Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tell Me Thursday - A First

I debated taking this picture, and then I really debated posting it.  But, I liked the image, and the wide expanse of floor that led up to Nate and the priest.*

If you're unsure what's happening -- this is Nate at his First Reconciliation.  A far cry from the small, enclosed cubicles in a darkened church of my youth. He is at the Moose Lodge sitting face to face with a dear, retired priest.

Our parish had a family retreat for a few hours on a Saturday morning, then 2 priests heard the first confessions of about 40 second graders. They were encouraged to choose only one or two "unloving choices" to discuss, and were given a shortened version of the Act of Contrition to recite.

Nate worked hard memorizing the full version, just as his brother did the year before.  Even though he wasn't able to recite it this time, he'll be ready next time.

*And, Nate gave me permission to post this picture.

Did you play Wordless Wednesday yesterday?  Link up at Tell Me Thursday to share the story behind your picture!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - A First

Play along at Wordless Wednesday!  If it's impossible for you to stay quiet about the story behind your picture, at least wait one day and play Tell Me Thursday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: The Mass, A Guided Tour

When I chose The Mass A Guided Tour by Thomas Richstatter from The Catholic Company to review, my initial thought was that it might be a good reference as we steer Nate toward his First Communion late this Spring.  While the boys attend Religious Education through our parish church, we also do quite a bit of supplementing at home.

When I began reading this book, I realized that it was probably too much for Nate or Colin, but it was a wonderful book about the Mass for me! I'm a cradle Catholic, but it seems that the last decade have found me at church out of a family obligation to take my children and hope that I could manage to find something for myself while there.  I truly believe in the majesty and awe of our Mass, but the distraction of young children have made it hard to recognize that each Sunday.

This lovely guided tour of the rich history and meaning behind each piece of Mass was inspiring and informative. Ancient history, as well as modern changes were written about in easy to understand terms, with no judgment.

The book helped me connect with the process on a deeper level than I think I ever had.  I especially loved how Richstatter compared the service to a symphony in four movements, and carried that imagery through the chapters.

The Mass A Guided Tour is just over 120 pages and each page is full of information and food for thought.  I highly recommend the book for adults who wish to know more about our Catholic Mass.  And, I believe that even if you are a cradle Catholic, there's always more to learn!

You can purchase it from The Catholic Company's website for $12.95.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from The Catholic Company to facilitate my complete and honest review.  No other compensation was provided.

Review: Neosporin Lip Health

Living in the desert, we often struggle with dry skin and dry lips.  Mom Central and Neosporin asked if I wanted to try out their new lip products and I couldn't refuse! The Neosporin Lip Health, Daily Hydration Therapy SPF 20 and Neosporin Lip Health, Overnight Renewal Therapy samples arrived the day after we returned from our visit to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff.  Not only were our lips dry, but they were also chapped from the wind and cold in northern Arizona.

The Neosporin Lip Health, Overnight Renewal Therapy is thick and goes on easily from the small tub. I slathered it on my lips, as well as all 3 kids, and was pleased with the results in just one night!  I had agreed to do a 3-day challenge, so I swiped it on their lips for 3 nights and was very happy that their chapped lips were a thing of the past.

I followed up each morning with Neosporin Lip Health, Daily Hydration Therapy SPF 20 on my lips.  It provided a nice, moist layer on my lips and for those days that I taught, it helped my lipstick slide over my lips.  The boys weren't interested in trying this product, but Lydia was happy to let me put it on her lips.

Both products have little to no scent, which I appreciate. They definitely did the job, and I will continue to use them to prevent (or treat) dry lips.

You can find more information, as well as download a coupon, at

Disclosure: "I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Neosporin and received a sample of the Lip Health Overnight Renewal Therapy and the Lip Health Daily Hydration Therapy to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate."

Hope for Haiti Relief -- Music Download

The scenes from Haiti have been haunting.  We've donated what we could to the American Red Cross and UNICEF.  I sent a check directly to the ARC (didn't want them to have to wait a few months before the cell phone bill cycles were completed before they got their donation) and I used Coinstar to donate to UNICEF (dump in your change, choose UNICEF and your funds are transferred within 48 hours)

When I saw that the Hope For Haiti Now concert was available for download, I downloaded my copy at Amazon.  All the proceeds from the downloads will be distributed to a variety of relief organizations helping Haiti -- plus I added some great music to my iPod.

If you're looking for a way to help, or another way to help, consider downloading the Hope For Haiti Now set.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Domain Change

After almost 7 years, I've decided to purchase a domain name to host this blog.  There are a variety of reasons why, but I won't bore you!  Just know that you'll find me at doing the same thing I've been doing since 2003.

You'll be automatically re-directed if you enter the blogspot address, so it probably won't make a difference at all to my readers.

One of the reasons it has taken so long to switch away from a blogspot address was that I was hoping to purchase Unfortunately, the owners of that domain have done nothing with it for years, but weren't interested in giving it up.

When I started the blog I was comforted by the fact that sunshine IS free as I was struggling to find my place. I'm also comforted by my little patch of sunshine, and while I'm leaving "sunshine is free" behind, it'll always hold special meaning for me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Can't Sing

I can't sing. Not only can't I sing, I don't even have a sense of rhythm. They say children like the sound of their mothers' voices regardless, so I always sang to my children.

Each had a few special songs. When Colin was tiny, I would croon "Hush Little Baby" over and over, and I sang a version of B-I-N-G-O except with the letters of his name. I sang "Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortening Bread" to Nate during the many late nights we spent together, as well as "Skin-a-marink-a-do"

Lydia seems to love music more than the boys ever did, and she loves to sing and dance in a much more intense way than the boys. She forces me to stretch the most in my musical abilities, though, because she insists I make up songs on the fly. She'll say "Will you sing to me?" and when I say "yes," she'll say "Ok. Sing a song about pink cupcakes." So, I make up a song about pink cupcakes. And purple cows. And yellow cake. And flying in the sky. She never runs out of song ideas, and always seems pleased with the songs I create.

I can't refuse to sing to my young daughter, but I confess I'm glad nobody else hears me sing!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Piggy Paint Winner

I used to choose the winner for Piggy Paint! Comment #4 -- Denise -- was the winner! She has been contacted via email and has 48 hours to contact me for her gift certificate.

I want to thank Piggy Paint again for providing me with samples and the gift certificate to give away!

As a side note, I had more entries for the last 2 giveaways using Google Forms than I have had for most of my previous giveaways when entries were a public comments. I'm not sure of the psychology behind that, but I'm going to continue using Google Forms for my giveaways!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorite Celebrity Baby Products - Show Link

As I wrote earlier, I was on Sonoran Living this morning talking about baby products.  The segment is online and can be viewed here!

I had never been to a live television show taping before -- much less been on TV!  Even though there were a few technical difficulties, they were handled quickly by the crew and with a positive attitude.  It was very interesting to watch the process of putting together a live show.  It was obvious there was great teamwork on the set, and everyone was so nice!!

It was fun, and I have some ideas on how to be better next time -- if the opportunity arises! 

Baby Product Fun!

Wow!  I had a fabulously fun morning!

I was on Sonoran Living this morning sharing some of my favorite, new baby products! I have watched Sonoran Living for years, and the women on the show are as warm and wonderful in person as they appear on television!  I had a great time and was excited to share great baby things.

I was nervous, but Bo came with me and just having him there helped calm my nerves.  The other guests were sweet (and informative!) and we even got to see a Burmese Python from the Wildlife World Zoo!

If you saw the show, you know the table was full of products -- Piggy Paint (there's still time for that giveaway!), BornFree sippy cups, board book photo albums, JJ Cole's diaper pod, the Puj baby tub, Mrs. Meyer's Baby Line, Robeez and Kristi G's fabulous bag and grow chair!  Whew!! I wasn't able to talk about each item, but there will be an article on their website with more information about each thing.

I had so many more hot baby products that I didn't have time to showcase, I will be sharing my reviews on this site over the next few weeks -- so keep an eye out for them.  I even have some discount codes and more giveaways!

If this is your first visit, (thanks to my television debut!), please leave a comment and say hello!  I love hearing from my readers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fun Date with Hubby

Late last week, I sent a quick text to my sister and asked if she would be available to watch the kids on Sunday so Bo & I could go out. She's a great aunt and a great sister, so she agreed!

On Sunday, after Mass and lunch, she came over and Bo & I headed out. We took in an afternoon matinee of Sherlock Holmes - which was very enjoyable and I think Downey & Law did a fabulous job! I confess I've never read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories (I don't really know how that happened, but it's true.) I'll remedy that soon, as I've added a collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's works to my Kindle.

After the movie, we enjoyed an early dinner at Outback Steakhouse. The first meal I was served was lukewarm to cold, and the pork was overdone. When I mentioned it to our server, they made up a second meal for me that was nice and hot. I usually prefer my food to be warm, vs. hot, but that first meal wasn't even appealing to me! The second plate looked much nicer, however, and was hot and the pork cooked perfectly.

It was still light out when we left, and we didn't quite feel like going home just yet. We decided to head to a local park and take a walk together, and Bo suggested we search for some geocaches while we were there. We ended up finding four before it got too dark to search for more. We knew the kids would be jealous that we went without them, but it was fun to search together. In years past we had a lot of joint goals and worked together at many things (it helped that we owned a business together) but we don't seem to have as many joint goals (other than the kids, of course) lately. I miss that, as I really like working with him to solve problems and see the results of our teamwork.

It was a very nice date, and even though before I was married I thought it was funny that married people would "date" I can definitely see the positive it can bring to a relationship.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Piggy Paint Giveaway!

You saw Lydia's toes painted for Wordless Wednesday this week, and I wanted to share with you some information about the nail polish I used.  We had the opportunity to try out Piggy Paint nail polish and polish remover, and we were both very happy!

A few months ago, a babysitter painted Lydia's nails.  She loved it, and asked me many times to paint them again.  Between the smell, and all the toxic chemicals, I never wanted to paint her nails. I felt that there are so few things I can truly protect her from, and I didn't want to expose her to yet another potentially dangerous chemical.  So, I was excited to try out Piggy Paint!

Piggy Paint was created by a mom of 2 little girls who was frightened to see dripped nail polish eat through a Styrofoam plate! She began investigating alternatives, and finally ended up with a product that is non-toxic, non-flammable, all natural and water-based.

You wouldn't notice that it wasn't traditional nail polish . . .well, except for the fact that it doesn't have a strong odor! It's thick and colorful and paints on like any other nail polish. Because it is water-based, it can take longer to dry completely, so the website suggests drying it with a hair dryer on cool for a minute or two.

The bottle has a smaller-than-normal brush inside, which made painting tiny nails much easier.  They also sell a non-toxic polish remover that works great (but it is flammable, so keep away from flames!)

This is a product I feel comfortable using with my daughter, and would feel comfortable giving as a gift to other little girls.  I can see using Piggy Paint nail polish for many years to come!

Melanie, of Piggy Paints, has generously given me a $15 gift certificate to give away to one of my readers! To enter the giveaway, please visit Piggy Paint and tell me your favorite nail polish color! (You must include Piggy Paint's official name -- not just pink)

I would appreciate it if you would tweet about this giveaway, or share it on your Facebook wall as well!  You can follow Piggy Paint on Twitter @piggypaint and they also have a fan page on Facebook you can join.

Winners will be drawn from valid entries using on Friday, January 22, 2010. If you want more chances to win, visit Moms Love Shopping because I'm also giving away a gift certificate there!

Disclosure: I received a bottle of Piggy Paint nail polish and a bottle of Piggy Paint polish remover so that I could do a complete and honest review of the product.  Piggy Paint provided the $15 gift certificate to give away to one of my readers. No additional compensation was provided.

Tell Me Thursday - Piggy Paint

Yes, my Wordless Wednesday shot was of Lydia's toes!  Painted with the wonderful Piggy Paint color "Girls Rule" shimmery purple.  More about that awesome non-toxic polish in another post -- I want to write about Wednesdays.

On Wednesdays, the boys attend an all-day enrichment program.  So, that leaves Lydia and me to enjoy our day with each other!

Yesterday, that started with our usual early-morning snuggle.  I painted her toes (something she's been asking for!)  We ate breakfast.  I did some work, and she sat next to me, studiously placing gold stickers onto sheets of paper. We read books. We ate some lunch. We headed outside where I pushed her on the swing for 45 minutes.  That girl loves to swing and could swing for hours if only someone would push her that long! We came in and she watched some Sprout while I did more work and got some outgrown clothes together to pass along to another mom.

Wednesdays are usually quieter and calmer than the rest of the week, since it's just the 2 of us. It's nice, but we're both eager to pick up the boys when the afternoon rolls around. And the first thing she did when they got in the car was show off her purple toes!

Did you play Wordless Wednesday?  Don't forget to tell your story with Tell Me Thursday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Piggy Paint

Monday, January 11, 2010

Travel with Kids: Northern Arizona Weekend

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we wanted to explore more as a family, so we planned our first weekend trip for last weekend. We didn't tell the kids about the trip, so they were pretty surprised on Friday to wake up and notice packed bags by the front door.

We headed out and encouraged the boys to guess our destination by paying attention to the clues they saw.  They guessed Flagstaff a few times, as well as the Grand Canyon -- which we were able to say "No, not today" since our destination on Friday was Williams, AZ.

We arrived at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel late in the day on Friday where the kids had a great time playing in the snow.  It was old snow -- so it was icy, packed, and dirty in plenty of spaces.  That didn't dampen the fun at all for any of the kids!

Bo & I stayed at this same hotel back in 2000 when it was still owned by a private family.  Xanterra Resorts purchased it a few years ago but appear to have kept it almost the same.  Our room was nice, even if the beds and pillows were hard as rocks.  We had an awful dinner at a local restaurant (Pancho McGillicuddy's . . . I do not recommend you visit!) and after more snow play we all settled in for the night.

In the morning, we packed up our van and headed over to the train depot for the 2+ hour trip into Grand Canyon Park. The train has singing cowboys and wonderful tour guides in each car to share interesting information about the area.  We went coach - which is comfortable enough but doesn't provide any snacks or drinks.   You can also upgrade to a few different levels where snacks and drinks are available -- but not all upgrades allow children.  There was plenty of snow to see, and animal tracks along the way.

We arrived at the depot at the Grand Canyon and quickly climbed the 47 steps to see the rim.  It was as impressive as I remembered!  We walked a short way to Bright Angel Lodge and enjoyed a wonderfully delicious lunch and then spent the remaining time before the return train walking along the rim and visiting the Visitor's Center.  We visited the Visitor's Center too late for the boys to earn their Junior Ranger badges, but we did take the books with us.

The return train leaves at 3:30, and while it seems a short time at the Grand Canyon (3 hours) -- it was actually a perfect amount of time with 3 kids.  They were all very good, but the icy patches and the proximity of long drops, and a 2yo with a mind of her own became stressful after a couple hours.

We arrived back in Williams after 5 and climbed into our van to head into Flagstaff (about 40 miles away.) We checked into our motel and then headed over to the Lowell Observatory.  Colin has shown an interest in space and astronomy for a few years now, so I was excited for him to have a chance to look through their big telescope.  The employees there were very excited about the observatory, and Bo & the boys were able to check out stars through 2 different telescopes (it was very cold -- and there were lines for each telescope -- so Lydia & I waited inside.)  There is a nice exhibit inside as well, and various showings of videos.

On Sunday, we visited the Museum of Northern Arizona, which has a series of great exhibits about the peoples and geography of the area. There was an exhibit of watercolors by Gunnar Widforss that were stunning!  He painted landscapes of many of the national parks and also painted our very own Superstition Mountains a few times.

We considered heading home, but I noticed that Sunset Crater was close.  This National Park is the home of the youngest volcano in Arizona (having erupted only 900 years ago.)  With the snow, it was really neat to see the lava flows.  There was a short loop to walk, and we spent a wonderful hour or so exploring.  The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges, and learned more about the area and volcanoes.

And, then we headed home -- while listening to the Packer / Cardinal playoff game during our drive.  It was a wonderful trip and I was so glad that all 3 kids were wonderful travelers.  They were eager and willing . . . and rarely complained!

I look forward to our next weekend trip, and have a few ideas of ways to make it even easier (and less expensive.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Speech Therapy, Session 2

Months ago, I blogged about asking our school district to provide speech therapy for our 7yo, Nate. He has a stutter that improves and worsens over time -- but has never gone away since he was about 3. It took months of evaluations and meetings and bureaucracy, but his actual speech therapy sessions started this week!

I am very grateful for the wonderful speech pathologist we are working with.  She is kind, knowledgeable and I know she has bent and changed in order to accommodate our odd homeschooling selves.  She will meet with Nate twice a week, after the regular school day has ended.

Today was our second meeting and I can see that I never would have known enough to help Nate on my own. I appreciate not only her existing knowledge, but that she has the resources to reach out and find the answers to questions she had about his speech disfluencies.

As you might imagine, not much has been done.  After 2 meetings, Nate has a good understanding of the "speech machine" (Bascially, the diaphragm pushes air from the lungs, into the voicebox to make sound, which pushes it on so that the mouth, teeth, tongue and lips can form words.  Over it all, the brain sends messages, which are sometimes misread resulting in a stutter.)  I know that Nate understood the mechanics before, but I appreciate her reminder that there is nothing "wrong" and that people who stutter aren't "bad." It just "is"!

Today he practiced deep breathing, and I confess I was surprised to see that he didn't expand his belly when breathing in -- but instead pulled it in and then pulled it in farther when he exhaled.  Making him more aware of his breaths, and having him practice deep breathing, and belly breathing, will probably help some of his disfluencies.   Constricted breathing could possibly affect the air being pushed into the voicebox and cause tightness which could lead to a stutter.

He also practiced mindfully stuttering, and speaking while tense vs. relaxed.  The meetings are not stressful for him at all, and Mrs. D helps put him at ease. Personally, I feel she's a bit heavy on the praise, but perhaps I'm a bit light?  

There aren't any good scientific explanations of "why" people stutter, so much of what I just wrote is conjecture.  I'm eager to watch him over the months to see how his increased awareness of his body and his speech help him gain control of his stuttering.

Great Sprout Tuck-In

I love Sprout.  It has some of our favorite kid shows -- like Kipper (a favorite of my boys, and now my daughter.  In fact, my sons still refer to flashlights as torches thanks to Kipper's influence!), the Wiggles (another favorite of all 3), and Angelina Ballerina (never of interest to the boys, but of great interest to my singing and dancing girl!)

Sprout is currently working with the Pajama Program to help give warm pajamas and books to kids in need.  They are calling it the Great Sprout Tuck-In and have many different ways people can participate.

While I wish I had unlimited funds to donate to great charities, I'm happy I can at least help spread the word!  If you want to make a donation, lead a donation drive, or host a pajama party - there are tips, ideas and activities available on the main site. If you can, help put more kids in warm pajamas, reading great bedtime stories!

Disclosure: While I am part of Sprout's Band of Bloggers, I was not asked to write about this program. I did just because I think it's a great cause!

Tell Me Thursday - Like Mom Much?

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post was of my 2yo daughter, hunched over her new Vtech Laptop, while sitting on my bed. 

Her brothers follow an online curriculum mostly, I spend quite a bit of time on my computer, and so does her dad.  When I saw this little Vtech Laptop before Christmas, I knew she had to have it.

So far, she has had a great time playing the games and doing school at the same time as her brothers.  Some of the games will be better suited for her when she's a bit older, but since she recognizes some letters and numbers already, it's been a fun toy!

Did you play Wordless Wednesday?  Then, don't forget to tell your story with Tell Me Thursday!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Like Mom Much?

Play along at Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2010 Topics

I've been thinking about what I want to write about this year, and I've decided I want to write more about our life!

  • Life! I plan to write more about our family life -- how homeschooling works (and doesn't) for us, more about my freelance efforts and my potential job search, fun things we do and challenges we face.  
  • Travel! No . . . we haven't found a pile of money hidden in a mattress, but we've made a commitment to exploring more this year.  We will be making regular weekend trips as a family - with day trips thrown in as well.  I'll write about the places we go, how we find the time,  how we do it with a tight budget, and the things we learn. I'm very excited about the adventures we'll have!
  • Recipes! If you know me, you know that Bo does a lot of the cooking.  Not because I am unable, it just has worked out that way. I'm going to share more of the yummy things he makes, new things we try, and I'm going to get the kids more involved in the kitchen. And maybe I'll get better at taking pictures of food!
  • Reviews! The reviews and giveaways will continue.  Not only do I have fun trying out new things, I love to share them with my readers. I debated about starting a separate review blog, but I personally don't like blogs that are nothing but reviews, so I couldn't see myself starting one. I like to read about people, and their lives, and how they approach life . . . and am interested to read about products they've tried in the context of their lives.  So, I'm bucking the trend a bit and leaving my reviews right here mixed in with life!
I'm leaving "Money Savings Mondays" behind -- at least for a while. There are so many blogs out there completely devoted to frugal living (or maybe I just read many that are slanted that way) that I don't have much new to share.  It's not that I don't need to live a frugal lifestyle -- believe me, I do!!  I'm just tired of putting so much effort into thinking about it.  I'll still shop clearance sales, and use coupons, and do all those things that stretch our budget.  Every once in a while I may share some ideas, but I'm not going to make it a weekly thing anymore.  (As a side note, I will still share deals, freebies and shopping strategies over at Moms Love Shopping.)

Looking back at 2009, I'm excited about all the neat people and opportunities that opened up to me thanks to this blog.  I'm excited about growing it more in 2010 and can't wait to see who I meet this year thanks to this blog!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Football Party Giveaway

**This contest is over! Thanks for entering!  The winner has been contacted and the prize is on it's way! **

Bo & my boys love watching football together!  Today, Bo's phone rang and it was a friend from Milwaukee.  He & another old friend were in town for the Cardinals / Packers game and had an extra ticket.  Bo was out the door in no time and headed to the stadium!  My boys have been watching the game on tv and trying to see their dad (and feeling completely surprised that there were so many people wearing Packer clothes! They thought he would be easy to spot!)

My Blog Spark recently sent me a football party pack in anticipation of the Super Bowl in early February and provided me another one to give away to one of my readers. It includes a ceramic chip dish in the shape of a football, some football-themed paper goods, an adorable football-themed table runner and 2 cans of Old El Paso green chiles.

The green chiles are a great addition to so many party-friendly recipes!  You can add them to nachos, stir them into dips, add a new flavor to your chili. They are not spicy, but have a unique flavor that is a welcome addition to your recipes.  We love cornbread as a side dish, and I plan to make this green chile cornbread recipe from with one of the cans I received.

If you'd like to enter the giveaway for this fun prize pack, fill in the form below and tell me who you'll be rooting for to reach the Super Bowl next month.  I'm rooting for the Arizona Cardinals (mainly because I think Kurt Warner is an amazing quarterback, and an amazing person. His example of humility and charity off the field is an excellent example for all looking for a sports hero to emulate.)  It's okay if you're rooting for someone else, though!  Just let me know who you'd like to see play and you'll be entered.

You can receive extra entries by:
  1. Following my blog.  Leave a 2nd comment letting me know how you're following (bloglines, google reader, networked blogs, etc.)
  2. Post a link to this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook ( and leave a comment letting me know you did so.)
This giveaway is open until January 9, 2010.  Winner will be chosen via and notified via email. 

I'm doing things a little bit different for this giveaway - so please enter your information in the form section and do NOT leave a comment section to enter the giveaway.  You can leave a comment if you wish, but it will NOT be entered into the giveaway.  Thanks!

Disclosure: The 2 cans of Green Chiles, football platter, football themed paper goods, in addition to the giveaway, have all been provided by Old El Paso through MyBlogSpark.

New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve this year, we headed to the cheap cinema to take in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was amusing. The drama at the end dragged on a bit long for me (and for Lydia) but the animation was amazing and the story cute.

Then we used my iPhone's geocaching app and searched for and found(!) 2 geocaches near our home. Geocaching is a great family activity for us, I plan to make sure we do more of it this year. For those curious about what it is, it's a bit like a treasure hunt. People hide caches (sometimes just a paper log to record you found it, sometimes a larger container that holds small trinkets as well as a log) and then record their GPS coordinates and clues at  You can use the free account (which we use) or a paid account (which has more features.)  Other than a GPS, you really don't need anything but a sense of adventure and good eyes!

I prefer the caches that are hidden in natural settings, don't like the ones that are near traffic (although the 2 we found on NYE were both near traffic), and refuse to search for those hidden at people's homes in their yards.

In the past, we've only searched for geocaches, but this year we plan to hide a few of our own. I've put aside some supplies to make that happen, and will update when we've created and hidden our first cache.

After geocaching, we headed home -- played some video games and ate a bunch of appetizers for dinner.  We rang in the New Year with the boys drinking sparkling grape juice and then sent them off to bed.

It was a simple, quiet day and evening -- but fun all the same!

Friday, January 01, 2010


I don't feel that goals and resolutions have to wait until January 1 to be set -- I think that you should set new goals as needed throughout your life!  But, with the talk of resolutions around this time of year, I have made a few to start out 2010.

As a family, we talked about what we'd like to do in 2010, and Bo said that he would like to explore more of Arizona.  We all agreed that was a great idea, and I've already made plans for our first Arizona 2010 exploration to happen this month!

Personally, I'm going to make an effort to finally use the reusable shopping bags I own -- instead of forgetting them in the back of the car like I usually do. In fact, if you want to try along with me -- I may have a giveaway soon to help you skip the plastic bags.

And, finally, I want to learn to crochet more than a chain.  I love the cute crocheted food I see on, and I'd love to make some of my own for Lydia's play kitchen.

What about you?  What do you hope to achieve in 2010?
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