Family Game

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What a wonderful time of year! Now that the presents have all been opened, What is next? Playing with our family and friends of course. Here is a great game for you and all of your holiday guests.  This would be perfect for your New Year’s Celebrations. 

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You Will Need…

Vaseline
Bowls for each player
Cotton Balls
A way to keep time

Setting Up…

Have everyone sit in a circle around a table or on the floor. Place a dab of vaseline on the tip of each player’s nose. Put a bowl in front of each player and a pile of cotton balls next to the bowl or scattered loosely in front of them on the table.

How to Play…

The object of the game is to place the cotton balls into the bowl using only your nose. Hands should be down or behind your back when you play. After 1 minute, the player with the most cotton balls in their bowl wins the prize. So, you are essentially “shoveling snow”, or cotton balls with your nose. 

We like to play by taking turns one at a time so that we can watch each other. We use one bowl, each player takes a turn and then counts how many cotton balls they got. We dump the cotton balls out and the next person takes their turn. 

You could easily play in teams also. Depending on how many people were involved. 

Don’t forget to TAKE PICTURES. These are memories you don’t want to miss. 

Happy Holidays to you and your family. Enjoy spending time with one another!

Have a question or just want to say hello.

PVC Sprinkler: Lowe’s outdoor challenge

The last week here has been H.O.T…HOT!!  With temps in the high 90’s and low 100’s we have been feeling the heat.  So when Lowe’s challenged their Creative Network to create something to make the outdoors more fun and memorable, I knew this PVC sprinkler would be a perfect fit and would cool us off.

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I have seen a few of these around, but the first one I saw was in the Family Fun magazine a couple of years ago.  I have always wanted to make one.

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I decided to come up with my own design and drew it out before we even got started. My husband and I made a few changes to the design when we actually put it together.

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I was really happy with how it turned out.  The kids LOVE it.  We even had the neighborhood kids and some cousins over to play in it with us.  The kids rode their scooters through it and we have plans to put it over the slip and slide.  Doesn’t that sound like a ton of fun?!

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PVC is really inexpensive and we were able to put this whole thing together for $25.  That is a pretty great price for something that entertained the kids for a couple hours every day and cooled them off during the hottest part of the day.

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I will be back to share with you the specific details for how we build this in case you would like to make something similar at your house.

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What are some fun ways you are making memories outside this summer? We could always use some fun ideas around here!

Next month I will be back with another outside idea, courtesy of Lowes and I’ll be giving away another Lowes Gift Card!  So be sure to keep checking back!

Teaching Our Children Gratitude



Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our children. It is learned. So, as parents, “Teaching our Children Gratitude” should be at the top of our parental to-do list. 

Good research has found that adults who are grateful report having fewer health problems (like digestion and headaches), more energy, and a greater feeling of well-being than those who complain. Most studies show that the more gratitude we show, the healthier and happier we are.
Can’t we assume findings would be the same for children? Children who express gratitude are kinder, more appreciative, more empathetic, happier and more enthusiastic. Grateful children understand that other people have needs and they look outside themselves. They are more polite, usually better behaved and generally more pleasant to be around.
Kids who are not taught gratitude struggle with feelings of entitlement and are usually disappointed, feeling that nothing is good enough for them. 
In trying to teach our children gratitude, parents have been making the same mistakes for years. Avoid pointing out to our children that they are more blessed than others. That doesn’t teach them to be grateful. When it comes to meals, don’t tell them “you should be grateful for your food, and eat it, kids in other countries are starving”. This won’t work either.
Instead…
We need to model gratitude ourselves. We must live lives of gratitude if we want our children to really learn to be grateful. That means they need to see us serve others, including our spouse, write thank you notes, say “please” and “thank you” and show empathy. That means we need to criticize less, complain less, and point out the positives, not the negative, in people and in situations. This includes our children and spouses. We need to stop complaining about our children (and spouses), instead tell them how grateful we are for them. We need to show gratitude for adversity too. Remember, children will, for the most part, do what their parents do. That is why gratitude has to start with parents, in our homes.
Say “No”. It is important for us to be reasonable and say “No”. We also have to be careful rewarding our children for everything. We want them to do good because it is the right thing to do, and not because they get something, like a new toy or money.

Give your children responsibility. We are always more grateful for things when we have to do them ourselves. The same applies to children. Give them appropriate responsibilities. They will realize the effort and energy it takes to accomplish them, and become more grateful for the people around them that do things for them. (Like their mom and dad.)

Teach your children to be grateful for adversity. When things are hard, or uncertain, or don’t go as planned, we need to teach our children to be grateful. To recognize the blessings that comes from hard things. We don’t want to teach, “we are luckier, or better than someone else”. Instead help children see what can be learned, and how we can take what we learn into other situations to help others and ourselves.
Role Play. Practice saying “please” and “thank you” with your children. Role play situations (grandma gives you a new toy, or someone pays you a compliment). During the role play, talk about how others feel when we show them gratitude. Remember, children aren’t thinking about everyone else. They are thinking about themselves, so we have to teach them.
Teach your children to write Thank you Notes.  Insist that this be done. Teach them that it is part of life. Organize a thank you note station in your home that is always stocked with papers, envelopes, stamps and crayons, etc. (Let your children see you sitting there often also). Start when they are very small by having them draw “thank you pictures” and then you write the words to go with it. Then move on to notes that have most of the words filled in. Have children write what it is they are thankful for and sign their name. By the age of 7 or 8, it shouldn’t be a problem for them to write the entire notes themselves. Don’t worry about perfection. Worry that they are remembering to do it. And doing it.
Point out the simple things. Teach children to be grateful for the creations around them, the seasons, the sunshine, the falling leaves and the rain. Children will quickly understand that there is beauty all around, and that it has come from something much bigger than we are. Celebrate creations. Jump in the leaves, splash in the puddles, and feel the sun on our skin. 

Provide your family opportunities to serve. Start by encouraging your children to serve other family members, and then help them find ways to actively serve others. Let them help as you serve others. They will learn by example. The goal is to give them “grateful eyes”, so they begin to for see the need before they have to be told.

With Thanksgiving on our minds, it is a great time to encourage gratitude in our children.
Here is a video full of great family activities that encourage gratitude. Use them this year, or in the years to come. 



Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I am thankful for so many things. One of them, the opportunity to post here on the The Idea Room, and get to know all of you better. Thank you for reading and adding your thoughts to each post. Have a wonderful Turkey Day. 





Have a question or just want to say hello.

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DIY Magnetic Silly Faces

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I recently shared this fun tutorial for Silly Magnetic Faces over on I {heart} Nap Time last week as part of a fun week of Silhouette inspired projects.  I know not many of you are able to have a Silhouette machine, but the fun thing about this tutorial, is that you don’t need to have one to be able to make these for your little ones.  All you would have to do is simply cut them out the old fashioned way.  To learn exactly how I made them you can follow along with the tutorial below.

I just recently was able to try out Silhouette’s Printable Magnet Paper for the first time.  I thought about making something more practical like cute labels for my family’s organization board, but I went for something a little more fun and creative…Magnetic Silly Faces!

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They were an instant hit at our house.  My daughter loved laughing at herself and the various ways she could make herself silly.  The best part is how easy it was to make and put together.

 

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I simply started by taking a close up picture of my daughter and then downloaded it into my Photoshop program.  I was sure to take the picture with a white background behind her (a wall) to provide minimal distraction in the finished product.  Make sure to have the person looking at you straight on.

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Crop your picture so that it is measures 8 x 10 and print it out onto a non-glossy photo paper.  Set it aside.

*You could make this smaller depending on what you would like, I wanted mine to fit in an 8×10 inch frame without a matte.  Do what works best for your needs.  You could also print it out so that it fits into a fun tin carrying case like they sell at scrapbook store for a more portable version.

In the Silhouette program I was able to download all of these fun shapes to use to make the silly faces.  With my daughters picture still up in the edit window of Photoshop, I measured how big I needed each object using the ruler grid.  For example, to determine how big the glasses needed to be, I measured where I wanted the end of the glasses to come on each side of her face and determined that the glasses needed to be 7 inches across.  Then I measured the height to be 3 inches from above the eyes to where I wanted them to sit below the eyes. 

 

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After determining the measurements needed for each item, I adjusted the sizes of each object accordingly.  It seems like a long process, but was actually pretty easy with this new Silhouette program. 

*One thing I learned is to make them a little bit bigger than the actual measurements.  I wish I made mine each a bit bigger.  I will make the adjustments when I make these for the rest of my kids {because apparently it wasn’t fair that I only made one for someone else…imagine that!?!}

When you have everything ready, print them from the Silhouette program onto the Magnet paper in your regular printer.  Make sure that you load the magnet paper properly so that it will print on the white side.  Then place it onto your cutting mat feed that into your Silhouette SD machine and line it up according to your registration marks.  Cut the paper.  I set machine to a cutting speed of 4, a thickness of 22 and used the yellow cutting blade and it worked perfectly.

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Now that the silly face pieces are cut you can take your photo and cut it so that it fits into a picture frame.  Then I took some sheet metal, that I had leftover from the same organization board I mentioned and linked to in the first paragraph, and traced the picture on it to know exactly where to cut it.

 

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Cut the sheet metal out with some tin snips.  Be very careful with this as the metal can be pretty sharp on the edges.

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Place the metal sheet into the frame and place the picture on top of it.  This makes it so you can store the silly face pieces on the back when they are not in use and keeps them nicely hidden away.

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Pretty fun and simple right??  I thought so!  There are so many different ways you could use these to entertain your kids depending on the different sizes you made them and whether you wanted them to be portable or not!

 

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This one was my daughter’s favorite.  She thought it looked just like me!  I am hoping the jury is still out on that one!

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And when the picture is not being used to make silly faces, you can use it as a regular photo to add some fun to your child’s room.  Pretty versatile right?  Thanks Silhouette for providing us with another fun media to play and create with!!

 

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 Linking up here:

Blue Cricket Design

 

Thirty Hand Made Days

Our Valentine’s Day

How was your Valentine’s Day?  We had a busy, but good one.  Here are a few images from our day.  We had our big Valentine’s candlelight dinner on Sunday so we could sit and eat at a leisurely pace.  Then we played some games as a family. 

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Then on the actual holiday we gobbled up some heart shaped pancakes FOR DINNER!  Our morning was a little too hectic and this momma decided to sleep in :)!  Earlier in the week we  decorated some sugar cookies and shared them with our friends.  Then we enjoyed THIS…Brownie Trifle!  Yum!

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Super easy and delicious.  Just brownies, whipped cream, white chocolate pudding, and fresh strawberries {raspberries would be good too}!

The girls were given some flowers by their first true love…isn’t he so sweet?  Love him!  And I got some brownies from my FAVORITE local bakery…I may or may not have hidden  them!

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{now} 

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{the day after}

P.S.  Remember when my daughter split her forehead open and I blogged about it here?  Well it has been 5 months now and it is looking so much better.  We have been diligent about putting sun screen and Mederma on her scar.  If she is going to be outside at all we slap a band-aid on it! In fact if you look closely you can see that she has a band-aid tan.  I know many of you were kind enough to comment and lend your support and expertise when it happened so I thought I would share with you how it looks now!  I think it is still fading and will be barely noticeable the older she gets!

New Years Vacation & Resolutions!

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How was your New Years Eve Celebration? Ours are usually pretty low key. We usually get together with family and stay up late, eat yummy food and play lots of games.

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This year was no different. We were able to stay in Park City, Utah for a couple of days with most of my siblings and their kids. It was a bit crowded in the condo, but we had a great time together.

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As you can see, we had a LOT of snow to play in. It was FREEZING cold outside, but the kids managed to spend a good amount of time playing in the snow and sledding. The air was so cold that the snow was nice and powdery…great for skiing, but not so great for making a snowman.

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Due to the cold temperatures, we spent a lot of time indoors playing games and hanging out. Now it is back to reality, healthy food and a schedule! I will also be back to regular blogging. It was nice to have a break from the computer, but it is also nice to get back to blogging because I really enjoy it {most of the time :)}

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I have a few New Years Resolutions for the coming year, 2011:

1. Get back into running shape and train for a half-marathon and another triathlon in the spring.

2. Clear more junk and clutter from my home.

3. Spend more time just playing with my kids.

4. Finish some Home projects {basement and back porch}.

5. Read my Book of Mormon {scriptures} from beginning to end.

6. Have a kinder heart.

What did you do for your New Years Celebration? What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?

★Amy  

www.FlirtyAprons.com

Random Facts About Little ‘Ole Me

Since I have been totally lazy this week and NOT in the mood for projects or making any more yummy treats, I thought it would be fun to do share a little bit more about myself with you. I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy it when my favorite bloggers share some of their personal life.

Here are some random facts about me…

–I have a irrational FEAR of spiders! I do not like them…AT ALL! My husband (and now my sons) have been trained to kill them upon immediate discovery. This “mandatory” understanding arose out of pure necessity after I stepped into the shower one morning and a spider leaped across the opposite wall and slid down my entire leg…*shudder*. That incident took place only a few short months before I saw a spider crawling on the ceiling in our bedroom one night just as the hubs was falling asleep…Before the mandatory kill rule. The hubs simply turned over and went back to sleep. I lay in bed paralyzed with fear and eventually fell into a disturbed slumber. In the middle of the night I awoke with a start and could feel something crawling on my face. I violenty slapped and brushed off my face in total panic. Sure enough, when I looked in the mirror in the morning, there were smooshed spider parts on my cheek!

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–I can not have my feet covered when I sleep. I get this from my Dad. I have to kick out the bottom of the sheet if it is tucked under the mattress so that my feet can “breathe”. But, they can not hang over the edge of the bed (cause the monsters can grab them).

–I learned how to ride a horse in College. I took several Equestrian classes and was in the Equestrian Club for about 3 years. I competed in several small Riding Competitions and helped teach the Beginning Equestrian classes. I learned to ride both Western and English styles. I loved it…I haven’t saddled a horse since. I miss that!

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–I love running. I have been a runner since College as well. I ran regularly up to the time I was pregnant with my third child. Then Motherhood took over and I found less and less time and ENERGY for it. I would run off and on, but finally began to get serious about it again within the last 9 months. I have missed it!

–I don’t like balloons. I am not really “scared” of them…but they make me nervous! I will still buy them, but am nervous having them in the car! I don’t let my kids play with them when I am nearby…I am nervous that they will pop! When I was a kid, there was a popular party game that was a relay race where you would see which team could sit on and pop the most balloons the fastest. I would always sneak to the back of the line or make an excuse so that I wouldn’t have to play.

–I love to play Basketball! It is my favorite sport!

–I grew up backpacking in the Uintah Mountains in Utah. My Dad was a big backpacker and took all five of us kids from the time we were teeny tiny. We loved it! I had never been “car camping” (where you drive to your camping spot and pitch a tent) until after I was married. It took a lot of getting used to camping right next to other campers. We are still big campers!

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{Nice choice on the Mullet MOM…Love it! LOL}

–I used to be a clogger…we even took first place in the State Championship one year.

–I love to read!

–I love a good thunderstorm. Ever since I was little (and to this day), when a thunderstorm hits I will grab a blanket and sit outside (under the porch cover) and watch the storm.

–One time I was almost struck by lightning! One night a huge thunderstorm rolled through. I was upstairs in my bedroom and was suddenly awakened by an intense light. My room was instantly HOT and there was a strange smell. Almost immediately after the whole house literally shook with an ENORMOUS rumble. I flew out of bed and ran to my parents room. Only my Dad was awake. A few minutes later we heard the sirens. My neighbors chimney had been struck by lightning and was on fire. Their chimney is directly across from my childhood bedroom window no further than 20 feet away.

–Back to running…one night in college while I was running, a man came from out of nowhere and began running right next to me, stride for stride. I didn’t hear him come up because I was running with my Walkman on (does that date me? ;) Surprised, I turned my head to look at him and saw that he had tied his shirt around the top of his hat like a turban…other than that, he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing! I turned away and took off like the wind. I have never run so fast in my life! LOL! I went immediately home and called the campus police. They never caught him that I know of. To this day I wish I would have looked to see if he had running shoes on…weird thing to wonder huh?

–I tried to teach myself to play the guitar many years ago…I failed miserably. My son is now using my guitar and taking REAL lessons. I would give anything to learn how to play the piano.

–My childhood friend taught me how to suck my thumb when I was four…she quit…I didn’t. It wasn’t until I had to have a metal bar with three downward spikes poking down from the roof of my mouth, that I finally quit. I was almost 12 years old.

Okay! That was my turn! Now it’s your turn! I hope you will play along and won’t leave me hanging here. If you have a blog, go a do a similar post so we can get to know more about you and each other. Then come back and link them up here! I would love to learn some more about my readers!

**If you link up, please leave the person above and below your link some comment love! That way everyone will get some comments!

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★Amy  

www.FlirtyAprons.com

Good Bye Christmas!

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I don’t know about you, but we had a great Christmas with several activities and parties with family and friends spread out over a couple of weeks! We have been staying up way too late playing games, watching movies and eating far too much {yummy} J.U.N.K.!!

Santa Claus was good to us…and I was finally able to go and get an analysis done on my running gait and was properly fitted with some brand new running shoes! Yay!

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I love having the house all decorated for the Holidays and love how fun and festive the atmosphere is. But for some reason, when Christmas is over…and the gifts are unwrapped, I feel an intense need to get rid of the CLUTTER!

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So, I cleaned up all the Christmas “trimmings and trappings” and “ribbons and wrappings”. Yesterday we also went through all the kids toys and purged everything that we had outgrown or no longer wanted and donated them to Goodwill.

I think it also helped that I had watched a couple episodes of the show Hoarders over the weekend. I don’t watch much TV but find myself fascinated and yet slightly horrified at the state of some of those homes. It hits a bit close to home as my Grandpa {a child of the depression} was a hoarder for the last several years of his life.

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So, I get a bee in my bonnet this time of year to get things clean and organized!

What about you? What are some things that you do to get rid of the clutter?

★Amy  

www.FlirtyAprons.com

Southern California Trip

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We just got back from a family vacation in Southern California. We had a wedding out there last weekend (the 2nd and 3rd of October) with my husband’s family. Then we headed to Anaheim for Disneyland but stopped by Laguna Beach on the way. The weather was a bit cool and it drizzled off and on but we enjoyed it anyway.

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We spent the next couple of days at Disneyland. (I look like I am having a great time in this picture…LOL! I think I was caught mid-sentence.) The weather was drizzly and overcast for about 24 hours. But it wasn’t too bad. We actually enjoyed it due to the fact that many people stayed away from Disneyland. The longest wait we had for a ride was 15 minutes. And most we were able to walk right on the ride with no waiting at all. Also, many of the ride lines are covered so we were able to stay pretty dry!

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The last day at Disneyland, the weather was perfect and sunny but the crowds were back!

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It was so much fun! I LOVE Disneyland! It had been 4 years since we had last been and the younger kids didn’t remember much and the baby had never been. Half the fun is in seeing how excited the kids get over the rides and meeting their favorite characters.

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I have to say that as much as I LOVE Winnie the Pooh…I am glad I don’t have to go on that ride again…for a while at least!

Then after we were finished at Disneyland, and swimming in the hotel pool, we headed back up to Laguna Beach. This time the weather was absolutely perfect for playing at the beach. We had planned on staying over night in Laguna Beach at another hotel.

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But when we checked in and went into our room we knew immediately that we would NOT be staying. The room was FILTHY and smelled like urine. We flipped back the bedspread and the sheets had crumbs and a hair on them…YIKES! Ummm…No Thank You! So we turned and walked right back out. Luckily they gave us a return on our deposit so we weren’t out any money. We decided that we would just drive back to St. George, Utah (where we knew we had somewhere we could stay) from California (about 6-6.5 hours) instead of staying over night and trying to find another hotel.

We were able to find a great parking spot near some bathrooms and a shower at the beach and we were able to change into our swim suits.

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The beach weather was perfect and there were very few people there! Love that! We played all afternoon at the beach. Then shortly before we were ready to head home, my hubby and boys went body surfing one last time. My husband was suddenly “hit” by something on the top of his foot while in the water and something brushed up against his leg.

He came hobbling out of the water clearly in pain. He had a puncture wound on the top of his foot and it was bleeding. We are pretty sure he was stung by a stingray. Apparently they are common in that area and several people are stung by them every year. He is now one of the statistics. Hot water and ibuprofen helped ease the pain considerably.

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While the hubs was recovering, a big ball of tangled sea weed washed ashore. The kids drug it up onto the beach and soon discovered that it was full of sea life. They found a crab, a baby lobster, some sea shells and several brittle sea stars!

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The kids were SO excited. We collected as many as we could and put them in a clean container we had with us. Then we threw the seaweed back into the ocean because the kids didn’t want any other creatures we might have missed to die. Then we took our rescued creatures and found a nice tide pool for them to live in or head back out to sea.

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Well, while we were releasing them, I stepped on a bee. Poor bee and poor me…although he did sting me, I am afraid I came out of it better than he did. Now the hubs and I were both hobbling. This day is not turning out how we planned!

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We were able to drive to St. George (very late into the night and early the next morning) where we had a place to crash for the night. Then we played there all the next day and just layed by the pool and relaxed from our crazy day before. My husband’s foot is feeling much better and the swelling is almost gone. We had a great time but it is always nice to be back home safe and sound!

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Have any of you had some crazy/scary/unexpected things happen on your family vacation?

★Amy