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Our New Home Tour Video

We got to head over to our new house today to drop off some odds and ends that don't really pack well into boxes. While we were there I decided to make a small low-quality video to share the new house with you. We really don't plan on doing a lot of renovations to this space, but I think fresh paint and inexpensive details like that will go a long way to make it home. 






Since we are spending just about every penny we've made for the last three months to get into this house, we won't be doing anything major anytime soon, but it's always nice to think up and plan some new projects, even if you won't be getting to them right away. I'm excited for our family to thrive in this home and for all the adventures we'll have while we're here. 


This is the home Kinsley will recover from SDR surgery in, and where she'll likely take her very first independent steps. The home where Kyle will be able to run around, have friends over, and just be a kid. When we were over there today dropping things off, Kyle rode his bike with a couple friends up and down the street and it made my heart beat in all the best ways possible. With all that being said, welcome to our new home.



Dark + Moody Home Office Inspiration

We're officially seven days out from moving into the new house and we just got word that due to covid-19, Derek won't be going back to work until at least March 2021. I wish I was making that up, but sadly I'm not. Apparently every-time someone in his office here in Utah gets the virus, the back-to-work date gets pushed back even further. So far three people from his office have gotten it, so we're looking at Derek working from home for a good long while. 

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How Many Rooms in the New House?
Luckily our new house has a lot of extra rooms that we weren't necessarily anticipating needing, but I'm now really glad we have them. I feel a little awkward admitting this, but our new house has six bedrooms. I get that's a lot of space for only four people, but with everything how it is right now, we actually have intended use for each of the rooms. Master bedroom, Kinsley's bedroom, Kyle's bedroom, home office, music/playroom, and then a guest bedroom. We're really grateful to have the space and to be able to spread out this way. 

Where to Put a Home Office?
Okay, back to the home office. This room will be down in the basement, away from where the kids and I will be playing most days, so that Derek can hopefully have peace and quiet while working and not be bothered by the rest of us. I gave Derek two inspiration images for this office. One was dark and moody, and the other was white and bright. He chose the dark and moody, and I was so excited to put together a space that was out of the norm from what we've done in the past. 

High Quality Home Office Furniture:
We're lucky enough to be working with songmics.com who will be sending us the bookshelf and desk for this space. We're really thankful to be working with them and it's a collaboration that's been in the making for a few months now, so it's fun to finally see it coming full circle! 

Derek already has a chair from his office at work, which he can luckily bring to the new house until he needs to bring it back-to-work in March. It's the same style as the one in the picture above.

I've also really loved the idea of having a chair and ottoman in a home office space, and if the kids ever go back to school full-time in the fall, it will be nice for me to sit there and get work done while the kids are at school. Wishful thinking yes, but if I manifest it, it will happen right? 

Decor Ideas for a Modern Home Office Space:
The rest of the pieces in this space are mostly aesthetic. We already have a fiddle leaf fig plant, so it's new home when we move will be down in this office. I found this new plant stand for it at Walmart for only $30, and I love the look of it with the wooden base and ceramic pot together. 

The set of three mountain prints I found on Esty as a digital download for only $7. I'll get them printed at our local Staples or Fedex and then find some inexpensive frames at Target or Ikea and the space will be complete. I'm sure there are little odds and ends and decor that we'll either shop from existing things we already have, or pick-up at Home Goods or Ross when we get to the finishing touches phase, but for now, this is what we're going with. 

Renovation  Plans For the Home Office:
There aren't too many things to change in this space. We are planning on painting the walls a dark navy color (Naval by Sherwin Williams), and then possibly replacing the baseboards to have them match the upstairs of the home. The office does have carpeting that we may take out and replace with a laminate wood look flooring, but that will depend on budget and things when we get to that point. We don't want to do anything too permanent that we might want to change later in this space because we hope that Derek will eventually go back to work some day, and then this space can be another guest bedroom or something else if we get to a point where we don't need it as an office space.

I can't wait to get into our new home and share these spaces with you! Follow along on instagram @thehappyflammily to see all of this come to life in real time!

The Best Four Ingredient Peach Cobbler

When Derek and I first got married back in 2011 I tried to be really domestic and make a peach cobbler from scratch. It turned out to be a complete disaster. Fast forward a few years later when we were living in North Carolina, I stumbled across a recipe on how to make a peach cobbler from a yellow cake mix, and it totally rocked my world. I have made this recipe at least 20+ times since then, and it turns out perfect every time.

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Hot to Make The Perfect Peach Cobbler:
The key to this peach cobbler is that you don't have to mix any ingredients together. You just layer everything together in a 9x13 casserole dish and slide it into the oven. Then some serious magic happens and this becomes one of the most delicious peach cobblers you'll ever eat.

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How to Store Leftover Peach Cobbler:
The very best part of this peach cobbler is the left overs. After you eat it the first day, cover it with tin foil and then slide it into the fridge. When you wake up the next morning take it out, dive in with a spoon, and finish off whatever is left in the baking dish, I won't judge. It turns into this cold, sweet, and crunchy deliciousness when it's in the fridge that is really hard to describe in writing. You need to just witness it for yourself.

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Ingredients:
24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup

1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Start off by pouring in the entire can of sliced peaches with the juice included. Then sprinkle the entire yellow cake mix evenly on top of the peaches. Arrange your 16 butter squares even spaced on top of the yellow cake mix. Then sprinkle your brown sugar across the entire top. If using walnuts, sprinkle them on top at this point.

Bake for about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or cold, with or without ice cream.


Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

9 Fine Motor Occupational Therapy Exercises

Right before the plague happened we took Kinsley to occupational therapy in the clinic for the first time in her entire life. The only time she'd had OT outside of what she got at school was the last six months that she was eligible for early intervention services when we lived in Georgia. Because money had been tight it felt like we needed to pick and choose which therapies were most important. We always picked PT over OT, but now that Kinsley is on medicaid, we felt like we should really hone in on all the therapies available to her. 

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We've seen our therapist three times now and are finally in a routine with implementing these things at home. A lot of what Kinsley is working on right now is building simple hand strength. For the most part she does really well and is certainly functional with her hands, but if we want to see some real progression with handwriting (as opposed to just tracing), cutting, and being able to do a lot more things independently, that basic hand strength and coordination is really what we need to hone in on.

Here are nine occupational therapy exercises we're currently working on in our house, and hopefully they can help you in your home! Most of the "supplies" we have you can get at Dollar Tree. I'll note where I got everything below, and will leave links for things when possible. 

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Threading Beads on Pipe Cleaners:  This activity is really great because you can get beads and pipe cleaners at dollar tree. I like using pipe cleaners because the beads don't fall off them as easily as they would with a piece of string and it helps to keep the activity going in the right direction when things aren't falling apart. We love to make these into bracelets and it's pretty much always a hit! 

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Cutting a Straight Line: Kinsley has gotten really good at cutting this last year and now we're working on cutting straight lines. Her OT recommended drawing lines on index cards or card stock because of how sturdy they are, and because they won't flop around all over the place like a normal piece of paper. Her OT also recommended the paint strip samples from Home Depot since they're colorful, already have lines on them, and they're free!

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Snapping Math Cubes Together: We got these math cubes from the Target Dollar Spot ages ago, but they're really great for working on hand-eye-coordination and putting things together, and are also great for hand strength for pushing them together and then pulling them apart. If you can't find these locally, here are some on amazon for $12. (They're likely a lot better quality than the ones we have anyways).

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Picking Things Up With Tweezers: We found these same kid tweezers that her OT  uses at Dollar Tree, although they are available on Amazon as well, but they're $8 for literally the same thing. Tweezers are really great for hand-eye-coordination and hand strength and you can use them to pick up beads, learning cubes, connect four pieces, really anything. This is pretty hard for Kinsley and becomes frustrating fast, but I'm holding out that it will pay off dividends later. 


Playing With Thera Putty: Thera Putty is essentially glorified silly putty. It comes in a bunch of different consistencies from really loose to really firm. The firmer the putty, the harder it is to manipulate. Kinsley's OT gave us some to take home with mini beads in it, and Kinsley loves playing with it and digging out all the letters. Thera Putty is actually really affordable. You can purchase one pack for less than $5 on Amazon, or all of the different levels of firmness in a multipack for $12!

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Sticking Coins In A Tennis Ball: This is super cheap and easy to do! I bought a pack of tennis balls on Amazon for $2 (yes I was as shocked as you are that something on amazon was actually $2 shipped!). Then I used a knife to cut a hole in the tennis ball, and drew a face on it. When Kinsley squeezes the sides of the ball, it opens up the mouth and she can stick coins inside. This is an awesome hand strengthener, and is another activity that tends to lead to frustration quickly, but I know it's doing good things for her!

Squigz: You can get a pack of these on Amazon for $9. They're little rubber pieces that suction to each other so you can build random structures and and stuff. They also stick well to walls and windows. If you have your child stick them to a surface, and then pull them back off, it takes quite a bit of strength to get them apart/off of things, which makes them really great for building those hand muscles. 

Button Art Game: Kinsley's OT introduced this to us in the clinic and I think I'm going to grab it for Kinsley's birthday coming up. You put different pictures down on a board, and then you have to put the corresponding color peg into the picture to fill it in all the way. It's really fun and helps with hand-eye-coordination and also cognitive skills such as seeing which color you need, finding the correct color, and then getting it where it needs to go. 

Cupcake Party Game: This was another game that got introduced to us in the clinic that might go on the birthday list. Each cupcake is coordinated in color to match a Disney Princess. You get a card, and then it tells you which color piece you need for the top, middle, and bottom of the cupcake, and then you find the pieces and put them together to match the card. It's a really great multi-sensory learning activity! 

I hope this list of activities was helpful for you! I want to do better at sharing OT/PT things on the blog in hopes of it helping other mamas! Be sure to follow along on instagram @thahappyflammily where I share therapy activities and other things a lot more frequently!

Summer 2020 Bucket List

The next few months are going to be kind of a wild ride for us. We move into our new house in 12 more days, we need to get the kids registered for their new schools, I'm going to be teaching PE starting in August... there are so many things to prep for! While this summer is going to be a bit crazy in it's own right, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that it's summer, and I want to make it as intentional as I can for my kids, and plan some fun things that I'm excited to do as well!

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Camping in Bear Lake: We go to Bear Lake once every summer. Last year we stayed in a condo, the year before that we just did a day trip, this year I would love to camp there and rent a boat to take the kids out on the lake! 

Take a trip without the kids: Aside from going on Pioneer Trek last year where we swapped our two kids for a large group of teenagers, Derek and I have never been away from our kids overnight. This year we're heading down to Zion National Park for an anniversary getaway and I could not be more excited! 

Move into our new house: We close on and move into our house in 12 more days. I really couldn't be more excited about it! Cleaning, packing, organizing, unpacking, it's a thrill. But I'm also looking forward to the fact that we're never never never never never moving again. I know no one believes me when I say that, but I really really really really really really mean it this time. 

Remodel our home office: We slowly want to change some finishes in our house over time, and I think the home office is a small enough space to give us good DIY confidence, without also needing a ton of work. We mostly want to paint, and change the doors and ceiling fan. This is finally going to be the house where I get the black wall I've been dreaming of the last three years. 

Daily focused activity with kids: I want to make sure I'm being hands on with the kids each day whether that's setting up something for them to do in the yard, a craft inside, or some at home PT with Kinsley,  I want to make sure that I'm spending some sort of intentional time with the kids each and every day. 

Invite friends over at least twice a month: Part of the large appeal of this home was the ability to host a lot of people. Yes we could host in the last house we had, and we did, but after being in a townhouse for a year where we haven't had friends over, and then living through a pandemic when we couldn't get together with people, it's making me feel really intentional about gathering our friends and having their kids over when possible. 

What do you have on the menu for your summer bucket list? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Be sure to follow along on instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up to date on all my latest posts!

How To Host A Family Reunion

At the beginning of the week we all piled into the car and headed up to Idaho. This was the first year that Derek's immediate family hosted a family reunion, and I'm pretty sure it's something that we're going to repeat each summer. It was honestly so much fun and it was such a great way to be able to get the entire family together, have fun, and not spend 10,000 years cleaning up Derek's parents house afterwards. I've had a lot of people ask for details about the reunion, so I'll share as much as I know!

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I do want to start off by saying Derek's sister planned this first reunion and did an amazing job. I think the plan is for it to rotate among Derek's family who plans it in subsequent years and Keriana honestly did such a fabulous job this year that it really made an awesome blue print for us moving forward. 

Where to host a family reunion?
We did ours in Driggs, ID. This was a one hour drive from Derek's parents house, and a 4-5 hour drive for us from Utah. Most of Derek's siblings all live in the same town as his parents, or the next town over. Most people had a short dive except for Derek and I, and his sister who lives in Pocatello.

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If you're planning a reunion, picking a place that is within a good driving distance for most families is ideal. I think we originally picked Driggs because it was a short driving distance to Yellowstone National Park, which I think originally we were going to go to, but with covid-19 I think the entrance was closed so we wound up doing other activities instead, but it wound up being just as fun.

Try picking a location that has a huge focal point such as a lake, a national park, or some sort of key highlight, and then it will make it easier to plan activities around that. Then look for places that are big enough to host all of you. I think we found our place on Air BNB, so look on home rental sites like that to see what you can find. We wound up having enough space for each family to use two bedrooms. 

Who to invite to a family reunion?
Honestly, you can make it as big or small as you would like. Derek has a large family (his parents have 9 kids, and there are 20 grandchildren so far), all together there was 36 people. It might have been a little unreasonable to plan an event for anyone outside of the children, spouse, grandchildren circle, but if you have a smaller family you could totally include extended family to make it more inclusive. 

How to plan meals for a family reunion?
Each of the married spouses and Derek's parents took turns rotating through the meals. Derek's sister and her husband were in charge of dinner the first night, and then his other sister and her husband cooked breakfast the next morning, Jacob and Krista were in charge of lunch on Monday, and Maurcine and Dakota were in charge of Monday dinner. Derek's mom and dad were in charge of breakfast on Tuesday, and Derek and I were in charge of Tuesday lunch. This made it really easy for delegating responsibility and knowing what to bring. We all brought additional snacks and pretty much shared those in between meals for kids when they were hungry.

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How to divide expenses for a family reunion?
This was a question someone sent me on Instagram and I'm not really sure the exact answer. Everyone who was in charge of cooking a meal purchased all the food and supplies for that meal. I believe all the married couples and Derek's parents spilt the cost of where we stayed six ways (there might have been others who did contribute but I'm just guessing). Most of the activities that we did didn't cost anything (aside from some prizes and candy and things like that, and I assume Derek's sister paid for those so thank you Keriana if you're reading this!). One night the entire family went horseback riding for two hours and I'm sure there was a fee for that, I'm assuming paid for by Derek's parents. 

What activities to do at a family reunion?
I'll share the full schedule we used for the reunion at the bottom of this post but here is an extensive list of all the activities we did at the reunion:

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  1. Face Game: Derek's sister asked for everyone to send an individual picture of everyone in the family, she then took two different people and morphed their faces together, and everyone had to guess which to people in the family were morphed into one photo. Everyone had a piece of paper numbered 1-36 and whoever got the most guesses right at the end of the game won a prize. I don't know what app Keriana used to make the photos, but there seems to be a lot of options when you google it. 
  2. Minute to Win it Games: The first night we were there we played a bunch of minute to win it games with all of the nieces and nephews and they had a ton of fun. You can find a ton of options for games to play on pinterest! 
  3. Family 5k and Running Events: We held a family 5k that went from where we were staying and ended at a local high school track. The family members that weren't running met us there in their cars, and manned the streets directing the runners where to go. Once everyone was done running the 5k we did 100m and 400m races for all the kids and adults to participate in. 
  4. Outdoor games: After the races we did some games on the football field like a family relay race, a freeze dance competition where one kid would pick which dance to do (most of ours turned into dancing like some animal) then the music would stop and we'd pick a new dance and did this 5-6 times before going onto the next activity. We also tapped a bunch of candy to a plain t-shirt and put it on the oldest nephew and had him run around the field with all the other nieces and nephews chasing him and trying to rip the candy off. 
  5. Horse Back Riding: We paid to ride horses for two hours and each kid had about 10-12 minutes on the horse before getting down and letting the next person have a turn. If there aren't horses where you're staying maybe you could rent some ATVs, go boating, some sort of big adventure that everyone can participate in. 
  6. Hike/Picnic: We were originally going to go on a hike around a lake near where we were staying on the last day, but it rained and we all ended up going home early. But hiking is a super easy go-to activity. 
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What to do during down time in a family reunion?
We had lots of downtime at night after dinner, and during the afternoon between lunch and dinner on the second day. Where we stayed had a big yard, a hot tub, TV for movies, and we brought lots of board games. During the downtime everyone kind of did their own thing and it was really nice. Most of the kids all played really well together, I got a nap at one point, and a lot of the adults played board games, cards, or just simply talked. It was really chill and didn't feel like it needed to be planned or overly scheduled.

How to keep everyone on schedule at a family reunion?
Derek's sister wrote an itinerary and had it hanging up on a lot of the walls where we were staying, and sent it to everyone a week or so before we got there. Everyone knew what to expect and what time all the meals were happening, and when we had to be in certain places for horse riding and major activities like that. Did we stick to the schedule perfectly down to the second? No, but we stuck to it pretty well and it was just really nice for everyone to be on the same page about when certain things were happening so we had general idea for what to expect.

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Family Reunion Awards:
Derek's sister made medals for all of the nieces and nephews out of canning lids and ribbon that said "Flamm Reunion 2020" on them and were super cute. She also bought 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals for each of the running events that were held, and ribbons for other things like best chef, the freeze dance competition, and other fun little games. She also gave gift cards along with some of the awards as well which was super fun. Derek's family is really into Boggle and they even bought a trophy that will travel to all future reunions and get engraved with the Boggle campion's name on it for that year.

This is pretty much all the information I have on how to organize and plan a family reunion. If you have any tips or suggestions that have worked well for you, I'd love to know about it in the comments below!

Be sure to follow along on instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up to date on all my latest posts!

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide Under $100

Father's Day is just a few days away and I can honestly say I've made zero preparations. Luckily Amazon Prime always has my back and is probably the best $10 I spend every single month. While Derek typically says he doesn't need anything and to not bother about gifts on Father's Day, he's actually fun to shop for this year because he recently picked up running the last few months and has been doing a lot of hikes, so it's fun to be able to shop to those interests. 

While I'm not planning on purchasing everything on this list, here are a few ideas I've had, and hopefully they'll provide some good ideas for you as well. The best part about this Father's Day Gift Guide is that everything is under $100. If you need some budget friendly Father's Day gift ideas, look no further!

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Noise Canceling Headphones: Since Derek is working from home and will be working from home until December, I thought noise canceling headphones would be perfect for him taking calls while home. These headphones are less than $100, have thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, and could be a great budget friendly alternative to Bose headphones. 

Garmin GPS Watch: I've had a Garmin GPS watch for running the last three years and love it! Derek has been running a couple times a week and going on weekly hikes as well, so I think this would be fun for him to track all of his training with. I love that this one is under $100 and super user friendly!

Real Running Shorts: Does your husband go running in super baggy basketball shorts or is that just mine? I'm convinced Derek could run a bit faster if his shorts weren't weighing him down. I think 7 inch running shorts are perfect for men who don't want to wear short-shorts, but also want a fabric that is more lightweight and breathable than traditional basketball shorts. These are under $20 and highly rated! 

Camelback Water Bottle: I've been a huge fan of Camelback water bottles for years! I just recently learned that they have vacuum sealed water bottles that rival Yeti at a lower cost, and I totally want to try them out! 

Spike Ball Set: I played spike ball for the first time at girl's camp a few years ago and it was so much fun. Spike ball sets can get pretty pricey though. This Slammo set has high reviews, and is under $35. That's some big savings when compared to the name brand set that runs between $55-$100. 

Hiking Socks: We bought these socks for Derek last year before we went on an 18 mile trek and they worked really well! I have the same set in the women's version and love them. They're super thick, but don't make your feet hot, and provide a lot of protection against blisters! 

Adidas Slides: I have a pair of Adidas Slides that I've worn daily for almost three years now. I always leave them by the front door, and Derek is constantly taking them when he lets the dog out to go to the bathroom. I'd love to get him his own pair that actually fit his feet!

Hammock Stand: We've been needing a hammock stand for a hammock we got as a wedding gift for about nine years now. We're planning on getting one when we move to our new house in a few weeks. This stand is only $85 and looks great! 

What are you getting the man in your life for Father's Day this year? I'd love to hear some of your suggestions in the comments below! 


Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!