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How To Bond With Your Dog In 5 Easy Steps

If you're wondering how to bond with your dog after bringing them home to your family, these five tips will have everyone feeling comfortable and making memories in no time! 


This February will be three years since we adopted our dog Chester. He has honestly been one of the best additions to our family. While I originally was pretty skeptical about the situation from the beginning, adopting him was one of the best things we've ever done, and I can't imagine our family without him. 

How to Bond with Your Dog

Bonding with your pet is so important, and something that I make time for everyday whether it's cuddling on the couch, playing fetch, or playing with a toy, I find that this time is not only good for my own soul, but for our dog's emotional wellbeing too. 

How to Bond with Your Dog in 5 Easy Steps:

1) Watching The Pack Amazon Prime Video:

We're so excited to watch The Amazon Original Series, The Pack, that premiers November 20th on Amazon Prime Video.  Chester loves snuggling on the couch while we watch a show, and I love everything that The Pack has to offer. It's about 12 teams made of humans and their dogs who go on epic transcontinental journey. There is $750,000 up for grabs, and the winner is decided based off which team wins various challenges throughout the show, that look to identify which team has the strongest bond between pet and owner. 

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The Pack Prime Video Launches Novemeber 20th and I'm looking forward to some winter snuggles on the couch with our own little pup anxiously waiting to see who the winning team is going to be! 

2) Training Your Dog:

This might sound so strange, but training our dog has helped us bond so much more. Chester was mostly house broken when we adopted him, but he didn't know any "tricks" like sit, stay, roll over, etc... During this time at home Derek started training him and it's so fun to not only go through that process to teach your dog something, but it's also so fun so see them do their tricks after the fact and give them treats and belly rubs for a reward. 

3) Sleeping with Your Dog:

I always joke with the kids and tell them that Chester is my dog, but part of me actually means it. Chester always sleeps by my side every night and it's one of my favorite things. During the day he'll often come find me to sit next to me while I work as well (just like he is right now as I'm typing this). I love this time because honestly there is nothing better than having a furry friend cuddle you, and it's something I look forward to most evenings. 

Bonding with your pet. How to bond with your pet. How to bond with your rescue dog. How to bond with a dog that doesn’t like you. How to connect with your dog on a deeper level. How to bond with your dog reddit. How to bond with an older dog. How to repair relationship with dog. #dod #pets #bonding #rescuedog #adoption #adoptdontshop

4) Relying on Your Pet for Emotional Support:

Some people might be dubious to the idea of an emotional support animal, but it's totally a real thing. After we adopted Chester in 2018 I went through some of the hardest times in my life. I had a lot of things going on with my dad, I was finishing my undergrad, growing my business, working part-time, and I had a lot of responsibility at church that I probably wasn't handling too gracefully. There were seriously days where I would just sit on the couch and cry while holding my dog, which I recognize sounds beyond pitiful, but it was also probably one of the most therapeutic experiences in my life. I'm actually convinced that's one of the things that solidified the love between Chester and I. 

Bonding with your pet. How to bond with your pet. How to bond with your rescue dog. How to bond with a dog that doesn’t like you. How to connect with your dog on a deeper level. How to bond with your dog reddit. How to bond with an older dog. How to repair relationship with dog. #dod #pets #bonding #rescuedog #adoption #adoptdontshop

5) Playing with Your Dog:

The kids, Derek and I, all love playing with Chester outside in the evenings after dinner. We did this more when it didn't get dark so early, but it's one of our favorite things to do as a family. The kids will take turns throwing him his toys and playing catch or giving him a treat. Chester also loves chasing after the ball while Kyle and I play soccer. It's kind of like the puppy version of, "Monkey in the Middle". 


If you liked this post, How to Bond with Your Dog in 5 Easy Steps, You might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @heypaigeflamm to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects. 

4 Picky Eater Tips for Parents

If you're wondering how to feed a picky eater, research says following these simple steps can help your child eat a wider variety of food and gain food confidence.


Like many parents I think we've all questioned at some point or another how to feed a picky eater. Both of my kids don't really love food, and I have to go out of my way to make sure they're getting the nutrients they need into their little bodies. These are my best tips for getting my personal picky eaters to eat more of their food, and get some good vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients into their system so they can feel good and do the things they love!

4 Picky Eater Tips for Parents

Invest in High Quality, but Simple Foods:

My kids like basic foods, so I'm always looking to make sure that the foods I'm giving them are the best options possible, with a wide nutrient profile. When making something simple like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I'm often looking for the all natural peanut butter, organic jam, and an organic bread fortified with vitamins and minerals to boost the quality and nutrition of the food their eating. 

Make Food Fun:

Sometimes it helps to make food fun! If you're trying to get your children to enjoy something simple like a sandwich, try cutting it into a fun shape with a cookie cutter, or better yet, let your child get in on the action and do it themselves! Giving kids autonomy over their food, and letting them be involved in the cooking process can go such a long way in actually getting them to consume their food. It's something that we've done with Kyle and Kinsley for a couple years now and it's helped them to not only be more independent, but to get them to try new things as well. 

4 Picky Eater Tips for Parents

Give Food Choices:

One rule that we have in our house is that our kids have to have a fruit or veggie with that meal. However, I often let them pick between a couple of options. At lunch time I might ask, "Do you want apples or oranges today?" They know they have to eat a fruit, but they're ten times more likely to actually eat it if they get to pick it themselves. I try to give options as much as possible because I think it shows the kids that I value their opinion, respect their tastes, and let them explore what they want to be eating instead of me forcing it onto them. 

Serve Familiar Foods with New Foods:

If I'm trying to get the kids to eat something new like celery and ranch, I'll serve it with something they're familiar with like PBJ, Quesadillas, etc... That way they have something that's tasty, familiar, and nutritious on their plate to eat along side the new food that they're trying. This makes things a little less intimidating for them, and also gives peace of mind that if they don't eat or like the new food, they at least have something familiar on their plate to eat too!

4 Picky Eater Tips for Parents


What are some of your favorite tips for picky eaters? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

If you liked this post, 4 Picky Eater Tips for Parents,  you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @heypaigeflamm to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects. 

How to Start a Blog and Make Money

If you're wanting to work from home and are wondering how to start a blog and make money, this site tells you the best tips of the trade I have to offer as someone who has made money blogging professionally for over a decade. 

On June 30th thehappyflammily.com will officially be nine-years-old. It's hard to believe I've kept this thing running for that long, and it's seen a lot of variations throughout the years. I had originally started the blog as a family journal and had another food blog called The Flammily Kitchen. Sometime around 2012 I merged the two sites and have been blogging here exclusively ever since. 

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I made a goal this year to start making a consistent full-time income blogging, and to do that I had to implement a lot of strategies that I haven't done the previous eight years on the internet. I've learned so much about how to make money blogging, and how to market your blog in 2020 that I've been able to hit some huge milestones, the biggest was signing onto a new ad network that has dramatically increased my ad revenue by over 2200%! Crazy right? Here are three things I'm doing to make money blogging in 2020.

How to Start A Blog and Make Money:

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to blog about. Books, food, family, photography, medical, etc... Once you decide your topic, stick to it and don't vary from that category. This is often referred to as a "niche" in blogging. Then you will use a key word generating software such as Word Tracker to find all the relevant keywords for your niche. You can then use these exact keywords to focus and write your blog posts. 

You want to aim for the keywords that have the highest volume and the lowest competition. This is how you rank on Google and get traffic to your site which will convert to money eventually. You need to make sure that those keywords are in the title of the post, the permalink to the post, and in a heading within the post. That is the best way to rank for the desired keywords. Google often likes longer form blog posts so aiming for 1,000 words if possible is always a great target, but Google has also said if you can get the point across in less words that's fine too. Basically be thorough, but don't ramble. 

Use Pinterest to Increase Blog Traffic:

I've had the biggest love-hate relationship with Pinterest since it's creation 10+ years ago. Every blogger I know says this is their number one traffic source and I just couldn't get it to work. This year I finally cracked the code on Pinterest and have taken my account form 100K monthly views, to over 2.6 million monthly views on my Pinterest account. This has led to a dramatic increase in traffic, and is the main reason behind me signing onto a new ad network. You can read all about my Pinterest strategy here.

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Russell Brunson 30 Day Challenge:

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you might have seen that I'm participating in a 30 Day Challenge. Russell Brunson recently published Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Filling Your Websites and Funnels With Your Dream Customers. I've been reading this book the last several weeks and have been implementing it's teachings to help build my site. It's all about identifying who your dream customers or visitors are, figuring out where they're hanging out online, and then being able to convert them to your site and business. By completing the 30-day challenge, you'll learn key strategies to increase your site traffic.

The biggest problem most entrepreneurs have isn't creating content for blogs, or amazing goods and services for business owners, it's getting their customers to discover that they even exist. Businesses start and fail each year because business owners don't understand the science behind getting customers or website visitors to find them.

It's honestly helped me really focus and identify where I want my blog to go in the future, and has given me tangible, actionable steps, that are evergreen and can be carried over to any platform, no matter what algorithm changes or social media platforms rise up in the future. If you're a business owner or blogger, you need to get your hands on a copy of Traffic Secrets.

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Learning The Basics Behind SEO:

At this point in time, I use Word Tracker exclusively for my SEO. I enter the term I want to write about, it tells me the best titles and keywords to use to rank on google, and I implement them into my blog post titles and permalink on my post. You want to use the phrases that offer the highest search volume for the lowest amount of competition. I then plug several of these keywords into my pinterest captions to help me gain traffic over there as well. 

Are you a blogger or business owner? What have you found to be the best ways to get customers to your sites? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below! 

If you liked this post, How to Make Money Blogging 2020, you might also like:


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

Navigating Family Household Chores

Navigating family household chores with children, along with money, allowance, and finances can be a tricky and sensitive topic for a lot of families. Here are some personal recommendations on the topic and how we navigate family household chores in our own family.

Navigating Family Household Chores:

When Kyle was about 2-3 years old I made an online chore chart, bought some stickers from the dollar store, and even wrote an entire blog post about my amazing parenting skills (eye roll), and how I planned on doing chores with Kyle. The thing is though, when you're implementing anything into your home, it has to be sustainable. Maybe chore charts work well long term in your home, but for us, Derek and I don't have the energy to keep up with rotating zone charts, stickers, or anything super regimented.

Navigating Family Household Chores

Alternative to Chore Charts:

I really don't have a name for this other than "expectations". I think the kids know really well what the expectations are in our home and how we do things. The fact that Kyle has been around for eight years means that he knows the rhythm of our home really well and just knows what he needs to be doing at any given point in the day. 

If Kyle just ate breakfast, he knows to put his dishes in the sink, put the food away that he got out, and clean up any mess left in his space. Same with snacks and other meals. Before bedtime every night he knows he needs to clean his room. He knows at some point during the day I'm going to ask him to take out the recycling. And that while Derek is getting Kinsley in bed, I'm going to have him help me clean the main floor of the house and get things tidied before I read him a story.

Navigating Family Household Chores

Progressing Chores with Age:

As Kyle has gotten older we've obviously given him more responsibilities. When he was 18 months until he was about 4 he mostly just helped clean up toys before bed. When he was 5 we started having him clean his own room and make his bed. Sometime last year we put him in charge of taking out all the recycling. When we've lived in a home with a backyard, we've had him be the one to pick up all the dog poop. This year we had him start taking control of putting his own laundry away. 

As Kyle gets older we'll just keep adding more tasks such as doing his own laundry, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, etc...  

I think that your home can have a natural flow and energy where everyone knows their roles, and just by living in that home, your child will learn your personal family culture and fall in line with whatever method you decide to implement in your home. 

How to Handle Chores with A Physically Disabled Child?

Honestly if you have a child with a physical disability I'm sure you know the challenge that comes with trying to make their "expectations" in the home fair, especially when compared to what the other sibling(s) are doing. 

Right now with Kinsley we're focusing on just a lot of her own self-care tasks. Can she brush her own teeth? Can she get herself dressed? Can she brush her own hair? Those things are hard for her and I think those basic things count as chores in their own right. (She still needs assistance to do these things, but we're working on that independence). 

Other things we have her do is wipe her own face and hands, and spot at the table after each meal. If she has a pile of laundry ready to be put away she will crawl back and forth from my room to her room with each piece of clothing and put them in the right drawers. Are they put away neatly? No, but she did it herself and that's what counts more than anything. (Also typing this made me question why we don't just put the basket of her clothes next to her dresser to make it a little easier on here. Proof I'm not a perfect human, and have never claimed to be one).

Other things we have Kinsley do is put all her toys back in the right bins when she's done playing. She has a box full of occupational therapy toys that she uses daily, and she knows to clean them all up and put them away when we're done. 

This is obviously going to be so specific to whatever your child's current abilities are, but I think anything you can do to help any child contribute to the housework and chores and be a part of the family culture is so important for them to not only learn how to do those things and become independent, but also to feel like they're a part of the family.  

Navigating Family Household Chores

Why We Don't Compensate our Children for Chores:

Honestly we don't. It's something that we've tried to keep up with in the past, and again, call us lazy but we just don't have the energy to keep up with it. It is something that I really want to get better at though because I think there are so many important money management skills that can be taught with this. 

I will say though that I only remember a small handful of years that my brother and I actually got a weekly allowance and then I remember that getting phased out pretty hard when we were around middle school. (My parents are divorced, so when that happened we pretty much just went to our dad's house on the weekend and he just gave us money for whatever, not saying that was ideal but it was the situation). I also worked from 9th grade all the way through high school so by then I pretty much had my own money anyways. 

All that to say I don't think "allowance" money is the only way that you can teach your children about money because it wasn't a huge focal point in our home and I think my siblings and I left home with enough money sense to avoid debt, don't spend what you don't have, and save what you can for a rainy day. (My brother did that last part a lot better than me).

How Our Kids Get Money:

As far as money that the kids do get, we have grandparents that send them money in the mail a few times a year, and whenever we find change in the car or around the house, we tend to dish that out to the kids. In fact, during quarantine Kyle said he wanted to spend the money he had, and when we added it up he had about $76 in coins. So for a kid who doesn't get a weekly allowance, our system of handing out loose change as a reward for being a functioning member of the family had worked out pretty well. 

From there we were able to talk about how much money he had, what he wanted to spend it on (he bought two toys, one for him and one for Kinsley and had $20 left), and we went to the store where he took his own money, counted it out, and paid for it on his own. 

All of this to say is that we have pretty loose systems in our house when it comes to chores and money, but I think it also proves that you don't need to have super regimented systems in place to teach your children the skills you want them to learn. Every family works differently and as long as you have something in your home that is working for your family, that is all that really matters!

I would love to hear in the comments below what chores, allowance, and expectations all look like in your home! 

As a side note, after writing this post, I found this article from Positive Parenting Solutions about Why Chores and Allowance Shouldn't Be Tied Together, and all I can say is YES. Ten fist bumps. 

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Caring for Sensitive Gums and Teeth

Oral health and dentistry has always been an interest to me from a young age. Growing up going to the dentist was one of my very favorite things, and sometime between graduating high school, and going to collegeI became a licensed dental assistant. Here's a little peak into what I personally do to care for my sensitive gums and teeth.

caring for sensitive gums and teeth

Caring for Sensitive Gums and Teeth:

As I've gotten older I feel like my oral health routine has evolved beyond making sure I brush twice a day, to focusing a lot more on gum health and prolonging the longevity of my teeth and oral health. Within the last year I've noticed signs of gum sensitivity, so I've been hyper vigilant with keeping them as healthy as possible with three simple steps. 

caring for sensitive gums and teeth

Using a High Quality Mouthwash: 

Up until a few months ago I almost never used a mouthwash in my oral care routine. However, I started having problems with food getting caught in the gums of my back molars which would cause them to become inflamed and get very sensitive. Since this started happening, I now make a huge effort to use a mouthwash for sensitive teeth, like this one from Listeriene, and swish hard after dinner each evening. I also floss at this point in the day as well, but I find vigorously swishing mouthwash often times gets some debris that flossing leaves behind and really helps my gums to feel better. 

caring for sensitive gums and teeth

Not Brushing My Teeth So Hard

I noticed for several weeks that my gums were super sensitive, and when talking with another friend in the dental field we'd concluded that I was brushing way too hard. While I love brushing my teeth several times a day, I've been super mindful the last several weeks to be soft and not "scrub" at my teeth with my toothbrush. I've noticed less pain and sensitivity over the last week and I think the combination of LISTERINE® Gum Therapy Antiseptic Mouthwash, and being more mindful of my brushing is really working well together to get my mouth feeling better. 

caring for sensitive gums and teeth

Flossing Everyday: 

Like I mentioned previously, I have to keep up on flossing to help my gums to not hurt. Sometimes food just getting stuck in them causes me a lot of pain, especially if it's something like meat or popcorn kernals that can really wedge deep between the teeth. Flossing after dinnertime has really helped to keep inflammation at bay and help my gums to recover from heightened episodes of sensitivity that I might experience. 

If you like this post, Caring for Sensitive Gums and Teeth, you might also like:

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @heypaigeflamm to stay up-to-date on all the latest posts and projects!

8 Fun Summer Bucket List Ideas

Summer is right around the corner, so now is the time to start coming up with all the best fun summer bucket list ideas. This list is great for kids of any age, and can be easily adapted to fit you and your family's needs. Here are some of the things we're hoping to do this summer! 


Summer bucket list ideas

Camping:

We love camping as a family and try to do it at least once per year. Typically our church congregation does a campout every June, and it's a great way to put this on the calendar and plan for it to happen. We love getting to hangout with all our favorite neighbors and friends, and it's become a family tradition that everyone looks forward to doing each year. 

Hiking: 

There are so many great hiking trails in Utah, even for people with disabilities, which means we can always bring Kinsley whenever we go! We love getting outside and being in nature. Plan some hikes in your local community and make a plan to go a couple times a month. Your kids will love it, and you can even convince yourself you're an outdoor person, even if you don't think you are right now! 

Summer bucket list ideas

Sign up for a Race: 

I love running, especially in the summertime. Yes it's hot and I hate the heat, but that's half the fun and challenge for me. A lot of the towns in Utah have special themed weeks in the summer, and they almost always have a 5k race at the end of each of these weeks. I love signing up for these small community events and seeing how well I can progress with my 5k time throughout the summer. 

Go to the Beach:

Living in Utah means that we don't exactly have a close route to the ocean. But we do have tons of lake and reservoirs  that we love exploring. If you're not a beach snob and are totally able to settle for a lake, this is a fun summer outing that everyone will LOVE! Some of the best memories we've made as a family have been at our local reservoir. 

Go to a Theme Park:

We have a great theme park in Utah called Lagoon and we always try to make an effort to take the kids once per summer. Derek's job used to rent out the entire park for a day each fall which means we never had to pay to go. We don't have that luxury anymore so we're going to have to put it on the calendar ourselves and make an effort to do it this summer. 

Summer bucket list ideas

Hit Up The Waterpark:

There are so many fun waterparks where we live and we haven't been to most of them! We're really hoping to spend the day at one of them this summer. If you're looking for a list of good waterparks in Utah:


Tube The River:

There are a few great rivers near us that we've floated in the past. This is a great and fun family activity that we love to do together! We love the Provo River in Utah County, but also love the quick getaway to Weber Memorial Park in Ogden Canyon. 

Read A New Book Series:

I love picking a new book series to read with the kids each summer. We've done The Magic Treehouse, Boxcar Children, all the Rolad Dahl books, and this summer we're working our way through The Chronicles of Narnia. It's been so fun and it's a great way to bring the family together at the end of each day. 

Summer bucket list ideas

Visit a New Museum:

There are so many fun and random museums that you've likely never been to before. Take a day to explore the history around you and bring the kids along too. These typically aren't super expensive and you can all learn something new visiting somewhere you've never been before. 


What are some of your own Summer Bucket List Ideas? I would love to hear about them in the comments below! 

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Those Who Are Living Their Best Life Aren't Posting It Online

Breaking the eight month blogging silence with some deep thoughts I've been having about identity, idolatry, and this age we find ourselves living in where we constantly have access to other people's lives through social media. 


I've been living through a transformative reckoning the last several months and feel like these onion layers have been peeling away from me in rather large chunks. As I've moved away from living my life online, I've realized I've had these "social media influencer" blinders on for 10 years, and when they were jarringly ripped off, it's led to a lot of deep and transformative thoughts within myself that I'd love to share. 

I've been walking this path of truly studying the idea of identity and idolatry. I've been trying to ask myself through many lenses of my life, "If God took this away tomorrow would I be okay?" For almost everything in my life, I can honestly answer yes. I've proved to be okay without blogging. If God took away my family, my house, my car, my job, Derek's job... All of that would be insanely hard, but I know I would be okay. Which is good, I don't find identity in my house, possessions, other people, etc... because I know and understand that God will provide for me in all things and so those aren't things I personally struggle with. 

One massive reckoning I've had is the amount of identity I have in running and the entire running world/community. I know without a doubt that if I had an accident tomorrow where I shattered every bone in my leg and could never run again, I would not be okay. I would need massive amounts of mental health services to get me through that trial, and I'm sure against better judgement I would still try to run time and time again because it's an addiction I just can't break. I've shared this idea with people over the last few weeks and the response I get 100% of the time is, "If running is your biggest problem you're doing okay", or "I don't think that's really an issue you need to take up with God..." And yes, are there bigger issues/addictions than running? Absolutely. But it's still something that I personally know I find identity in and so it's an onion layer I find value in exploring. 

As I've been working through this "issue" I've come to some conclusions: 1) Passion is not bad. 2) There is nothing inherently wrong with running. 3) God gave us this earth and life, and I truly think that He wants all of us to find the things that make us tick and bring us pure joy. So how do I make this shift away from finding identity in running? I've also come to several more conclusions: 1) My works are not my own they are God's. 2) I believe running can be used as a platform to speak to God's goodness when I recognize my accomplishments are not my own, but are achieved through the people, care, and resources that God has put into my life to help me reach my goals.

I truly believe as we work through these identities and idols that we ultimately worship in our lives (and they look different for everyone), we can find this middle ground where we can deeply love our hobbies and passions because they're a manifestation of God's love for us. 

This brings me to my thoughts on social media. While I don't intend for everyone to become a Christian social media influencer who praises God for all the good in their lives, it's really made me see how much people idolize other people online. How much certain influencers online find identity in their businesses, homes, possessions, etc... We're constantly being sales pitched. There are always people telling us we have a problem in our lives, but if you click here on this link, and spend your money on this product, all your problems will be solved. 

We're constantly being shown other people's massive homes, expensive remodels, and are led to feel that our own homes aren't enough because we're not keeping up with this staged life of others that we see online. 

I was listening to the radio the other day and they said, "Those who are living their best life aren't posting it online, because they're out living it, and not seeking validation from the world." Like daggers to my own soul. How many times have I posted something on social media and sat by my phone for 30 minutes constantly hitting the refresh button just to see the likes and comments roll in... or they don't and then I start thinking there is something wrong with me or my life because it didn't receive the validation from others that I hoped it would? 

I don't even really know how to approach social media after a comment like that because... It's truth. We don't need validation from others in our lives. Our lives and how we choose to live them are enough regardless of what someone else on the other side of a screen does or does not tell you. It makes me want to be more mindful of what I'm putting out on social media. Am I posting something because I want validation for the cute things my family and I do? Am I posting something because I want other people to praise me for something I've accomplished? 

At one point not too long ago in my life I would 100% say the answer to that was yes. While there are definitely still moments where I need to check myself, I wonder if there is also a way where we can strike this balance of sharing, but also knowing our works are not our own. It's an approach I've been working through in my posts the last few months. Can I post about running? Yes. Can I also post about the ways that God has healed me through an eating disorder, how He's put amazing people in my life to make running what it is for me right now? Yes. Can I speak about how my accomplishments are not mine but a result of the work God is doing in my life? I think yes. I think that social media can be a place where we can share the good and put the glory/praise in the right place, if we make that commitment. 

It's my hope for everyone who reads this that when you're using social media, the pretty aesthetic lives you see are not reflective of how everyone is living their lives. You can use social media to journal your family adventures and post the fun and happy moments, but if they don't get the likes and comments you hoped they would, that doesn't make your moments any less valid, or happy, or meaningful. It's my hope that as we all navigate the identities and idols that are calling for us and sucking us in each day that we can become more and more aware of our weaknesses, and seek to identify ways we can make them strengths in our lives. 

How Do You Make Oobleck

Oobleck is a fun STEM project you can do at home with your children. If you're wondering how do you make oobleck with minimal ingredients, look no further. 

I love doing messy activities with my kids. I know I'm probably not in the norm with that statement, but I love it because it entertains them for hours! Things like slime, finger paints, glitter, glue, etc... I lay it out for the kids and they let their imaginations run wild and take over the rest. 

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We were having one of those Sundays that seem to go on and on with no chance of bedtime in sight, and decided to try making this Oobleck with the kids a few weeks ago. It was super fun, kept them busy right up until bedtime, and they both had a blast. 

How Do You Make Oobleck:

There are a lot of different recipes I've seen for how to make Oobleck going around on the internet, but the best Oobleck recipe we've used it to simply use equal parts water and cornstarch. Once our mixture was done, we stirred in some food coloring to make it a little more fun for the kids, and then let them have a blast with it. 

If you pick up a big handful of it, it feels like a solid, only for it to completely turn runny and melt through the cracks in your fingers. 

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What is Oobleck?

Essentially it's a mixture of cornstarch and water. It isn't quite a liquid, and it isn't quite a solid. When you stick your hands in it, it feels wet, but your hands don't penetrate all the way through to the bottom of the bowl right away. They kind of sit on the surface, and then slowly sink in after a few seconds. 

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How to make Oobleck more fun:

If you want to add a little flair to your play, you can add some marbles or toys into it that you don't mind getting messy. You can then let your children look for the objects inside the Oobleck to make it more of a little scavenger hunt instead of a messy free for all (we went for the free for all but if you need structure this is a good option!)



How to Make Oobleck

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How to Make Oobleck
Yield: 1
Author: Paige Flamm
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
Oobleck is a fun STEM project you can do at home with your children. If you're wondering how to make oobleck with minimal ingredients, look no further.

Ingredients

How to Make Oobleck
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • food coloring

Instructions

  1. Combine all your ingredients together in a bowl, and enjoy your playtime!

Have you made Oobleck with your kids? It would be a fun sensory game while we're all at home right now!

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The Best Way to Clean The Oven (Six Simple Steps)

If you happen to have an oven without a self cleaning feature, you may find yourself looking for the best way to clean the oven and remove dirt and grime. Here are six easy steps to help you out. 

Several months ago I made some muffins, and when I went to put the pan in the oven, it slipped out of my hand and spilled batter everywhere, including inside our stove. I cleaned up as much as I could, and then figured I do a self clean cycle on the oven and we'd be fine. Until I realized that despite our house being built in 2017, the ovens are not self cleaning ovens. I didn't even know they still made ovens that did not self clean at this point in time. 

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At that point I washed my hands of the situation and decided to figure out my problems when we moved out of here. Well we move out in five weeks, so I decided now was as good as any to get this oven situation figured out. If you need tips on how to clean your non-self cleaning oven, let this be your guide.

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The Best Way to Clean The Oven:

Cleaning Supplies to Clean a Stove:

  • Dish Soap
  • Baking Soda
  • Dish Sponge
  • Scrub Brush
  • Straight Edge Razor
  • Chisel

Step One: Get the Inside of Your Stove Wet

I used a dish sponge loaded with water, and then squeezed the water into the oven and onto the door. I got about 3-4 sponge fulls of water in there before calling it good. 

Step Two: Squirt Dish Soap and Sprinkle Baking Soda Everywhere

I took the bottle of dish soap and squirted it very liberally all over the door and the inside of the oven, and then sprinkled lots of baking soda all over the dish soap. I let is sit an absorb and work it's magic on all the grime for a good 10 minutes. 

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Step Three: Scrub the Oven Down With Your Scrub Brush

I took my scrub brush and worked in a circular motion all over the inside of the oven and the door. I did this for about 5-10 minutes, really working hard to break apart as much of the grime and caked on debris as possible. 

Step Four: Wipe Everything Down With a Wet Rag

I took a rag and got it wet with super hot water, and then wiped out as much of the baking soda and soap as possible. I think I used a total of three rags to get everything wiped out and cleaned. 

Step Five: Bust Out the Razor Blade and Chisel

Scrubbing did remove a lot of the debris, but there was still so much stuff caked onto the door and the bottom of the oven. Derek disassembled a bic razor to remove the blade, and I rubbed that all over the door. It did an amazing job at breaking up all the little specks and didn't leave any scratches on the glass.

The bottom of the oven was basically unphased by the razor blade and we had to use more extreme measured, a chisel. Again, I ran this back and forth on all the black caked on spots until they eventually came off, and again, it left no scratches on the surface. 

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Step Six: Use a Dry Towel to Wipe Out All the Leftover Dust and Debris

When I was done with the chisel and razor blade I wiped everything out with a dry towel, and then swept the floors to get everything actually cleaned. The glass door was looking a little streaky so I wiped that with Windex and then it was done!

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This entire process took me less than an hour and really wasn't that bad at all. It's funny how something I had been dreading for months really wound up being a stress free process once I finally did it!

I do realize that the stove is still not perfect. I could probably get the corners better, and there is stuff trapped between the glass on the door that I'll never be able to get, but it is still 100 time better than what it was!

Do you have a self cleaning oven, or an oven like mine? Do you have any tips or products you love for cleaning the inside of your stove? I'd love to know in the comments below! 

If you liked this post, The Best Way to Clean The Oven, you might also like:


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How To Organize A Family Reunion

If you want all the details on how to organize a family reunion look no further. We have everything from breaking down the cost, activities, meals, and more!

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 in case anyone else is wondering how to plan a family reunion.

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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. 

How to Organize a Family Reunion:

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!

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