Saturday, April 21, 2012

The ABC's of Me....and Me!

Meet Jen and Kim...
two Mom's trying to add a little more FUN
to this crazy little thing called life! 
We are ABBA lovers!  
(Yes, we threw a great "Mama Mia Party" when the DVD came out!)

We have 3 "BABIES" between us - with another one on the way!
(Jen is due with baby #2 in August! 
Her first "baby" is now 2 years old.  Kim's are 18 & 21...Wow!)

(Need we say more?!)

Our "angel" DADDY passed away from cancer
 a little over a year ago.
(We know he's watching over us from heaven.)

We come from a family of EIGHT kids!
(Kim is #1....the oldest girl, and Jen is #7....the youngest girl!)

Created "FREE FAMILY FUN" in October 2011!
(We love to have fun and when it's free, that's even better!)

Big fans of "GREASE!"
(Go Greased Lightnin'!  Grease is the word!)

(We celebrate every one of them - big or small!)

(We love it all - ice cream cakes, sodas, sundaes, floats - oh yeah!)

We have a weakness for JUNK FOOD!
(Chips, Cookies, Cakes, ahhh - the list goes on!)

We once took a two week road trip from Utah to KENTUCKY!
(Our brother was stationed at Fort Knox 
and we went back to visit him - beautiful drive!)

(One of our favorite places in the world!)

Chocolate Covered MACADAMIA Nuts!

(Best midnight snack, ever!)

(Peaceful, serene, relaxing - not a care in the world.)

(We love to plan them, attend them, create them - you name it!)


(Thanks to our two great husbands....
the "fire fighter" and the "football coach!")

SALAMI, Cheese and Crackers!
(No party is complete without it!)

(The finishing touch to every party!)

(It's where we've landed!)

(Anytime, Any place, Anywhere - we're there!)

(It's a good thing we enjoy it - 
kind of need it in the blogging world!)

eXtra anything!
(It's all good!)

Beautiful YARDS with plush green lawns, 
flowers in bloom and lots of shade trees!
(And a hammock in the corner doesn't hurt either!)

(Weight training is fun too!)

Well, that's us in a nutshell...
(better than a nut house!)

What are some of your favorite things to do?

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"Sensational" Saturday....Celebrate Earth Day!

This weekend gives us a chance to reflect on the beauty of the world that we live in.  It's so easy to take it for granted sometimes. We're so fortunate to have so many things at our fingertips.... running water, flowering gardens, majestic mountains, oceans that not only provide a place for all of the sea creatures to live - but somewhere that we can go to as a family, soak up the sun and make some fun memories together.  This weekend, let your children know how grateful you are for all of the gifts this world has to offer.  Help them to develop an appreciation for it too, with some of these fun activities....
  • Watch a Movie Together!  Here's a list of Ten great movies for Earth Day:
  1. Wall-E  (G)
  2. Ponyo  (G)
  3. Erin Brockovich  (R)
  4. Free Willy  (PG
  5. The Day After Tomorrow  (PG-13)
  6. March of the Penguins  (G)
  7. Ant Bully  (PG)
  8. An Inconvenient Truth  (PG)
  9. Fern Gully:  The Last Rainforest  (G)
  10. Disneynature:  Earth (G)

  • Make some "Chocolate Popcorn Trees!"  If you're one of the very talented people that can mold chocolate into the trunk of a tree....more power to you!  Another way you could do this, especially if you have little ones that like to "do it myself," would be to let them pick out their favorite candy bar for the tree trunk, add a popcorn ball to it and decorate with their favorite candy!

  • Plant an Indoor Herb Garden!  Let the kids decorate some tins cans and start planting away!

  • Eat some "Dirt and Worms!"  Mix up some chocolate pudding and add some cool whip to it.  Top with crushed Oreos and some gummy worms....simple, yummy, and yet really resembles those mud pies that they love to make in the backyard!  What more could a kid want?!

  • Go on a Scavenger Hunt!  Make a list of all the things you can find in the great outdoors....and then let the hunting begin!

What fun things do you have planned for Earth Day this year?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Tradition" Tuesday... Top Ten Easter Traditions!

It's time for our....
Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
"Top Ten!"

Since Easter is coming up this week, we decided it would be a great time to share a few of our favorite Easter Traditions.  Some of them you may already do in your family....others you may not.  We hope they'll get you into the Easter spirit! we go!
  1. "THE BIG FAMILY DINNER ON EASTER SUNDAY"  Our family LOVES food!  Every holiday, birthday, etc. is always based around a great meal together.  Growing up, we all sat around the HUGE dining table....there were 9 of us.  Mom and Dad were BOTH great cooks...bonus!  There was always plenty of leftovers and any friends that didn't have a place to go for Easter Dinner, were always welcome at our table.  The main staple each year was a big HAM!  
  2. "EASTER EGG HUNT WITH ALL OF THE COUSINS"  Now that we're all "grown up" (that's a matter of opinion!) and have our own little ones, we love any excuse to get together and "play!"  Between all of us, we've added 14 new additions to the family over the years....with more on the way!  So, you can imagine it's a very LOUD, but FUN group!  We get HUNDREDS of plastic eggs and fill them with candy and prizes from the Dollar Store....the kids LOVE it!  There's also one or two "Golden Eggs" each year that have money in them!  I think this year we might even try the "Glow in the Dark" Easter Egg Hunt!
  3. "EASTER BASKETS"  In our family, nobody is too old for the Easter Bunny to bring them a Basket! Themed baskets are always fun.  For the teenagers, we add things like cologne, lip gloss, gift certificates, etc....anything they have an interest in.....and of course Easter Candy!  It just wouldn't be Easter without the Malted Milk Ball Easter Eggs (makes a great lipstick!) or Jelly Belly's!  
  4. "NEW EASTER OUTFITS"   We've never been ones to wear Easter Bonnets, but a new dress or shoes is always fun!  You can let the kids pick out their own things if they're at the age where they're REALLY mine.  Or, you can let the Easter Bunny surprise them with something....if they still think your taste in clothes is cool....or they're too young to care!
  5. "ACTIVITIES THAT REMIND KIDS OF THE REAL MEANING OF EASTER"  Even though we love having fun with all of the typical Easter traditions....bunnies, chicks, eggs, baskets....we always remember the real reason for this special holiday.  Jesus Christ came to earth, atoned for our sins and was resurrected.  Because of him, we can live forever as a family after we die.  That's a priceless gift that he that we're forever grateful for.  It has new meaning to us, especially since both of our parents have passed on.  Our Mom died when she was only 45 years old and our Dad died a little over a year ago.  They instilled in us a deep love of that we continue to carry on.  Traditions help keep it together. Here's some fun things you can do with your kids to help them remember what Easter is really all about.... Resurrection Eggs,.... Resurrection Rolls,.... Mini Resurrection Garden,.... Jelly Bean Prayer.... and The Living Christ: A 30 Day Easter Countdown.
  6. "DYE EASTER EGGS"  This is one of our favorites!  We usually do it the Saturday before Easter.  They're great for Easter Egg Hunts, decorating around the house and of course, deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches!  Growing up, we always bought the little tablets of dye that you add to vinegar in a cup.  We loved seeing how dark we could get them by leaving them in the dye a little longer! That was always fun, but now there's so many MORE creative things you can do....dying them in silk ties,.... putting chalkboard paint on them ....the possibilities are endless!
  7. "EASTER DECOR"  We LOVE decorating for the holidays and Easter is no exception.  A beautiful tablescape for Easter Dinner is a given, but it always makes the home a little more festive when you put decorations up earlier in the month.  Little bunnies and baskets placed here and there, bouquets of flowers, anything that says Spring is in the air works great!
  8. "EASTER CRAFTS"  It's fun to make a craft that can be added to the Easter decor that fills the house each year!  One of my favorites that my Mom did with us when we were kids was wrapping string around a balloon, covering it with starch and letting it dry.  Once it was dry, we got to pop the balloon....the best part!  Then we got to create an "Easter Scene" in our "Magical Easter Egg!"  She cut a round hole in the front of the egg and then we filled it with Easter grass, jellybeans, little bunnies, etc!  I wish we still had them....but that was MANY years ago....not telling how many!  But, at least we've still got the memory that will live on forever.
  9. "ATTEND CHURCH TOGETHER ON EASTER MORNING"  As kids get older and schedules get busier, we don't always make it to church each Sunday as a family.  But, Easter is one time of the year that we make it happen.  Sitting there together, hearing about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, reminds us once again how blessed we truly are.  Not only do we have one another, but we're a part of a much bigger eternal one....with a loving Heavenly Father that really does care about each one of us, individually.
  10. "WATCH THE ANNUAL EASTER CARTOON SPECIALS"   This was one of my FAVORITE Easter traditions growing up! I used to look through the TV schedule and find out when all of the Easter Specials were going to be on.  My favorite was "Here Comes Peter Cottontail!"  Find out when the shows will be on in your area and have a "Movie Night" with the kids!  Put them in their jammies, bring out the pillows and blankets, make some popcorn and break open a bag of their favorite Easter candy!

We hope you have a VERY Happy Easter this year!
What traditions will you be doing with your family?

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Time to..." Thursday: Unclog those Drains!

Okay....I am REALLY excited about today's post!  I discovered a talent I never even knew I had....apparently I'm a pretty good PLUMBER!  I know....who would have guessed, right?!  

Well, over the last couple of years it felt like we were CONSTANTLY dealing with a sink or tub that was always draining too slowly.  My husband tried everything....nothing worked....not even Drano!  Oh, it might have drained a LITTLE bit faster for a day or two, but that was it.  Well, in one of my searches, I ran across an article that said to pour 1/2 cup of salt down a drain that was clogged, along with 1 quart of hot water.  Sounded easy enough to me!  So, I grabbed the salt and headed to the bathroom sink.  First attempt....nothing much, but I noticed some "gunky" stuff starting to loosen up inside of the drain.  I pulled it out with a coat hanger....cause there was NO WAY my hands were touching that stuff!  ( stomach turns just thinking about it!)  Anyway, second started draining a little quicker....then VOILA!!  It worked!! unclogged drain!!  Woohoo!!

Then I decided that if it worked so well on the sink, it would probably do the same thing in the tub.  Tried it once, nothing.  Twice....nothing.  Three times....still nothing.  Oh well, at least it worked on my sink!  So, I went back to my "searches" and ran across another technique for slow drains.  This one suggested 1/2 cup of Baking Soda with 1/2 cup of Vinegar.  So....I grabbed the Baking Soda and Vinegar and headed back to the tub!  It said to pour them in and cover the drain with a wet rag for five minutes.  Jen was at my house by this time and I filled her in on my little experiment!  We waited....went back 5 minutes later and flushed it with hot water as it suggested.  Well.....all it did was fill up my bathtub with MORE water that STILL wasn't draining.....darn it.  I told Jen it looked like it wasn't going to work afterall.  BUT THEN.....all of the sudden, the drain made a "suction" sound and WHOOOSH.....that water went down the drain so fast it looked like a mini tornado!  IT WORKED!!  I couldn't wait to tell my husband the good news....that his wife, (yes, the same one that grosses out at the sight of a hair in the sink or tub) fixed the drains!

Oh, and another bonus I discovered....apparently salt works pretty good at cleaning bathtubs too!  I noticed that a small area where the salt had been from the first experiment, was suddenly cleaner than the rest of the tub.  So, I decided to put it to the test.  I sprinkled a little bit of salt, grabbed a wet rag and started wiping!  I was surprised how easily it cleaned the tub....very little scrubbing at all!  I think I might have just found a new favorite "cleaning product."

So, what have I learned from this whole experience?
"Who needs a Plumber when you've got....
Baking Soda, White Vinegar and Salt?!"  

Clogged Drains? 
Oh yeah.....BRING IT ON!!

What's your favorite "home remedy" that you've tried?

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Monday, March 26, 2012

"Make a Craft" Monday...Easter!


With Easter less than 2 weeks away, we decided we'd better get going on the Easter projects!  To start with, we always like to have some kind of treat for each of the cousins.  This year, we'll be making these "Carrots" for them.  Very easy....just fill up a clear plastic icing bag with some orange gumballs or candy.  Tie a green ribbon around the top and place them in a basket filled with Easter grass.   You can even add some plastic eggs with treats inside of them too!

For Easter dinner, we prefer it to be a little more formal. We've always set up banquet tables in the family room, so that everyone can sit together. That's become a little more challenging now that the family is growing....there's almost 30 of us! This year, we may not be able to seat each person at the same table, but we CAN make sure that all of the tables have beautiful centerpieces and place settings. It's the small details that can really make a difference. We won't be breaking out the china and crystal...especially since we've discovered the disposable champagne glasses you can get at The Dollar Store!  But, we will have a theme that ties everything together. Something simple like filling a basket with tulips and placing small bowls of candy around it, will work perfectly for the main table.

For the kids table, we want to add a little bit of fun! Their centerpiece will be also be tulips, but the vase will have candy in it for them to devour AFTER dinner. To make it you'll need two smaller than the other. Put the smaller vase inside of the large one. Layer jelly beans in the space between the two. Arrange the Peeps on top of the jelly beans and then arrange your flowers. Easy, beautiful...and yummy too!

The kids table will also have little jars of candy around the centerpiece, as well as a flower or Peep on top to tie it all together. This picture kind of gives you an idea of what we're talking about, except we'll use orange and yellow jelly beans and tulips to match the centerpiece.

And of course to top off the party, we'll have a big Easter Egg Hunt!  Weather permitting it will be outside...but you never know in Utah.  It's been known to snow the first part of April many times!  That's indoor Easter Egg Hunts work great too.  If you want to try some new ideas for dying Easter Eggs....other than just dumping them in a cup of HERE for some fun ideas!
Source: via Jen & Kim on Pinterest

What are your plans for Easter?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

"Food Friday".... April Fool's Food!

Can you believe it's almost April?! That means it's almost time for the one day a year that you can play pranks on everyone and totally get away with it!  One of my favorites is when my sister called her husband at work and said he had a message from someone named Mr. Lyon.  The number she gave him to call was for the zoo!  Anything that can get a good laugh and doesn't hurt anyone is fair game on the 1st of April!  Since we're a food lovin' family, we decided to find some fun foods to help celebrate April Fool's Day this year. 

Here's what we came up with....

For the Hamburger Lovers: The "bun" is made from two peanut butter cookies. The "meat" is a brownie that's been cut into a circle. The "ketchup" is red icing drizzled around the brownie and the "lettuce" is shredded coconut that's been dyed green and sprinkled on top!

A "Well-Balanced" Dinner...April Fool's Style: The "Fish Sticks" are made from Kit Kat bars that have been rolled in Toasted Coconut. The "Peas" & "Baked Beans" are Jelly Bellies and the "Mashed Potatoes" are made from Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce!

Source: via Kim on Pinterest

Do your kids ever want dessert first? Here's some "Cupcakes" for dinner!  (The "Cupcake" is really Meatloaf!) As for the "Frosting".... Mashed Potatoes sprinkled with pink Sea Salt!

Love Italian Food? Here's some "Spaghetti & Meatballs".... April Fool's Style: The "Spaghetti" is made by squeezing frosting through the corner of a baggie. Move it all around the cupcake to create the "Noodles." Cover as much of the cupcake tops as possible and place them close together for the best look. Next, you'll use the Ferrero Rocher fine hazelnut chocolates as the "Meatballs." For the "Sauce" microwave a small bowl of strawberry or other berry flavored jam with a small amount of water to dilute, for about 30 seconds. Dip each chocolate in the jam, cover well, and set on top of each cupcake. Drizzle the jam over the cupcakes to create the look of spaghetti sauce. Grate some white chocolate over the top for the "Parmesan Cheese!"

"Fried Chicken Dinner"....April Fool's Style: The "Chicken Drumsticks" are made by frosting a cupcake and topping it with a donut hole. Frost that too, then coat with crushed corn flakes. Melt white chocolate and put it into a baggie. Snip the corner of the baggie and drizzle it onto waxed paper, making the shape of a "bone." Refrigerate until hardened and then stick the "bone" in the top of the cupcake. For the "Mashed Potatoes" spread a generous amount of vanilla frosting over the cupcakes. Create a "well" in the center of each one. To make the "Butter" place a yellow Starburst in the "well" and spoon Caramel Topping over it for the "Gravy." For the "Corn" spread yellow frosting over the cupcakes and place "Kernels" on top. Cut the yellow part off of some Candy Corn to make the "Corn Kernels." The "Pudding" is made by spreading chocolate frosting over some cupcakes and adding candy sprinkles.

"What fun things do you have planned for April Fool's Day?"

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Time to..." Thursday: Spring Into Cleaning!

Ready for a little Spring Cleaning?

Here are five things to spruce up the house (and you) in no time!

1. It always feels good to do a little rearranging this time of year. I love hanging new pictures, but my husband prefers to do it himself...due to the zillions of nail holes I've been known to leave in the wall. as I "eyeball" where it's supposed to go! Well, I think we may have solved that problem for good. The next time you want to hang some pictures, use the "toothpaste" technique. Simply put a dot of toothpaste on the back of the frame where the nail will hang from. Next, hold the picture on the wall where you want it to go. The toothpaste will stick to the wall and show you EXACTLY where to put the nail in! Can't get much easier than that!

2. How's your linen closet looking...or the place you store your bath towels? Time to organize it a little bit? Maybe fold a few of the towels that the kids tried to throw on top....only their aim was a little off? Yep, we know how that goes! Before you straighten up those piles, give the towels a new lease on life by running them through the washing machine....once with hot water and a cup of vinegar, then again with hot water and a half-cup of baking soda. That will strip the residue that's built up on them over the years. It will leave them smelling much fresher and they'll also be alot more absorbent.

3. Next, let's move into the kitchen. Has it been awhile since it's had a good cleaning? Well, you're about to see how easy it can be to make it sparkle like new again with the "miracle" of baking soda and peroxide! Put 1/4 cup of baking soda in a bowl and add enough peroxide to make a paste. Grab a sponge and start cleans EVERYTHING! Stove, oven, pans, stainless steel appliances, handles on the refrigerator door, cookie name it!  (Here's a Before/After shot.)

4. Now let's take a look at the walls. Any fingerprints, crayon, pencil or ink from the little aspiring artists? No worries. Sprinkle some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe it clean!

5. Now that the house is freshened up, you deserve a little pampering too!  How about Dr. Oz's Flawless Skin Mask?
  • Mash up 6-12 non-coated aspirins and combine with freshly squeezed lemon juice....or the kind from the bottle....they both work!
  • Let the aspirin dissolve until it turns into a paste. 
  • Apply the mask and leave on for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove with cotton balls dipped in baking soda and water.

Source: via Kim on Pinterest

Ahhhhh....doesn't that feel better? 
 House is're is good.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

"Fan of the Week"....Sarai R. Witzel-Milliken!

We have another talented fan to introduce you to this week....
Sarai R. Witzel-Milliken!  

Sarai has the "sunniest" profile picture of anyone we know...
just seeing it when she comments on posts brightens up our day!
(It's the bright yellow, smiling can't miss it!)  

Sarai has just joined the world of bloggers!  
 You can find her at Sunnyray Happy Day.
(Even the name makes you smile!)

When we asked about her family, Sarai told us....
"I have 4 amazing children who bring so much joy to my life. 
Being their mom is my purpose. 
I get to be a stay at home mom, while running the office end 
of my husband's exterior repair company." 
Sarai loves to camp, fish and recently took up jogging.
She says, "It helps me keep my sanity!"

Sarai has also decided to start using some of her talents
 to earn a little extra cash on the side 
by making some "super fun cakes!"

So, if you need any birthday cakes
...or any kind of cake for that matter...
be sure to let Sarai know!
(Her work is amazing!!)

You'll be able to see all of her 
on her new blog....Sunnyray.

Here's a sneak peak for you...

Great work, Sarai!
(I know where we'll be getting our next cake from!)

Thanks for being a part of Free Family Fun
we're so glad you're here!

Want to know how you can get picked as our next 
The more you interact with our page, 
the better chances you'll have to get picked!

If you were previously chosen as a "Facebook Fan of the Week" 
before we started doing the spotlights 
and would like to be spotlighted too, just let us know!  
We love to brag about our fans!

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