whitesides for writing The Janitors series and reading it onto CD’s).  By the end of the trip I think we were all sick of each other, but we all learned a lot.

I learned that my great, great grandfather Haight had a 16 day old child who passed away at Winter Quarters, Nebraska and that my great, great, great grandfather Higgenbotham had been a missionary from Nauvoo.  I got a CD with their information and their wives’ information and I can’t wait to read what I found.  Eliza and Louisa, their wives, did amazing things and wrote about it.  I can’t wait to read their journals.  It made Nauvoo a little more real, knowing my ancestors came through there.  (I even know where their land was.  I asked the owners if I could have it back and they said no.  I didn’t even get my own parking space in the lot that was over Gpa Higginbotham’s 1/4 acre.  Seems unfair.)

Can you see the resemblance?

Can you see the resemblance?

I think the kids learned a lot about U.S. and LDS history but they will probably remember the bison licking the car and the two headed pig the most.

But one day they will go back, wearing their prairie diamond rings, with the information we got this time, knowing their ancestors were there.

Prairie Diamond Rings

Prairie Diamond Rings

“This is Not What I Ordered”

We just got back from Spring Break 2016.  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that being the party hardy family that we are, we went to Cancun, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or were asked to be hosts of the MTV beach party.

You are very close.

We rented a car and drove for a total of 2200 miles and 42 hours.    (Is Road Trip still an MTV gameshow?)

I called the local rental company I happened to be on the website of and asked the guy who answered what the difference was between a standard SUV, a luxury SUV, and a premier SUV.  He told me to rent a Standard and they would give me an Expedition.  Part of my goal in renting a car for the road trip was to try out a bigger car and see if I liked to drive it.  I said Okay fine and didn’t think about it.

Until I worried it wasn’t going to work out.

I called Thursday to ask if we could rent a day early and they said sure.  The person on the phone said nothing about not getting the car I had been promised so I tried not to be worried about it.  I just couldn’t believe there was an Expedition in Helena.

(When Kevin wanted to rent a convertible for an anniversary trip, it took them a week to get one up here.  This isn’t really convertible country.)

I showed up on Friday to get the car and they had a

Dodge Ram Truck

for me.

I was told it is in the same category as the Standard SUV which I had ordered.  I asked if no one noticed I would be driving it ONE WAY to MISSOURI when they put it aside.  The lady at the desk said that she didn’t think it would work.  I agreed.

I then went outside and looked at what they had available.  The minivans were on recall and so I basically had the option of a Dodge Journey.   It had three rows but it is smaller than our Pilot and therefore did not reach my goal of trying a bigger car.

It also changed the plans of how we would pack.  Unfortunately, I did not change WHAT we would pack, causing a tiny panic when trying to fit everything in our suitcases for the flight back.

(We decided to fly back so we could spend more time at different sites and less time driving.  It would’ve been a great idea and we would’ve had plenty of luggage, had we gotten a larger car.)

So that is the start of our week-long trek across the US of A.

Join us next time for “My Rapid City is Faster than Yours” or “Nauvoo; Naw Problem.”

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

I really wanted to become a biker while here. But our SUV was too small.

A Most Perfect Road Trip

I am planning our family vacation.  We are going on a very long road trip to South Dakota and Illinois and Missouri.  We are combining US history with LDS history with Jethro’s BBQ and every candy store on I-90.

While watching Making a Murderer, I’ve been googling “car trip activities.”

The internet is an amazing place.

I have:

Bingo; Road Sign Scavenger Hunt; Restaurant I Spy; state license plates; crossword puzzles; and a map.

I have treats and different snack ideas for different mile markers.  I’m going to have them color paper sacs to put their treats in.  I’m that crafty.  I bought paper sacs and I have markers and crayons.  I’m basically the female Van Gogh.

Or redheaded Martha Stewart.  Depending on what kind of treats I combine in a single plastic baggie, I may be the redheaded Rachel Ray. Or Julia Child. Or Marilyn Monroe.

I am a village.

We will be in this car at least 20 hours.

I’m hoping to win mother of the year from all of this.  At least until hour 4.

Maybe I’ll buy some jelly beans on sale and hide them in the car and make the kids find them.  Blind folded.

That should occupy them for 10 minutes.

I'm even going to rip this up and give each kid a couple of pages.  That's how creative I am.

I’m even going to rip this up and give each kid a couple of pages. That’s how creative I am.

Shopping with my Daughter

I just went to Target with my 10 year old. Everyone should experience the joy of shopping with her. So with her permission, I share our recent experience. 

Every other year or so she gets Valentine’s and St. Patrick Day shirts. We went over to that section and I showed her this: 

  
Her response?  

“But gold is a solid rock. I don’t want my heart to be a solid rock.”

Then we saw this:

 
Her response:

“Donut pants?  That’s something YOU would wear.”

And there you have it. 

I have no idea why the second picture is sideways.

(And I probably would wear them if the situation was right.)

Happy New Year!

For the record, I’ve been writing over 1,000 words a day this week.  I just haven’t written any of them here.

I was going through a writing freeze for a minute because I couldn’t decide what to write so now I’m just writing stuff that no one will see, but I’m writing.  It’s my new goal.  Just enjoy writing.

But in case you’ve missed all of my amazing parenting advice over the holidays, I thought I’d leave you with my new meal plan for 2016.

For Thursdays.

I only have a meal plan for Thursdays.  And I think I only have meal plans for about 6-8 weeks.  I haven’t done enough research.

But yesterday, while looking for tomato puree and buying diced tomatoes instead, (NOT THE SAME) I walked passed the beans and I thought:

“I should make a different chili recipe every week and have my kids vote.”

Then I walked passed the CANNED chili and I thought:

“EVEN BETTER!  We should try a different CANNED chili once a week and decide which we like best.”

(I thought about doing a taste test in one night but that’s a lot of pots to clean.)

So there is my meal plan for the next few weeks.  I don’t know how many brands of canned chili are out there so I can’t give you an exact week count.  And if my kids revolt, this amazing idea may end early and I’ll switch to taste testing canned spaghetti sauce.

I think I could keep up Taste-Test Thursday all year; there are so many canned foods out there.

(I don’t have a picture.  Instead, go to your grocery store and stare at the canned chili for a while.)

I will have nice and warm Rhodes rolls to go with the chili and I’m sure I’ll find some sort of veggie to serve along with it.  (That’s for people who are worried about balanced meals.  FYI, you’re web search sent you to the wrong site.)

2016: Let’s make it the year of CAN do!

(I crack myself up)

I Volunteer; I’m just that Selfless

It’s 6:51 am.    I just worked out at Crossfit, made lunch and breakfast smoothies for everyone and made Kevin an omelet.  In the next half hour, I will make pancakes for the kids as well.  And Tuesday is the day I volunteer at the school and bestow my knowledge upon Littles and basically change lives within half an hour.

I feel like that should be enough for the day.

Isn’t it kind of greedy for my family to want more?

Isn’t it the time of year to be nice and kind to all?

Wouldn’t that mean letting me stay in bed for a few days?

Aren’t I part of ALL?

If EVERYONE is supposed to be nice and do good to all species during this time of year, then who gets to sit back and enjoy all this niceness and goodness?

I volunteer.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

It should be me in sweats, in bed, with a tv, and this cake.

I’m Trying to Feed my Children

I think I have stated here how much I truly hate cooking.

And if we are being completely honest, I believe it hates me too.

It’s just so much work trying to come up with ideas and then buying the ingredients.  Nowadays people also expect it to be HEALTHY.

Who has time for this?

You put studying spelling with your kids on top of this and it’s just overwhelming.

So I did what every mom with a computer who is really lazy and spends too much time on Facebook and Google does and found a company that will send me food every week.

Then I found one that actually delivers to Montana.

HelloFresh sends me three meals a week with the ingredients and the recipes and I just have to throw it together.  This generally takes 40 minutes.  And this is the main problem.

I have to be home for 40 minutes in the evening.  HAHAHAHA

Tonight I am getting my son to the gym at 4:30; my daughter to soccer at 5; pick up my son at 5:30; pick up my daughter at 6:30 (this will actually be punted to my husband) and take the dog to training at 6:30 because the purebred mutt still poops in the basement and does not sit still for more than 5 seconds.  (We will be doing puppy training again in the new year.  And we will keep doing it until the dog stays dagnabit.)

(I apologize for my language.)

I will be home all evening starting at 7:30pm.  So my family can either eat at 8:30 pm or I can make the meal at 3pm and my children can complain of hunger at 8:30 pm.

At the same time, I’m making meals that look like this:

Italian meatloaf with green beans and garlic and basil mashed potatoes. (I will never be able to make this again but look how pretty!)

Italian meatloaf with green beans and garlic and basil mashed potatoes. (I will never be able to make this again but look how pretty!)

And they are well-balanced and nutritious.  I really do love it.  It takes virtually no thought on my part and I look over achieving.  It’s a little gourmet for my kids at times but they get to try foods I would never cook if not for this company.

I save the meals for nights when I will have time to make them.  (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday)

And the rest of the time, I buy pizza.

How To Have a Posh Life

This public service announcement is to find out if you are living as posh a life as me.

(Please do not confuse my poshness with Posh Spice poshness.  I’ve been known to be seen eating.)

  1. Join your husband and and kids and two neighbor kids on a drive to Park Lake.
  2. Stop at a local grocery store and buy their huge sandwich.
  3. Ask the deli to slice the sandwich.
  4. Only notice once you are halfway to Park Lake that they only sliced the huge sandwich in half and you have 8 people to feed.
  5. Also while driving, start feeling sick.
  6. Ask husband to take you home then decide you need to spend family time together so keep going.
  7. Eat sushi on the drive because sushi has rice and rice settles stomachs no matter what the other ingredients might do.
  8. Scream “Pull Over” and know you won’t throw up yet because you are destined to throw up in the car.
  9. Start throwing up out the window 2 minutes after you get back in the car.
  10. Make sure to lean over your arm so that you can get it all over the side of your car AND arm.
  11. Then get out of the car and puke some more, making sure to get it on your socks as well.
  12. Get to Park Lake.
  13. Arrive to find out the only other people there are a family your husband knows and you get to be introduced to from a distance.
  14. Explain why you are at a distance to a complete stranger while smiling.
  15. Lie down on a towel and try to fall asleep.
  16. Feel tugging on your sock.  Think it’s the dog.
  17. Look down and see a CHIPMUNK eating vomit off your sock.
  18. Cry a little
It's easy to see why a chipmunk would be attracted to me

It’s easy to see why a chipmunk would be attracted to me

And now for the advanced degree in poshness.

On the next day, the septic system will get cleaned out but they won’t put the lid back on; they’ll only put it in the whole sideways.

Your daughter will throw a ball and the dog with run to catch it

And FALL INTO the SEPTIC system.

You will then wash the dog three times and spray her with many things made for dogs to get smell out.

Then you will take her to the groomers and have them give her a buzz.

she has no hair.  Poor thing

She has no hair. Poor thing

Now be honest.

Don’t you “Wannabe” like me?

Quick Update

I have lots to write about but not enough time the day before school starts so this is just a tiny update before the bigger recap of last week that includes vomit, chipmunks, a septic system and a dog.

But I’m in a rush because I (drum roll)

SIGNED UP FOR SPANISH 101.

I’ve wanted to get back to school for a long time.  I’m hoping it helps get me back to forced writing because I will be out and at the library.  And I’ve wanted to learn Spanish for a while now.

I called a friend yesterday who recently went back to school and asked her how it was.  Of course, she is going back to get a teacher certificate and is full time and not auditing one class so next time I go to a Spanish-speaking country I can ask for gluten free nachos.  (This is supposed to be a humorous dig at me learning Spanish and has nothing to do with my glutationous consumption.)

She said I would have to give up things.  It would be a sacrifice.  Homework is a killer.

I thought: “This won’t be like that because it’s ONE class.  I know the basics already.  I HAVE been to Cancun.  Twice.”

Then I logged into my book and workbook online.  I couldn’t figure it out.  You can buy a book for A LOT of DINERO (look Spanish) or you can buy an e-book.  But e-books are hard for me.  I have to scroll around.  I have to enlarge.  I can’t seem to figure out how to drag the answers over.  It’s driving me insane.  MUCHO LOCO.  or MUY LOCO.

I dunno.  We didn’t go over that on the first day.

So I’m seriously considering buying the book because I’m old and need paper.

And today I’m rushing around getting back to school hair cuts and activities I’ve put off for the whole summer (the Sapphire Mine was not a high priority) and getting my daughter and her friend’s nails done for the first day of school (should not have been a high priority, but come on)  and I made a goal to make healthy lunches this year and dinners and plan it out and I’ve been talking about this so much I’ve been asked to teach a 10 minute spiel (oops  German.) and so I’ve been researching that.

So I’m going to have to give something up because I’m running out of time to do my homework for class tomorrow.

I think my nails may have to start growing hang nails and looking sad and pathetic again.

Except how will a class full of 18-20 year olds respect me if I have bad cuticles?  I feel like I must show them that life gets better after 40 (even though I’m only admitting to 35 in that class but I’m going to tell everyone how much I look forward to turning 40).

Vanity must not be put aside.

Pizza for lunch and dinner for the next 180 days it is!

See?  This whole going back to school thing is gonna be a cinch.

(I apologize.  I can’t post the picture of my nails.  My phone is having issues from trying to do my homework on it. )