Showing posts with label Family Journal. Show all posts

16 Inside Activities for Kids

If you're spending lots of time inside this winter, or need something to do that isn't far from home, these 16 inside activities for kids will hopefully bust the boredom!

Raise your hand if you foolishly thought this quarantine was just going to be a fun couple of weeks at home. We are on week nine at home in our house (kids got the flu before lock down and never got better before this all happened), and to be honest it's starting to weigh me down a bit. 

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

The last couple of weeks have been hard, and since getting an iPad to for online learning, it's all Kinsley asks for about 99% of the day. If you haven't had a five year old ask you if she can play the iPad for eight hours straight, are you even living life? 

16 Inside Activities for Kids:

If you need an arsenal of go-to, quick and easy mostly screen free activities (some require a screen, but the screen isn't the major point of the activity), here are 16 of our favorite go-to activities for this time at home. 

Color By Number Books: 

Kyle is obsessed with color-by-number coloring sheets. We bought him several different color-by-number coloring books on Amazon over the last year and he's been obsessed with all of them. In that same realm, I've also thought that the Sticker By Number books are really cool too. Here's a quick list of the ones we've bought, and ones we're interested in. 


I know every parent says this, but if you have a kid who loves to read, totally monopolize on that. Even Kinsley who can't actually read loves to look at books on the couch, and be read to for long periods of time. You can see all my book lists and recommendations here.

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

Make Oobleck

Oobleck is a super fun and easy activity to put together for your kids. Make sure you're in a good mood when you start because it's similar to slime and will make a mess. You kids will love it though! For instructions on how to make Oobleck, click here!

Make Slime

In the same vein as the last suggestion, play with slime! I have never really made slime at home, but we usually just get it from the dollar spot at Target. It comes in small containers, and doesn't actually make a huge mess. The kids love sticking their action figures and other toys into it, and then dig them out. They could literally do this for hours straight. 

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

Homemade Play-Dough Recipe

If you haven't made homemade play-dough, you're honestly missing out. I find it to be so much softer and more enjoyable to play with than the real stuff, and it could totally double as a homeschool science lesson for the day. This is our go-to recipe for homemade play-dough.


Kyle recently discovered Audiobooks and it has been so fun for him. He's listened to most of the Boxcar Children series during quarantine, and asks to listen on the iPad every night before bed. This is one of those activities where you need a device, but the device is facilitating something better. We use an app called Epic, which is free for 30 days and then goes to $6.99 a month. They have a huge selection of unlimited books to read, and listen to, and we've loved it for both Kyle and Kinsley. We even went to cancel our membership before we had to pay after the trial, and they gave us another month for only $2.99. You can try Epic free for 30 days here.

Learn to Draw Books

This is another one we haven't done yet, but probably should since we're majorly failing on keeping up with Kyle's art class. I loved these books as a kid because it was always so fun to draw my favorite characters. You can see a huge variety of learning to draw books here. 

Cooking with Kids 

I've really wanted to take this time to teach Kyle how to cook in the kitchen. We bought him a kid's cookbook, Kids Bake: 100+ Sweet and Savory Recipes. I'm super excited for it to get here and start working through some recipes with him and get him more comfortable with cooking. You could also try a Raddish Kids subscription.

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

Free Printable Coloring Pages 

My kids love when I print them out random coloring pages that I find on google, or the ones that I've made and shared here on the blog. If you need something in a hurry without spending money, these are always my go-to for a quick and easy activity. Be sure to come back on May 1st when I launch six new free coloring pages! 

Write Letters to Family 

This is something we really need to do this week! My friends over at LDZStudios made these super cute printable envelopes that I really want to print out and send letters in! 

Kids Yoga

If you didn't know we switched Kyle from a public school to a private school this year. We learned since switching that apparently his old school did Cosmic Kids Yoga everyday in his French class... who knew? Anyways, he's apparently a yoga aficionado so we made a rule that he couldn't play on screens unless he does yoga first... which involves a screen but this is an activity with a greater good than just vegging.  There are a ton of different themed videos like Harry Potter Yoga, Dinosaur Yoga, Minecraft, etc... Kyle apparently knows them all and tells me which one he wants to do and I turn it on for him. 

Bike Rides 

We've gotten really into bike rides during quarantine. Kinsley can now pedal her trike with basically no help from us, and Kyle has gotten really good at pedaling his bike with confidence, which has been huge for him. Derek and I just walk up and down our street while the kids ride to their content, and it's the best. 

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

Visit a Free Little Library 

There are a couple of these libraries near us and we've been frequenting them the last couple weeks. These libraries can be found in people's driveways, parks, the side of the road... they're everywhere! You can find a list of ones near you here. The basic idea is that you take a book you want, and you leave a book to share. We've found some real gems and always leave a couple books behind for someone else too! 

Screen free activities at home. No screen time activities for toddlers. 1 million screen free activities. Screen free week. Screen free activities for babies. Non screen activities to do at home. Screen free preschool activities. Screen free parenting activities. Screen free activities for quarantine. Activities to do at home. Fun at home activities. #school #quarantine #screenfreesctivities #screenfree #activities #crafts #kids #homeschool

Board Games 

We've gotten into lots and lots of board games the last several weeks. Here is a post with some of our favorites... It's pretty outdated though, so I'll have to do an updated one soon!

Craft Box 

We took an old mason jar box and filled it with tons of arts and craft supplies. Whenever the kids are getting restless we pull the box out and let them go ham on all the supplies. It's the best money we've ever spent. 

Coronavirus daily homeschool schedule. Daily homeschool schedule. Homeschool schedule for kids. Things to do during coronavirus isolation. Indoor activities for kids. Coronavirus pandemic activities. Things to do inside with kids. Inside activities for kids. Bonding with your kids during coronavirus. Screen free activities for kids. Recipes to make with kids. Crafts to do with kids. #coronavirus #Pandemic #activities #kids #indoor #homeschool #learning #activities #planning #schedule #organization

What are you doing right now to keep your kids busy and yourself sane? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

If you like this post, 16 Inside Activities for Kids, 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!

A Day In The Life In Quarantine (Hour by Hour Log!)

I haven't done a day in the life post in forever, and after giving a big life update in yesterday's post, I thought it would be fun to share with you all what our days really look like right now. I feel lucky to have a lot of help and support from Derek, especially in the mornings because I am not a morning person at all.

5:45am: Kinsley wakes up and needs her blankets put back on her. As you can imagine, it's difficult for a quadriplegic to get their blankets on when they're fully awake, so tucking herself back in when she's mostly asleep is kind of an issue.

7:00am: Kinsley needs her blankets adjusted again, I never fell back asleep from the last adjustment, so I'm exhausted and pass out again until 8am.

8:00am: Kinsley and Kyle both wake up. Kyle goes downstairs to get breakfast and Derek (who woke up sometime between Kinsley's first wakeup call and now) brings Kinsley down to eat while I start my morning routine.

8:05am: I wake up and start checking my email, read my scriptures, tidy our room and start some laundry, and then get dressed and do my hair for the day.

8:40am: I head downstairs and get Kinsley dressed and started on schoolwork.

9:00am: I make my oatmeal while Kinsley works on her writing worksheets. I sit down and eat while I help her through the rest of her schoolwork.

9:30am: Kinsley is done with her schoolwork and starts playing with toys while I start typing out this post on the couch.

9:35am: I share my blog post from today on all my social media channels, actually respond to the emails that came in through the middle of the night, and get a bulk of my blog work done for the day before lunchtime.

10:00am: I went upstairs to switch out the laundry and find our HSA debit card so I can order the kids new glasses. They got their prescriptions updated in January and I still never got them new glasses so I figured now was a good time to do that.

10:54am: After spending an hour going back and forth between different websites and finding frames for the kids, I finally got their glasses ordered, and now am heading back to my email to sift through the multiple emails that came through in the last little bit.

11:00am: I start writing a blog post about grooming your own dog at home. Writing takes about 35 minutes. I still need to take and edit pictures for later, but if feels good to have some work done for later in the week!

11:35am: The kids have been playing well together for the last hour so I go upstairs and hide in our walk in closet where Derek is working and sit on the floor and eat some spicy almonds.

11:45am: I finish my snack, change a load of laundry and then head downstairs and clean up the big toy mess from the kids before making lunch.

12:00pm: Kyle makes himself a quesadilla for lunch, Derek comes downstairs to eat with us and makes a turkey sandwich. Kinsley wanted a hot dog and peaches and I made myself a massive salad. Kinsley ended up eating the rest of my salad and I hopped back onto my computer to clear out a few more emails while Derek sat and ate with Kinsley.

12:30pm: The kids and I head upstairs for quiet time while I made a phone call. Our belt for our treadmill broke and I spent almost an hour on hold with customer service only for them to tell me the repair would cost more than it was worth and I should wait for our treadmill to explode before buying a new one.

1:30pm: I email the company that sent me the treadmill (I got it for free as a product testing opportunity), and ask if there are any options moving forward for them to send a new treadmill... not holding out much hope, but at least we have money in savings for a new one if we need to go that route.

1:45pm: I veg out on Instagram and youtube for a little bit before remembering I need to do my makeup for an Instagram picture I need to take. I then remember that I also need to put a new shirt on which leads me to folding all of the laundry that I did this morning, and to switch the darks into the dryer.

2:00pm: The kids say they're hungry and want a snack. Today we had granola bars and fruit snacks.

2:10pm: I finally change my shirt and recruit Derek to take the instagram picture for me.

2:19pm: Forget I'm supposed to be holding a sign in the picture, hop onto picmonkey to make the sign I need.

2:30pm: Decided I didn't like my hair in the picture, curled my hair and made Derek retake the picture.

2:40pm: Edit the pictures and send them over to the person that needed them for the Instagram collaboration.

2:45pm: Kinsley is playing games on the ipad and Kyle is downstairs watching Ninjago. I decide to get my running clothes on and get my workout done for the day- 75 minutes easy pace on the treadmill (still using it since it hasn't caught fire and killed me yet).

4:30pm: Finished my run (7.2 miles) and grabbed the mail. The kid's bathing suits that were supposed to be in their Easter baskets came. The kids were both thrilled and disappointed that it will be a long time before we can use them.

4:35pm: Finish up some last minute work for the day while eating some more spicy almonds, and drinking some water. Derek is playing a board game with Kinsley since he's done working for the day, and Kyle has turned off the TV and is playing downstairs.

5:00pm: I hop in the shower while Derek unloads and loads the dishwasher for me. Dinner goes in the oven.

5:45pm: Dinner is ready and we all sit down and eat together. The kids start going bonkers and I head out to get Derek and I a soda #priorities.

6:30pm: I get home from my soda run and Derek has already gotten the kids in bed. We sit on the couch for a few minutes before his family Facetimes us, and we get the kids out of bed to talk to them.

8:00pm: We get the kids back and bed and Derek and I watch the news together while I get some abs/core work done.

8:30pm: I look for pictures that we can post to The Bamboo Brace Instagram account, and go back and forth with my bosses on which picture we should post and the caption.

9:00pm: The kids both get out of bed again and I get up and get them back in bed.

9:35pm: I finish posting for The Bamboo Brace, get this post ready for tomorrow, watch a show with Derek and head off to bed!

What are your days looking like right now? I'd love to know in the comments! 

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

A Family Life Update (How We're Really Doing)

It's been a long time since I've sat down and just did an informal update on what's going on in everyones lives around our house. And since none of us have left our home for more then a couple hours in the last 40+ days, I figured I'd share what quarantine is really looking like in our home right now. 

First of all, we've been in "quarantine", or have been hunkered down in our house since February 27th. Ours started earlier than everyone else because that is the day Kinsley got pink eye. Right after she had pink eye, Kyle caught the flu. Then Kinsley had an ear infection, and caught the flu from Kyle at the same time. Neither of the kids had a chance to go back to school from their illnesses until the schools all closed, so we've been home together for a long time. 

Derek has been working at home since the second or third week in March. All the days kind of blur together at this point. While it's nice to have him home and know he's safe and won't (hopefully) catch the virus, it really throws our family dynamic for a loop. Kinsley is obsessed with Derek and when he's home she wants him non-stop. This just causes lots of whining and other undesirable behaviors, especially in the afternoon when she's done with schoolwork and doesn't really have anything else to do. I'm really tempted to send Derek back to his office at this point. He can't catch the virus if he's the only one in the building right? I kid, but man afternoons get rough over here. 

Other than that he's been playing a lot of online chess with his brother when he's not working or parenting, reading some book I couldn't even tell you the title of, and being the number one bike ride facilitator with the kids each day.

Kyle has been on spring break since last Thursday, and will be on spring break through this Friday (his is longer since he goes to a Catholic school and the kids have the days before Easter off to observe holy week). It's nice to not have to homeschool two kids this week. He's been doing well getting most of his schoolwork done each week, but I admittedly forget to have him do his music, Spanish, and art work each week. I'm 99% positive they can't hold my kid back for failing his specials at this point, so we're just doing the best we can with the core subjects and trying to not get overwhelmed by everything else. 

Kyle's school uses a book app called, Epic that he has been loving! We did the 30-day free trial, but now we're paying for it monthly #whoops. They have a ton of books that you can read, or read along with a narrator while you look at the pictures, or just straight up audiobooks. Kyle has been listening to the huge collection of Boxcar Children books on the app and is totally obsessed. I think it's funny that he doesn't even want to do something while he listens (color, play legos, etc...), he literally just stares at the iPad screen and listens to the book even though there is nothing happening on the screen. 

Kyle also relearned to ride his bike. He didn't ride it for basically two years because our home in Layton was on a busy street, and then when we moved here he had a flat tire that we didn't fix until a few weeks ago. He LOVES it now though and rides up and down the hill by our house all the time, pedals while standing up, and is a total pro at riding. It's super fun, and he even asks to go outside and ride by himself, which is huge because even when we had a fenced-in backyard, going out to play by himself was never of any interest for him. 

When not harassing Derek, Kinsley has been doing really well with her homeschool work. We've been floored by how well she traces her letters, attempts to write her name independently, she knows all her letter sounds, can identify most of her numbers 1-20... she's made such huge progress in kindergarten this year, so it's been fun to work with her at home and see all that she's learned for ourselves. We started doing the 4 Weeks to Read program with her, mostly to give us something to do in the afternoons, but also because... why not? Do I think she'll be reading in 4 weeks, not likely, but she has enjoyed the first 6-7 lessons we've done, and we'll keep doing it a few afternoons a week. 

On the afternoons we don't do reading lessons, we've been working through the Confessions of a Homeschooler preschool curriculum that we bought for Kyle when we used to homeschool him. Kinsley likes the activities and I think they're really perfect for where she's at academically right now. 

Kinsley's aides from school put together a bunch of little activities and games for her to play with at home. They're not mandatory at all, but they did it simply because they missed the kids and wanted to do something fun for them. I'm so sad Derek was the one that answered the door and that I didn't get to see them! They put so much time and effort into them and it makes me so happy to know that Kinsley has amazing teachers and aides at school who love and support her! 

Kinsley has also had amazing improvement riding her bike as well! She has gotten to the point where on a flat surface she can pedal independently, and even back herself up, and turn herself around and change direction without needing any help at all. This is basically our easiest form of PT right now because she loves it, and it needs little effort from Derek and I. We're hoping all the leg strength she's building will have payoffs down the road. 

Also just because I know people will ask, all of Kinsley's PT/OT/SPL appointments have been canceled, and everything for her potential upcoming surgery are on hold until at least may. She is kind of getting services through school, but PT was mostly just a list of stretches and things that we should do whenever, along with OT. SPL seems a little more intense on the school end, and I honestly haven't even wrapped my brain around starting that yet... especially since Kinsley talks all day long I don't feel motivated to do it if I'm being super honest. 

It more often than not feels like a massive undertaking homeschooling the kids and being responsible for their education, but I know we're doing the best we can and we luckily have a supportive school staff we can fall back on for help. I've had to remind myself that some things matter and a lot of things don't. Kyle has been struggling with writing in school (not actual handwriting, but coming up with ideas and topics to write about for assignments), and being able to zoom conference with his teacher and have her help him one-on-one with that has been such a weight off of Derek and I who were spending way too much time working through those assignments with him, where his teacher can help him in a fraction of the time. That in itself has been a huge blessing. 

I've been doing lots of baking and trying new recipes (as I'm sure you can tell with the influx of recipes over here). We've been eating homemade bread weekly, and have had more treats than I care to admit, but when in quarantine right? 

I decided since I have more time for running than ever before, I should start training like an elite runner and see where that gets me. I set a goal to see how much I can improve on my 10k time in one year, and see if there is any hope of me coming remotely close to the olympic standard in the 10k on the track, which is 32 minutes. My current PR is 55 minutes, but I did that with almost no training and then dealt with injuries for an entire year after that, so I think at baseline I could actually do much better than 55 minutes. 

I'm planning on doing three 8-week training cycles, and at the end of each cycle either run a race (if races are back on) or a time trial on the track to see where I'm at. At the end of the three cycles I plan on running a 10k on the track in Santa Barbara, CA in September with a goal time of 40 minutes. A lot of people have asked why Santa Barbara, and it's just because they have a track meet there every year that is open to everyone (most meets are for elite runners or NCAA athletes and since I don't have a sports agent because I'm not an elite runner... I can't get into most of them). The race will also be at sea level, which should hopefully give me some benefit since I live and train at 4,000+ feet. 

That is basically everything and more than you wanted to know about our lives right now. I'd love to hear what you're up to and how things are going for you in the comments! 

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

Friday's Five - Fri, Jan 31

I love sharing the highs and lows of the week in these Friday posts. Often it feels like I don't have much to share or write about, but this week I feel like I have so many things that I want to share with the world. For once I think keeping to just five things might be really hard. So lets hop into all the things from this week. 

1) Kinsley had an amazing PT session. We've been going to a new PT clinic and I feel like things are going really well with that right now. Kinsley was walking with her PT on Monday, the PT was holding her hips, and let go to see what Kinsley would do, and she stepped her foot out about six inches. It was the first time that I was able to get a glimpse of this girl potentially walking independently. 

2) I really hate Billy Footwear shoes. Everyone has been raving about these Billy Footwear shoes for ages. So many people sent me links to articles about them. People in the Cerebral Palsy communities love them, and I can't stand them. The $10 shoes I used to get from Target were so easy to undo the velcro and slip on and off. I could get the shoes on in seconds. These Billy Footwear shoes have an obnoxious zipper that has split several times for us, they could be a little wider to accommodate the brace better, and once you finally get done fighting the zipper, you have laces to deal with. Consider this my negative review of Billy Footwear. We're going back to our three favorites shoes for AFOs when these wear out.

3) Running is still going strong. I ran five miles last night at 8:54 pace. I've ran over 70 miles so far for January, and I can't believe how much faster I've gotten over the last month. I haven't ran consistent 8 minute paces in about 10 years, so to finally be coming back to that fitness seems like such a wild dream.

4) Kyle got a Falcon Five. Kyle's school gives out awards for kids who are caught doing good things, and calls them Falcon Fives. He's gotten 7 total this year, and we're just happy to know he's doing good things when we're not around and making him do it. We always go and get a cookie at our favorite cookie shop when the kids bring these home. 

5) I'm trying a new meal plan I'm really excited about. Olympic marathoners Jared Ward and Des Linden have teamed together to create an online coaching business, Endure Strong. They've come out with a weekly meal plan for runners, and I'm excited to give it a try this week. I'll still post my weekly menu plan tomorrow for you guys to use if you like, but I'm excited to try this plan and let you know my thoughts when I do. Nutrition for runners is so specific, and I'd love to see how much more I can improve when fueling properly. So far I love that they have simple breakfast and lunch options that feed one person, but all the dinners feed four, and include side dishes too.

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

Kinsley's SDR Evaluation at the Gait Clinic

Yesterday we went to Shriner's to have Kinsley's first evaluation for her Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery that she might possibly be getting this year. I won't go into all the details of this surgery, but if you want background information Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), and how it reduces spasticity and muscle stiffness, you can read this post here to learn more about SDR surgery.

We got to Shriner's at 1pm, and headed down to the Gait Lab. When we got there they didn't waste anytime asking lots of questions, got Kinsley changed into some shorts and a tank top so they could see how all her muscles are working and we got down to business.

The first thing the physical therapist did was get a video of Kinsley walking with her leg braces on, using her walker. She "ran" (as much as she can), up and down a blue lane while PTs filmed her from forward, behind, and at her side. They also had two stickers on each of her knees that communicated with a computer that would read what her muscles were doing, and eventually spit that information out into some type of report.

They then repeated all of this without her leg braces on, and that's when all the drama and meltdowns happened. Kinsley has literally never walked with her walker without her leg braces. It was really eye opening to see how much she struggled, how high her muscle tone really is, how much she walked on her toes and could not get her feet flat on the floor, and how painful it was for her to do that. It was a sucker punch to the gut for sure.

I then had to fill out a bunch of questionnaires, they manipulated Kinsley's legs and feet into a bunch of different directions, took a ton of different measurements, and added that to her file as well.

Collecting all of the data took about an hour and a half. They then went on to tell me that it will take about two weeks for them to get all the data from her tests, and then they will take that data and send it over to the doctors at Primary Children's Hospital.

The pediatric neurosurgeon and team at Primary's get together for what they call a "spasticity clinic" where they meet together in a conference and will talk about Kinsley and any other children with cerebral palsy being considered for the surgery once per month (unless they don't have enough kids to talk about and they'll skip a month...) During that meeting they'll review Kinsley's report from Shriner's, watch the videos of her leg muscles, and make a call on what they think the best thing for Kinsley moving forward is.

After they meet together, we'll get a call and they'll let us know if they think Kinsley is a good candidate for surgery or not. What I thought was going to be a really quick answer is really going to be something that we're going to have to wait 30-60 days to hear back on.

Another slightly frustrating thing is that we talked to some friends whose daughter is having the surgery at the end of next month here in Utah. They scheduled their daughter to have the surgery in July, and aren't actually doing it until now, seven months later. So even if we get accepted for the surgery, it looks like it's actually going to be a really long time until anything happens.

The reality is we could be a solid nine months out surgery. It's a long time to just be sitting around and waiting, but I also need to remember that this is all in God's timing as well, and that His timeline always reveals some amazing things in all the waiting. It just means we have nine months to do even more work, more physical therapy, get Kinsley even stronger than she is now, and the stronger she is before surgery, the better the long term outcomes will be after surgery. As always, we'll keep everyone updated as we learn more!

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

Things to Do in St George Utah

We spent the long weekend down in St George since the kids had a four day break from school. We love going to St George, Utah because it's only a four our drive from our house, is a little bit warmer in the winter, and has significantly less pollution which means you can actually see the blue skies. A rare novelty from us since we live near the oil refinery in North Salt Lake. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to Do in St George Utah

The kids had the best time, (mostly due to the friends we saw for much of the time we were there), and if you're looking for a short list of fun things to do with kids in St George, the best food to eat in St George, and where to stay, we've got you covered. 

Where to Stay in St George:

Both times that we've rented a place to stay in St George, we've rented a condo in The Sports Village. It's in a good location between St George and Santa Clara, which means you're never too far from anything either town has to offer. The one we stayed in this time had two bedrooms, and a pull out sofa, so we all had our own sleeping areas, and we all slept wonderfully. Full night's sleep from both kids each night, and I also took a nap each afternoon. My kind of vacation. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

What to do with Kids in St George:

Most of our time was spent with friends, but on the time where we were flying solo we did a few fun activities. Our first day there we went to the St George Children's Museum. It's converted from an old school building, and each room is a different themed play area. The major hits for our kids were the airport, farm, and grocery store! It's $5 per person, so $20 for our family of four, and was totally worth it. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.
The next day we had the entire day to ourselves and decided to take the kids hiking over at Pioneer Park. This is where the famous "crack" is that you can walk up (you can see pictures from Derek going up it on our honeymoon in this blog post!), and where you can climb up to the famous Dixie Rock. Kyle and I went up to the rock, and then met back down with Derek and Kinsley where we explored and hiked around a bit more before leaving and getting a snack. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.
The St George Dinosaur Discovery Site museum is a fun hands on activity that your kids will love. Derek and I went on our honeymoon, but decided then that we should come back when we actually have kids. Now that we do, we should actually take them next time we're in town.
Out of all the times we've visited St George though, we've never been to Zion National Park. We need to make a point to go down there for some family friendly fun before it gets too warm and the park gets crowded.

Where to Eat in St George:

We had three food outings while we were there, and being the terrible blogger that I am, I have zero pictures of any of the food. Our first day we ate at Roy's Pizza. It was really good, the kids loved it, and we had enough to take back to our condo for leftovers. We got the large Roy's Combo, and 4 water cups for about $20 and it was definitely money well spent. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.
The next day after our hike we went to Sloth Cookies for a treat. We had actually driven past it 6 times and kept making fun of the name, and then figured their marketing tactic had worked since we took the bait and went to check it out. For those in on the Utah cookie game, it's different from Swig, Crumble, Twisted Sugar, etc... Crumbles cookies are thick warm and gooey, Swig and Twisted Sugar have those large, cold, chewy sugar cookies that blow your mind... Sloth cookies have thinner chocolate chip cookies that aren't overly gooey, and their sugar cookies aren't cold and amazing like Swig. For these reasons, Derek loved Sloth Cookies over the competitors, and for these reasons, I liked the competitors over Sloth... so take that for what it's worth. 

On Saturday night Derek and I did an "at home date night" where we ordered takeout from Ahi taste of Asia and watched a movie. The food was amazing. I got the vegetarian spicy Japanese noodle bowl, and Derek got the chicken coconut curry. The portions were huge, which we ate for lunch the next day, and we would totally go back on a future trip. 

What Else We Did:

The major perk to going to St George was to visit The Wagner Family. Their son Michael baptized me in NY 10 years ago and now he and his wife and kids all live in the area (if you need a stellar dentist, check him out!), along with his parents who my kids seriously adore. We spent lots of time eating, playing, chatting, and going on some fun dirt bike rides for the kids. Their entire family is actually the best part about St George, and we're super grateful for the time we get to spend with them when we're there. 

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.

Things to do in st George Utah at night. St George Childrens museum rental. Bowling St George. St George weather. Parks in St George. Tunder junction all abilities park. Salt project st George. Mini golf in st George. St George with kids.
Have you been to St George? I'd love to know what your favorite things to do down there are in the comments below!

If you liked this post, Things to Do in St George Utah, 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!

Word of The Year 2020 + 50 Options For Yours

Having a word of the year for 2020 is a great way to reflect and set intentions for a new year. Here are 50 word of the year ideas for 2020. 

My friend Autumn introduced me to the "word of the year" a a while back, and it's something that I started implementing in 2019. Last year the word I focused on was "brave". It started when I was running mile repeats in my old neighborhood, and I wanted each successive mile to be faster than the last. I would tell myself to be brave, when typically I'd be too afraid to lean into the pain and quit. I later came to learn though how much I would need to be brave in other aspects of my life too, which are too personal to share, even on this blog where I seem to over share everything. 2019 though really forced me to stretch myself and unapologetically show up for myself in ways I'd never done before. 

Word of the year ideas 2020. Personal word of the year quiz. Word of the year 2020. Choosing a guiding word. Word of the year focus. My word of the year quiz. Word of the year 2019. Intentional word of the year.

2019 was the year where I really started to know who I was as a person, and what I want from relationships, and so many other areas in my life. In 2020 I want to take what I learned in 2019, and go even deeper. This is why I've chosen my word of the year to be, dig. I want to dig deeper into my blog. I want to dig deeper into my family and have more meaningful relationships with each of my kids. I want to dig deeper into my friendships, and make more time to prioritize them in my life. I want to dig deep in my workouts and in my running and see if I can walk away from 2020 with some new personal bests in any distance. 

I want to look back at 2020 and know that I took risks. I love the quote, "Nothing grows in a comfort zone." I know I have more potential than what I've reached in basically every area of my life, and I want to dig into the things I know I need to change, in order to see the growth I know I want to achieve. 

And if you're looking for your own word of the year, I've got you covered right here. 

50+ Word of the Year 2020:

  • Adapt
  • Allow
  • Align
  • Be
  • Believe
  • Belong
  • Bold
  • Bloom
  • Brave
  • Breathe
  • Change
  • Commit
  • Connect
  • Courage
  • Dream
  • Do
  • Enjoy
  • Enough
  • Explore
  • Flourish
  • Focus
  • Free
  • Give
  • Grow
  • Heal
  • Intend
  • Lead
  • Learn
  • Love
  • Move
  • Now
  • Open
  • Pause
  • Peace
  • Prosper
  • Reach
  • Release
  • Renew
  • Rest
  • Rise
  • Seek
  • Shift
  • Simplify
  • Shift
  • Strive
  • Thrive
  • Trust
  • Wonder
  • Work
  • Yes
Do you adopt a word of the year? I'd love to know what words you've used in the past, or what you're planning on using in 2020.

If you like this post, Word of the Year 2020 + 50 Options For You, you might also like:

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

6 Activities to Do Over Christmas Break

If you're looking for some activities to do over Christmas Break with your kids, these six ideas will keep your family happy and excited through the long cold days at home!

Christmas break can sometimes be a difficult thing to navigate with children. If you're not going out of town, and your partner is going to be in the office working all week, you might find ourself with a lot of free time with your kids and not sure what to do with it all.

I like making a plan for activities to do over Christmas break so that I have an idea of what the week will look like. None of these activities are super extravagant, but are fun things to connect and bond with your kids instead of having a boring day at home (which don't get me wrong, I love those too!)

Winter break activities near me. Winter break ideas for college students. Things to do over break with friends. Winter activities for kids. Winter vacation activities. Winter break ideas for families. Winter break camps near me. Winter break activities for middle schoolers. #winter #christmas #Kids #fun #familyfun #winterbreak

Activities to Do Over Christmas Break

1) Take the kids on a lunch date to Chick Fil A. 

This is something I did weekly over summer break, and that the kids really loved doing. The owner of the location we go to is always so friendly to Kyle and Kinsley, and I kind of want to adopt him as another grandpa... but our kids already call eight other adults grandma and grandpa, so we're kind of tapped out in that department...

2) Go to the little free library in our neighborhood. 

When I was out on my run yesterday, I noticed that our neighborhood got a little free library. Our kids have never seen one before, so I want to take them over to it! Kyle I'm sure will think it's the most thrilling thing he's ever seen. We have a lot of doubles of books in our home library that I'd like to take over too.

3) Go to the children's museum. 

We got passes to Discovery Gateway over the summer, and I want to take Kyle since we usually go when he's in school. Kinsley goes almost weekly since we meet her PT there for therapy, but it will be nice to take both kids for once!

4) Bake something with Kyle. 

Kyle loves helping and baking in the kitchen, and I've been trying to be less uptight about things. Before Christmas, I bought a cake mix from Trader Joes and told him to basically do it on his own with little help (because my brain has to be either all in helicopter mom style, or completely hands off, there's no middle ground over here...) And he did the entire thing with very little instruction. I want to set this up as a monthly activity in 2020 where I print off a recipe and let him work through it on his own!

5) Take the kids to the real library. 

Our library books are always insanely overdue, so we need to plan a day and go and exchange them for new ones. Our library also has tons of fun toys, and the librarians knows our kids really well, so it's always fun to go and see them.

6) Tubing at Solider Hollow. 

The kids have never been tubing before, and our local place here in Utah has accommodations for people with disabilities. I think this would be a fun thing that the kids would really love. We try to do a fun day trip to Heber each year anyways, and this would make for the perfect activity!

If you liked this post, 6 Activities to Do Over Christmas Break, you might also like:

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

To My Sweet Grandma

This has definitely been a Christmas Eve unlike any other. It started off as a super low-key normal day. We were at Derek's parents house, packing up the car, and getting ready to head back home for our normal Christmas traditions. My grandmother has been dying for sometime now in a nursing home, and has been on hospice for the last 18 months. On the drive back to Utah from Idaho, I got the call from my mom that she'd finally passed. 

It's been a weird mix of emotions. On the one hand I've been going through all the motions, carrying out all of our Christmas traditions with the kids, while on the other hand silently grieving the passing of my grandmother. We all knew it was coming, and we were prepared that it would likely happen right in the midst of Christmas, but it feels so strange to know I'll never see her again. 

She was such a large part of my life growing up, and the holidays were her favorite. I remember the pumpkin and apple pies at both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I remember her Christmas cupcakes that always came to our home in her big red cake holder. 

My grandmother taught me so many good and wonderful things that I'll never take for granted. She taught me how to cook, sew, and clean. She also taught me so many things about caring for people with disabilities that I never thought I'd need in life, but am so grateful to have now. My grandmother while capable of walking, spent most of the time I knew her in a power wheelchair, and only doing small transfers from one area of her home to another. Although she could do longer distances, it often came to her with much effort and would leave her fatigued for extended periods of time.

I see bits of her in Kinsley, and those moments always catch me off guard when they happen. Especially when Kinsley was a baby, she constantly reminded me of my grandma so much. I feel sadness that she never got to meet her great-grandchildren, as well as Derek. But I'm grateful that her legacy can live on as I teach my family about the things that she taught me. 

My grandmother suffered the loss of her mother at nine years of age, her brother before I was born, her only sister when I was eight, and she's been a widow for nearly 30 years. While I'm sad to lose her, I know that there was the sweetest of reunions up in heaven this morning. The loss of her mother I think was one of the most painful moments in her life, and when I think about that sweet reunion where she got to embrace her for the first time in 75 years, I feel so much joy for her. 

While experiencing something like this on Christmas Eve seems like such terrible timing, I'm grateful for the ability to remember the birth of our Savior and to know that His birth paved the way for us to all have the blessing of eternal life. I'm comforted by the words in Alma which state, "... the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life." 

To read more about my grandmother's life and the legacy she leaves behind you can read her obituary here.

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

My 2020 Goals

I love making new goals for a new year. I know a lot of people don't like them because they see it as setting themselves up for failure, but I think that working towards something is better than working towards nothing. Even if you don't fully accomplish something, you're closer than you were 12 months earlier. 

new years resolutions 2020, New Years resolution 2020, New Years resolution list, New Years resolution ideas 2020, unique New Years resolutions, top 10 New Years resolutions, New Years resolution ideas 2019, creative New Years resolutions.

I'm also really into manifesting my goals and saying them out loud. It's so powerful. For me, if I say I'm going to do something, I'm going to do everything that I can to make it happen because my word, and my integrity mean so much to me. I want to always be showing up and doing the things I said I would. With all of that in mind, here are my 2020 goals. 

Start A New Business: I love planners and have used one every year for the last five or six years. I usually get them at Target, but this year I wanted something more from my planner. When I started looking for what I might want, I realized a few things:

1) I liked bits and pieces from a lot of different planners, but there wasn't one planner that had everything I wanted in it. 

2) I wanted a planner that I could write out weekly goals, have a weekly menu plan in there, have a full two-page spread monthly calendar, have a weekly planner, and a spot for a weekly gratitude journal built in. Not too much to ask right? 

3) If I found something that was even remotely close to checking off all of these boxes, they ranged in price from $40-$60. That is a huge rip off in my honest opinion. I would never spend that much money and would never expect you to either. 

Derek and I have put our heads together, made a few connections with some factories, and I'm fairly confident in my ability to launch this amazing new planner and have it set to $25 shipped for each of you. I'm so excited and cannot wait for it to become a reality. Hopeful launch is September 2020, so that you can have it for 2021. Stay tuned. 

Move to the neighborhood where the kid's school is at: Right now the kids go to school on the west side of town, and we live on the east side of town. We love the kid's school and want to keep them there. We also want to live in that neighborhood so the kids can have more social activities after school each day. We're keeping our eyes open for anything we can potentially buy or rent, and are hoping to do this by the summer at the latest. 

Run a race every month: I keep setting these huge goals for me to run another marathon and I keep getting injured. It's the most frustrating thing for me right now. Instead of focusing on marathon or nothing, I just want to have a simple love for running again. I want to run a race each month whether that's a 5k or a half marathon, or anything in between. This is a distance I can run with little training, and I want to just make running an innocent part of my life again without rigorous training. I think this will help! 

Blog five days a week: Now that I'm done with school, I have more time to be full-time with blogging again. I love this online community and really want to invest in it more. After taking basically a year off with little bursts of blogging here and there, my monthly page views crashed down to about 10,000 a month. They've jumped back to 29,000 at the time of me writing this, and I really want to get back to 100,000 a month by the end of the 2021. 

Year of no excess spending: I already wrote an entire post about this here. 

What are your major goals for 2020? I would love to hear about them in the comments below! 
set goals, big goals, specific goals, new years resolutions, good luck, stay focused!
Be sure to stay up to date on all of the latest by following on instagram @thehappyflammily

The Latest Kinsley Update

We had another big appointment at Shriner's this week which brought a lot of new changes. New medication, new orthotic devices, and plans for upcoming surgery evaluations that could possibly bring more long term solutions for this little girl. 

The main purpose of our visit was to get more x-rays and botox injections. We had x-rays done on her hips to make sure they were holding at 30% subluxated, and thankfully they are. If they move to 50% we have to do hip dysplasia surgery, and the number one goal the last two years has been to keep doing injections on her leg muscles, which will lessen the pressure of her hips being pulled out of the sockets, and prevent that surgery for as long as possible. The current treatment is working, and we're super grateful for that. 

Another bonus to the botox injections is that it turns off the spasticty in Kinsley's legs, helping her to strengthen weaker muscles, walk better, and hopefully walk with less interventions in the future. She's been making amazing progress and strides over the last several months, so we've been looking into options that will allow her spasticity to be permanently removed, and not just temporarily shut off with botox injections. 

Our two main options for that are Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy, which I talked in depth about in this post here, or a Baclofen pump. Baclofen is a drug that relaxes the muscles and turns off spasticity. They can place a pump under the skin in her spinal cord that would give a continuous drip of this medicine to her spastic muscles and essentially keep the spasticity away and allow her to function better without getting botox injections all the time. The downside is that this pump would need to get refilled every six months or so, via injection of a needle into her spine that accesses the pump and fills it. So we're essentially getting rid of botox injections, for a spinal surgery and more injections, which isn't really my favorite option. I'm really hoping they just let us do SDR since it's more of a one and done surgery and no one has to go poking around her spinal cord ever again afterwards. 

Baclofen does come in an oral medication form as well. We tried it two years ago and Kinsley was the 1% of kids who had insomnia from it, so we had to take her off of it. Now that she's five, her doctor thinks she'll handle it better, and so we're currently trying oral baclofen again. As of right now when I'm writing this, she took a full dose at bedtime and went to sleep, so I think we're in the clear. 

The downside to oral baclofen is that there are side effects which wouldn't necessarily be as prominent with the baclofen pump. The major side effect we're most nervous about are seizures, so we don't want her to be on this long term, but it will give us a good idea of how her body will work when she has SDR or a baclofen pump placed, so it's a good short term solution to see how she'll react to more long term solutions. 

We made an appointment to go to the Gait Lab in January where they will fully analyze how Kinsley walks and uses her muscles, and from there they will be able to have a better idea as to whether or not Kinsley is a good candidate for either of these operations, and then we can start making more plans from there. 

There was a bit of bad news at this last appointment. If you watch this video of Kinsley walking at the grocery store, you'll notice that her right foot is turned in quite a bit when she walks. She walks really well, but would walk even better if this wasn't happening. We thought this was a spasticity issue, and that they could inject some botox in her foot today to solve the problem, but they were able to determine that the issue was related to bones and not muscles, meaning botox cannot correct the issue. 

Her foot is turning in as a reaction to the position of her hips, from the hip dysplasia. Basically her hips being out of alignment are causing the leg to be out of alignment (see pictures at top where knees are pointing in at each other) and therefore causing her foot to be off track as well. It's hard because she wears leg braces to hold her feet in the correct position, but they unfortunately don't correct the foot turn the way we'd like or hope. The only way it could be really corrected is to do the hip dysplasia surgery, but it's just so invasive and everything else on Kinsley looks fine, so they really don't want to do it unless her hips subluxate at that 50% mark. Meanwhile, Derek and I are nervous that she's going to cause permanent damage to her leg/foot, so what do you do? 

We basically have one option for right now, and that is this strap thing that essentially attaches to her leg brace, wraps up around her leg, and then around her waist. This strap will hopefully prevent her foot from turning in, and we're hopeful that her walking will look even better once the foot is in the correct position. The downside is that as you can imagine, Kinsley will likely hate this and not want to wear it, and the doctor told us the benefit won't be worth the fight. So it might work, or it might not. To get a better idea of what this would look like on Kinsley, see this video of our friend willow here. 

I know a lot of people are probably thinking, is walking worth it if you have to go through all these hoops, interventions, and adaptive equipment? I used to think it wasn't. I honestly thought that we would have given up on this goal a long time ago. But Kinsley has determination and fire. She wants to be on her feet and walking. She chooses to use her walker over her wheelchair everyday at school. As long as this is something that she keeps wanting, we'll keep fighting for her until she says otherwise. Bearing weight on her legs and using them is also really good for her hips, and helps them to not get worse. Hip dysplasia surgery is incredibly invasive, and would mean Kinsley would be in a body cast for three months straight, and we don't know that she would regain any or all of her skills again if we had to do that. 

There are also plenty of studies that state people who are full time wheelchair users have more health related concerns than able bodied individuals. The one that pulls at our heart strings the most is that full time wheelchair users are more likely to have flu related complications, such as pneumonia, and their bodies aren't strong enough to fight off infections that they sadly die from. We've known too many sweet kiddos with holoprosencephaly over the last several years that have died from pneumonia and flu related complications. It seriously breaks my heart. It's my hope that should Kinsley ever get one of these infections, that she would be strong enough to fight it and get better. 

Nothing's guaranteed, and time has never been on our side in any of this, but in a lot of ways, the fight to walk is about so much more than just walking. 

Day One In San Diego | 7 Accessible Beaches

Yesterday was our first full day in San Diego. We're just here for a quick family vacation, but are packing lots of fun into three short days. We started off the day at 6am, woke the kids up, and headed to the airport for our 9:30am flight. The kids did really awesome flying, and Kinsley's wheelchair made it through the flight without getting destroyed, so I'm calling that a major success. 

When we landed we went to the rental car place, and decided to upgrade to an SUV so we'd have more room for Kinsley's wheelchair. We were so bummed to find out we paid more money, only to find out the chair didn't fit. We had to take the wheels and tippers completely off to get it in the trunk, and then it just barely fit once we got the suitcase in too. 

Side note: When Derek and I first got married we bought a brand new 2012 Ford Escape, and a year later regretted the decision because we now had a car payment we didn't have before. For years I HATED that we bought that car. After this experience with the rental car, it makes me think that maybe Heavenly Father put that car in our place at a very specific time and place, because of how amazing it's been for our family since. It fits Kinsley's wheelchair, gait trainer, and a suitcase if we wanted, without having to take anything apart. Total blessing in disguise that I appreciate seven years and one paid off car after the fact. 

Seven Accessible Beaches: 
After we got our rental car we headed straight to La Jolla Shores to play in the water with the kids. It was super windy, but the ocean water was surprisingly warm! The kids loved splashing in the waves and had an absolute blast. When we were on the airplane I quickly googled "Assessable beaches San Diego", and was surprised to find out that seven local beaches were not only accessible, but had free beach wheelchair rentals as well. If you're heading to San Diego with a wheelchair bound love one, check out one of these seven beaches: 

Ocean Beach
Mission Beach
Cornado Beach
Silver Strand State Park
Imperial Beach
La Jolla Shores
Oceanside Harbor Beach

Each beach has either a manual or electric wheelchair free of use, which can be accessed from the lifeguard buildings. This website here has more information with contact phone numbers.

Board and Brew:
Some youtubers that I follow (Emma Aabrahamson, Ellie Abrahamson, and Sarah Abrahamson all sisters if you couldn't guess), always rave about Board and Brew sandwiches and their amazing special sauce all the time, so I couldn't resist stopping in for lunch today after we played at the beach. Their sandwiches are huge, and the kids split a grilled cheese, while Derek and I shared a sub, and it was definitely more than enough food, and totally worth the hype I'd experienced online for an entire year leading up to this moment. 

Legoland hotel:
After lunch we checked into our room at the Legoland Castle Hotel. I'll do a full hotel tour later in the week, but our room has been so much fun for the kids. They have their own bunkbed room for themselves, that's well stocked with legos to play with. There's lego figures everywhere, and they even have lego sets in the room for the kids to take home. It's a kid's paradise! 

Costco Dinner:
For dinner we hopped in the car and drove a half mile out from the resort to grab a quick bite to eat at Costco. Derek and the kids each had a slice of pizza, and I grabbed one of their acai bowls for the first time. We ate and were all super exhausted and headed back to the hotel to sleep! Everyone is super excited for our full day at Legoland today!

Be sure to stay up to date on all of the latest by following on instagram @thehappyflammily