Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Guest Post on Family Friendly Projects

With spring break around the corner I was wanting some new, fun and fresh ideas to keep the kids and family entertained. Luckily Mary Kremer is our gust writer today to give us some fun ways to keep our family busy. That's the key right? To not let them get too bored, otherwise it's usually Trouble (that's right, with a capital T ;) Mary Kremer loves traveling, writing, and learning. In here spare time, she enjoys bugging her husband with everything that's on her mind just as he's about to sleep.




As a proud aunt, I’ve been trying lately to come up with unique and fun activities I can try with 

my nieces and nephews. I see it as “parent training.” Plus, I love being their favorite. This year, 

I came up with a couple different options that I thought would be really fun to try out (and share 

with all of you). Here are a few potential ideas for you to try out as the weather gets nicer.



Paper Airplane Contest

This one was one of my favorites because, not only was it super easy to plan, but my nieces 

and nephews really loved it. All you need is paper, and a few different models of airplanes to 

try out. I googled some instructions for different paper airplanes so that I could try putting them 

together with the older kids. When we had put them together, we went to a nearby park and had 

a little contest. All you need here is some tape to mark the distance each plane goes. Or, you 

can make several markers and see who can get past the furthest one. 

I also thought it would be fun to make some giant airplanes from poster paper...Oh yeah. You 

better believe they loved that one. If you want to get even more creative, you can let your little 

ones color their airplanes before starting, so each one is personalized. You might also want to 

break up your contests by age, if you have a large age range.


Foam Swords

This one was my husband’s idea (I wasn't surprised), but it was actually quite a favorite of 

the kids. Now, you can go all out when it comes to foam swords, and use PVC pipe to make 

handles and everything, but all we ended up doing what giving everyone a foam noodle and a 

cardboard cutout for a sword. The results were fantastic. If you want to step it up, take everyone 

to a park and divide up into teams. Have everyone pick a fortress and then send them all to war. 

Also, make sure they know not to go for face shots, or you might find out the hard way that kids 

think their faces are indestructible.



Hatch some Chickens

I’ll admit, this one cost a lot more than the other activities, but it was SO FUN! And everyone 

had a blast. What you’ll need to do this project is an incubator and some eggs. You can buy 

larger incubators, or you can do what we did and get a really small one that works for 2-3 

chicken eggs. We found one of those on Ebay for $30, and we bought the chicken eggs for 

about $4 each. 

This activity was also a bit longer than our other ones (say, oh, three weeks, instead of an 

afternoon), but I can’t tell you how much fun it was. Our nieces and nephews called us at least 

every day for an update, and we even decided to send out photo updates by phone and email 

to their parents every day. Taking care of the eggs was pretty basic. I called a local incubating 

company for tips (shout out to Incubator Warehouse for all their help), and was surprised out 

how simple the whole process was. And, as adorable as it was watching those fluffy little chicks 

come out, it was nothing to the faces of those adorable kids.

 I think I’d like to try this activity in conjunction with Easter, as it seems like there are a 

lot of great parallels to draw. Either way, it was a great activity to try at any time of the year, and 

one we’ll definitely repeat.




Thanks Mary for those fun idea's. I have actually wanted chickens my self. Hopefully soon we will finish our fence so I can get some. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Once There Was a Snowman, Snowman, Snowman...

With spring officially here I can finally wave goodbye to winter. Although, I couldn't help but look back at one of our favorite winter traditions that we missed out on. Which of courses is strange and was started quite randomly. Every winter we like to make a unique or themed snowman. It started when my oldest son made his first snowman. He was 2 1/2 and we chose some random things to go on the snowman. He was so excited to show Dad it when he came home. Ever since then we try to make a fun snowman every year.




This year we had an early snow towards the end of October. I was right before my brother left on his mission so we decided to have some fun in the snow before he left. Especially because we knew in Utah the snow would be gone within a day.

We came up with this concoction. Which was just colored water and a plastic knife from the dollar store. We also used wood to make the X eyes.







We made this one the following year in honor of my brother. He was serving his mission in Mexico and missed the snow. Since we missed him in Mexico, and he missed the snow by us, naturally we needed a Mexican snowman.



Last year we made this mailbox snowman. I remember seeing a picture somewhere, so when the snow wasn't sticking too well, the idea of stacking it against the mailbox was a perfect solution.  The kids were making up all kinds of reactions they thought the mailman would have when they came for the mail.




This year the few times we had a good snow we weren't able to play in it. Usually someone was sick or it melted before we had a chance. So this winter we didn't do one :(

So hopefully this fall we can have the most epic snowman of all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kodiak Cakes Minute Muffins Review


I was intrigued when asked to review Kodiak Cakes new Minute Muffins. As a mom of 4 always on the go I am always in need of a quick healthy breakfasts.


The first one I tried was the lemon chia muffin. It ended up being my most my favorite! It had a nice bright flavor to wake you up in the morning. Plus the chia seeds will give you energy and much needed antioxidants and other nutrients. it was so easy to make too. First I tapped it a few times to make the mix flat, then added the necessary water, and stirred.


 Then I popped it in the microwave for a minute, and yummy hot muffin here we go.


The very next morning also happened to be my errand running, mom chauffeuring go, go, go day. I had just strapped all the girls in the van and started to head out when I realized I not only forgot my daughters ballet shoes but I also forgot to eat breakfast. I ran in the house, added water to the blueberry muffin cup, put in the microwave, and just as the timer beeped a minute later I had found my daughters shoes. Perfect timing. I grabbed it, a plastic spoon and a banana and went on my way. Actually eating breakfast is not only the ideal way to start the day, but helps me not turn into a grouchy mom. I was so grateful that these were sitting out on my counter, otherwise who knows what I would have done. Needless to say these are officially added to my always keep a few in stock list, just for those crazy quick breakfast mornings. Way healthier and tastier than pop tarts ;)

I saved the chocolate one for a night when I was exhausted and needed a chocolate treat after putting the kids to bed. The apple cinnamon I had for a snack one day and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was light and had a nice subtle cinnamon flavor. Every time I ate one I couldn't help but think how much I would have loved these  when we were moving around a lot and living in hotels.

  Here is the link to there website to see how and where to purchase these delicious quick and easy muffins.  http://www.kodiakcakes.com/minute-muffins/

Don't forget to like their Facebook page for recipes, products and deals.



Friday, February 28, 2014

The Decor Queen

From this point forward I am going to call my sister in law The Decor Queen. Every time I go to her house I'm in awe of her eye for design and decoration. This is something I am not good at all!!!! I need to just hire her to help me with my house. Look at this cute wall she put together. 



I love it! I don't think I would have ever thought of that. 

Her and I both love to hang our kids artwork. I'm more of a fridge and tape it on the wall person. She actually has cute ways to display them. Which way do you love?





She also lets each kid have a tupperware for all their pictures under their bed. If you have little artists like we do, you know how fast you can get overwhelmed with artwork. I like to scan and save some pictures digitally to help save on space.

She also always has cute displays like this for pictures. 



This one isn't finished yet, but I had to share her work in progress. I'm excited to see the end result. 



What do you think? Is it just me or is she amazing? 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hormel Rev Meat Snack Mix's

Our family loves to be on the go. We look forward to car trips, outings and lots of adventures. Which also results in lots of eating and snacking on the go as well. I am always on the look out of good healthy snacks that we actually like. Especially things with protein. I was really looking forward to review the new Hormel Rev meat snacks.

 Hormel has these new Rev Meat Snack Mix's that I love. I tried 3 different flavors. The Spicy BBQ & Bacon, Pepperoni Pizza, and Turkey Ranch. They also have Honey Mustard Bacon (One I can't wait to try) and a pepperoni and cheese snack mix. Each of them having 8-12 grams of protein.

The Spicy BBQ and Bacon tastes just like it sounds. It had a nice spicy BBQ flavor and lots of bacon in it. The BBQ comes from the BBQ seasoned bagel chips, the kick is from jalapeno bacon and it also has sourdough pretzels in it as well.

The Pepperoni Pizza Snack mix has cheese crackers and parmesan, tomato herb bagel chips, and pepperoni. Really cute little pepperoni to be specific. Perfect snack for that picky eating kid that loves pepperoni pizza.

My favorite was the Turkey Ranch Meat Snack mix. It comes with cracked pepper pita chips, ranch seasoned breadsticks and smoked turkey. It was addicting. I couldn't stop just after one cup, I had to eat two! 




  • Where can you find some of these yummy filling snacks? Right now they are at several Smith's in the state of Utah selling them. Here are a few of the Smith's that you can purchase them at:
Smith's in Pleasant Grove
210 East 700 South

Smith's in Orem
45 S State Street

Smith's in Draper
212 E. 12300 S.

Smith's in Sandy
10305 S. 1300 E.

Smith's in Salt Lake City
3470 Bengal Blvd

Smith's in Ogden
4275 Harrison Blvd


I also have several $1 off coupons I can give out. That would make them probably just a little more than $1 each. If you are interested in trying one and want a coupon then leave me a comment below of which Smith's you would go buy it at,  and which meat snack sounds yummy to you. I'll pick a few comments at random on March 1st to give them out to. Make sure to include your email so I can contact you.


  •  I am currently a member of the HORMELTM REVTM Meat Snack Mix Program and this post is part of my involvement in the Group. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, all statements and sentiment in Utah Queen of Chaos are my own.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Traditions

Last year we had a packed day on Valentines Day. Looking back to plan for this years I am trying to decide what we should do. Should we get a sitter and have a date night? Should we go do something fun as a family? Maybe stay in for some fun?
 
 
 
Last year I made yummy Red Velvet Crepes. My husband and I really enjoyed them, my girls liked them, my son openly announced he preferred the regular kind of crepes. We could do that again for breakfast.
 
We also went to Dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. We could go out to eat, or order some to go at home. I even heard you can buy just their sauce, and we could make our own at home. Hmmm that sounds good.  Then I could watch one of the movies from my top 5 Valentines movies lists.
 
My kids love crafts and my son has gotten into origami lately. Maybe I could teach them to make something origami, play some games and decorate sugar cookies.
 
I'll have to keep thinking about this one. So many choices what do I do? It's not every year that Valentines falls on a Friday night.
 
Comment, Tweet or Facebook me what you are doing this year for Valentines Day, I would love to know! I feel like my creativity pool is running a little shallow.
 
 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Top 5 Favorite Valentines Movies for the Family

 
Today I am sharing my top 5 favorite shows to watch with my family around Valentines day. If you want some suggestions for just you and your husband that aren't on most people's romance favorites make sure to read yesterday's posting.

 
5. Up

How cute is the couple in this movie? It's rare for Disney to keep both parents alive till old age, even though the wife dies in the first 10 minutes. technically they lived a long happy life.  Usually Disney has single parents or dead parents right of the bat. I love how much the husband is willing to go through just to fulfill his and his wife's life long dream. I also love in the end when he realized all the things him and his wife really had accomplished together. I think too often we forget how much the little things in life count and can mean so much more than the big things.
 
 


4. Enchanted

Princesses, comedy, cartoon characters  and real life characters? Yup this is a perfect for my family. With only 1 boy and 3 girls, my son gets to laugh at the guy mocking love, and get the cool fight scenes, all while my girls get the gushy love stuff, big frilly dresses and other princess stuff. I like to see how many Disney Easter eggs my kids can spot in this movie when I watch it. Here is a little slide show I made of a few of them, but this movie is loaded with them.
 
 
 


3. Winnie the Pooh A Valentine For You
 
Winnie the Pooh is one of my favorite shows from my childhood. It's not something my kids like to watch too often, but every once in a while (like on Valentines Day) they'll sit through one with me. It's just a fun cute movie to sit and watch while the kids load up on the treats from school. It's fun for me to see all the fun personalities of the characters I so fondly remember.
 
 
2. Gnomeo and Juliet
 
What's Valentines Day with out Romeo and Juliet? Gnomeo and Juliet is a great introduction to the Shakespeare classic. Only this one has a much happier ending. I love the ninja scene where she sneaks out wearing a black sock.  I also love when the best friend is watching the person buying the new lawn mower, "Not the kitty clippers." 
 
Want to make this into a fun movie night? Here is the link to download and print 13 fun coloring and activity pages. http://www.gnomeoandjuliet.com/main/activities/flash/activityPack/int/pdfs/printables.pdf
 
 
1. Mulan
 
If you read my list of favorite movies for moms and dads this one shouldn't be that surprising. There's a love a story, but not the usual love at first sight lets get married Disney movie. Muln shows that she is more than just beautiful. She's smart, brave, honorable and besides "You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty."
 
I mentioned earlier that few Disney movies have both parents, alive, well, and competent through the whole movie. This is one of the few I can think of.  I love the history and culture in this movie. I also can't help but dance and sing along with all the great songs in Mulan. This is my all time favorite Disney movie and Disney princess. This is my kind of love story.
 
http://spoonful.com/disney/throw-a-mulan-party#carousel-id=photo-carousel&carousel-item=2
 
Here is a link to throw a Mulan movie night party. You can print and make a Mulan paper doll, make a sweet twist on Mulan's smiley face breakfast and make cute panda cupcakes.
 
Bonus-
 
 
The Princess Bride
 
I thought I would try something new this year. My kids are getting older and I thought maybe they were ready for a movie like this classic. Sure enough I was right, they loved it. Well at least the parts they watched and didn't ask a million questions through.
 
There were 3 scenes that were questionable with kids. One was the scene with the rodents of unusual size (ROUS's.) That freaked the kids out a bit, till I told them they were actors in costumes, then they laughed. However his bloody shoulder after the fact made them cringe. The second scene I thought would freak them out was when Wesley is in the pit of despair being tortured. Again they just laughed, they thought it was funny. At the end where Inigo Montoya finally fights the 6 fingered man was too much for them. The knife being thrown, then being stabbed and then ending in his death with  an obvious swear word. My son looked at me and said, "Mom is that a..." I just interrupted, "Yes, yes it is." (If you can't tell we don't swear in our home and my family are naïve to cuss words.) Really it was just 2 scenes with a little blood, but really not that bad.
 
 
The rest was great. My son loved the little boy who interrupted the story, cause it was almost the exact reactions from him almost mirroring the boy played by Fred Savage. He loved the fighting, catch phrases, and twists in the plot. My girls loved the princess, and silly saying they actually understood.
 
The fun part was for me to watch it again, and pick up on little things, or sayings that may have gone over my head when I was younger. I actually watched it again the next night just my husband and I.
 
If your family isn't all kids under the age of 6-8ish than this is a fun Valentines movie recommendation from me. If you have all tiny tots, then I recommend making it a date night and saving it for a few years.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Top 5 Favorite Valentine's Movies for Mom and Dad

 
Here is a list of my favorite movies to watch around Valentines Day. Keep in mind I am not a huge romantic. I don't typically read romance novels or watch romantic movies. I do like romantic comedies, but more for the comedy than the gushy parts. So  pretty much what I'm trying to say is this list isn't going to be your typical Sleepless in Seattle type movie list.




















5. Valentine's Day

I know too cliché right? I also know this movie got horrible reviews. Oddly enough I know how much it cracks me and my husband up every time. Ashton Kutcher is hilarious, especially him and George Lopez together. It also has Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, the list goes on and on.

I love Anne Hathaway's "side job" in this movie, cracks me up every time.  The girls with the I  Hate Valentines Day party is also fun. I wish I would have thought of that piñata in my singles years. My husband loves movie where there is that twist of how everyone is all connected in the end. Plus what guy wouldn't love the last 3 words of the movie?


4. Mr. & Mrs. Smith

This is not only one of my favorite movies, but my kind of love story. Action, fighting, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, what's not to love. It has the sarcastic humor that is right up my alley. I think my favorite scene in the whole movie is the car/van chase towards the end. When they are discussing what was real in their relationship, and what wasn't while trying to evade the bad guys at the same time. When we saw this in theaters we were seriously laughing so loud the whole movie. Now I know we were the only ones laughing in the theater then, but today we still laugh the same amount.


3. The Notebook

Ok, ok I can't have a Valentines movie list with out a Nicholas Sparks movie. If I had to pick one it would be The Notebook. I do enjoy the courting part of their relationship. The crazy, silly, dance in the street was (and is) my kind of thing. I like the spontaneity of it. I also love the beach scene where she pretends to be a bird randomly. That is something I would randomly say. Let's face it, if you want gushy romance, no doubt, The Notebook is the way to go.


2. Crazy, Stupid, Love

Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling, enough said. This movie may be on the dirty provocative side, but it is also on the ridiculously hilarious side as well. Steve Carell is so funny, and one of our favorite actors. The way he interacts with his wife, kids, friends and lovers are great. I love the sarcasm between him and his wife's personal conversations, like their joke about switching kids in the hospital. I enjoy Emma Stone's character in this. I think we all sometimes try and walk that line of what I should do and makes sense and the what I want to do and be crazy side. The scene when she goes home with Ryan Gosling's character cracks me up. The classic awkward "Ok, now what?" moment. I always felt bad for the son though. Till the end, then I'm a little disturbed for him. 


1. Date night

Sorry to put another Steve Carrell movie on here, especially back to back, but what can I say? We obviously like him as an actor. I'll bet he and Tina Fey had a blast making this movie. As many married couples may feel the same way they did at the beginning, stuck in a rut. Same dating rituals, who would blame them for wanting to change things up a bit, and pretend to be the Tripplehorns.  We may or may not have used that name for a reservation, just to spice up our own date night.

I also love how much was improve in this. After the director did his few takes, he would ask if they had any suggested changes. Almost always they did, and apparently they almost all made the movie. For instance the scene in the strip joint. They didn't want it choreographed at all, they wanted it just as awkward as the characters themselves. Also I know the scene with James Franco has a lot of improv in it as well. The only part in that scene from the script is "Zip your face," the rest was made on the fly. Don't forget to watch the outtakes on this, hilarious movie!



Bonus-

Live Free and Die Hard

For my bonus I thought I would share with you the movie I have watched for the past 3 years on Valentines Day itself. That's right, it's Live Free or Die Hard. Not exactly romantic- AT ALL! That is one of my favorite movies of all time. I figure this movie doesn't reference Christmas at all like the other's so why not make it a Valentines movie?

 There is only one man in the whole world that I know that could actually take down a helicopter with a car, and that's John McClane. Ok in all seriousness Jack Bauer could too, but that's besides the point. If you haven't noticed by now I love sarcasm, and this movie is oozing plenty of it. The story line progresses' but isn't too complicated for me to understand. I also love the daughter in this, you can tell she is her father's daughter for sure!

That's it for my favorite movies that I watch with my husband around Valentine's Day. For the list of my favorite family friendly love movies check back tomorrow.