Wednesday, January 21, 2015


After our last disastrous museum experience, I am pleased to report that we had a wonderful time last Saturday at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the U of U campus.
The UMFA is free every first Wednesday and every third Saturday AND on the third Saturday there is a free family art project. We liked to do the project, but what we really like is checking out one of the exhibit themed backpacks from the front desk! Each backpack comes with a folder full of guided questions to help you explore the museum, plus hands on activities, paper and crayons, and even a take home packet with extra fun.
This time we checked out the large sculpture backpack. We started outside by the "driftwood" statue of a horse. Did you know it's really made out of copper with a patina? We got to compare a twig and a copper "twig".

We headed inside and took turns freezing in different poses to try and capture movement like this artist did.

Here's Juno holding a small rendition of "The Thinker" when we were studying a bust by Matisse.

We took a detour in the Egyptian section where the girls had fun learning how mummies were made.

Now comes my favorite part--the contemporary art exhibit. I love contemporary art. I feel like I could do that stuff! The girls took turn arranging small wooden blocks to create their own sculpture, like the one you can see in the background behind Juno (next picture).

Tempe studied this sculpture made out of old bike tires and then made on of her own out of black pipe cleaners!

This is the full contents of the large sculpture backpack. There was a materials box and every sculpture we visited was represented by something the girls could feel--a piece of marble, a twig vs a copper "twig", a piece of bike tire, brass, etc. The girls loved getting to feel what the sculptures feel like!

And here they are getting the "kids' eye view" of these pink streamers in the large gallery downstairs!

We had so much fun exploring the museum with the large sculpture backpack and can't wait to go back and try another! The girls all really loved exploring their take home packets too--those came with packets of Model Magic clay so they could sculpt their own work of art!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Natural History Museum of Utah (or how to totally stress yourself out in one afternoon)

Today was the free day at the Natural History Museum of Utah, something we've (I've) been looking forward to for a long time. Admission to this particular museum would run our family $40--and that's just me and the three older kids. Yeah, not in our budget. Tempe especially asks to go to a museum every single Saturday, and it breaks my heart that I almost always have to say no. We hit up all the free museums (the Church History Museum, the BYU MOA, the UMOCA, the Bean Museum, the Eagle Bay learning center, the UMFA on every third Saturday), but there's only so many times you can go to the same museum. I've been wanting to take them to the Natural History Museum, so this free day was perfect.
I was a little worried about crowds because some free days are just not even worth it because of how crowded they are, but we decided to brave it anyway. 
Fail #1: I picked the girls up at the bottom of the hill when they got out of school because I didn't want to check them out and I thought leaving at 3:40 would still give us plenty of time.
Fail #2: It was raining today. Like, downpour raining. That reduced my interstate speed to around 50 MPH, which meant it took us about 40 minutes to get to the museum itself.
Fail #3: This was the museum's fail--they have entirely too little parking. I circled the lot 3 times, and finally pulled behind a lady sitting in her car with the engine on. I waited for a minute and then actually got out of my car to ask if she was leaving soon. She did not react well. I honestly don't see why, because the parking lot was completely full and there were several cars circling, looking for spots. I think it's just common courtesy in that situation to NOT be sitting in a parking spot doing nothing while you wait for someone to come out. But whatever. We ended up parking in the satellite lot and taking the shuttle, which put our arrival at 4:25.
Fail #4: Biggest fail ever. I did not check the museum hours. I don't know why. I really thought it was open until 8 pm for some reason. No. They close at 5. 
We rushed to the elevator but Tempe was already starting to quietly weep. I apologized profusely and promised we would do our best to see some stuff--we definitely didn't see everything, but we stuck to the 2-minute schedule and were able to see and do quite a few things. It is an awesome, almost entirely interactive museum and I think we could probably spend 3 hours there and not get bored!

Playing in the sand table
Beautiful girls in a mountain meadow full of wildflowers

All three girls had fun putting the pottery jars and jugs back togther--fun magnetic exhibit!
Juno was terrified of the dinosaur skeletons but the other girls liked them!

So we had fun, even though we only had 35 minutes to explore. The girls all agreed that we saw plenty of stuff and we'll have more fun next time we go (next free day is in April).
Fail #5: We left the museum and went and stood in the pouring snow/slush/rain where the shuttle had dropped us off. Then the shuttle came, drove right past us, stopped at the edge of the driveway and picked one person up, then zoomed away while we were running after it, screaming and dragging four kids and a stroller and a diaper bag. I could see it stuck in the massive amount of traffic pouring out of the parking lot, but we couldn't get to it, so we were resigned to standing in the snow and waiting for it to come back--actually, I don't know if it would have come back at all, it might not have since it was officially after hours at that point. Luckily, a very sweet couple and their three kids saw us running after it and offered us a ride to our car, even though it meant kids doubling up and the mom sitting on the floor. It makes me cry just thinking of it. I did not get their names, but I am so grateful that they stopped for us, because we were all on the verge of tears and I was trying my best to find some good in the situation so my kids would still have fun and not leave on a bad note. So THANK YOU anonymous strangers!
Fail #6: Because we got to the museum so late, we left at rush hour. It took us 30 minutes just to get back to the interstate an then another 45 minutes to get home, in the pouring rain, with very poor visibility. There were minor emotional breakdowns, but surprisingly, nothing too terrible.
All in all, it was not a super successful trip. I was so looking forward to taking my kids to this museum and I think I was the most disappointed of all. At least now I know what to do in April to have a better experience!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

mighty girl

This is Juno.
Here are some of Juno's favorite things: cars, trucks, trains, babies, playing house, t-ball, baseball, coloring, painting, football, dancing, basketball, tools, playing office, and cooking.
Do you see a pattern?
No. That's because there's not one. Juno likes both stereotypical "boy things" and stereotypical "girl things"--or, as we call them in our house, "things". I would hazard a guess that most kids are probably like Juno.
No need to label :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

New year, new crazies

Quick recap from Christmas--I'm not going to bother posting 50 pictures, because no one wants to look at all those! Just follow me on Instagram @younghipstercoolgirl.
Anyway, Christmas. It was a crazy whirlwind month of December, full of fun great activities and lots of family time. My sweet sister Kelsey got married on the 22nd, so my parents were here with us for Christmas. We have not spent Christmas together for I think 7 years! It was so fun to have them spend the night with us on Christmas Eve. We also went to the zoo on Christmas Eve with my brother and his wife and my parents and that might be a new tradition! Then for our dinner that night we had a special candlelit Bethlehem dinner, eating foods that Jesus might have eaten (probably not)--fish, flatbread, cashews, dried figs and dates, rice and couscous. After dinner and reading the Christmas story from the scriptures, the girls opened their new Christmas Eve pajamas and went to bed!

If you're wondering, Helena did love her pajamas but was not happy about taking the picture.

Our kids were up at 4:45 on Christmas morning. Yep. They were all in the same bedroom because my parents were sleeping in Tempe and Helena's, so it was a three ring circus all night trying to get people to go to sleep and stay asleep. Everyone drifted back off around 6:30, so we stayed in bed until almost 8. Christmas morning was a big success--Santa brought Tempe a bike, Helena a super cute fairy doll treehouse and fairy dolls, Juno a basketball hoop, and Pearl some plastic dishes and spoons (we really needed some more, thanks Santa). The rest of us were pretty spoiled too, that morning!
Moving on to New Year's Eve...
We started off with a fondue dinner (cheese and mustard fondue), then had different activities every half hour.

Each activity was in a balloon marked with the time we should open it. We painted nails, read Harry Potter, watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid, ate Butterfinger fondue, played video games, and watched the ball drop at midnight. Here's to 2015!

And just when I got everything finally put away from Christmas and my house back in order... I decided to do this. Cabinets are getting painted!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Live to give

We started a new Christmas tradition this year and I am so, so excited about it. I really want to teach my kids to think about others before themselves--honestly, they do that naturally, so now is the perfect time to capitalize on it. We've done quite a few smaller acts of service this year, but our big thing was a bake sale to benefit Quarters for Christmas.

We spent several weeks planning what to serve, advertising on Facebook, and making posters, all during the beautiful golden warm afternoons we had in December. The day of the bake sale was cold and rainy, but we set up on the front steps and raised quite a bit of money in two hours. We even have a nice neighbor who offered to match everything we raised! I am so proud of my sweet daughters who have such a giving nature and that we were able to have a successful fundraiser.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Word vomit

I don't think I'm the only one who doesn't blog anymore. Instagram is so much easier and quicker. Plus, I think most people are more interested in little tidbits rather than big long blog posts.

I've been doing a little work on our master bathroom over the past month and now I'm wondering why I didn't do it five years ago! I gel stained the cabinets, added some mercury glass knobs, and framed the mirrors. The frame was originally going to be stained the same as the cabinet, but we ended up using primed baseboards, so instead I painted them blue-gray and used the stain over the paint to glaze it. I LOVE how the frames turned out! I wish the tile and countertops weren't so blah, but I don't really know what I could do besides replacing them, and that's not going to happen.
I should be making presents, wrapping presents, working on family history, getting ready for cooking, etc, but I don't feel like it. What happened to those days of playing at home with my kids, going to the library, and reading by the fire? I miss that. Life is crazy now but I think that I am just in that stage of life now!
Juno's speech is so slow to improve and it's frustrating and most weeks we leave "Talking Time" (her speech therapy) feeling defeated--well--I feel defeated. She doesn't care. Her sweet therapists today reassured me that all kids develop at their own rate, but that she is improving and not to worry too much about what the future holds. The good thing is, her language (which was way, way below average last year) has improved significantly (she tested above average for her age this month). Now we are just working on articulation--tedious, tedious, tedious.
And now Pearl is awake. Blerg. She doesn't nap well, she doesn't sleep well, and I am tired.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November menu #1

I have completely neglected my blog over the past few months. Now that I'm working on our family yearbook for 2014, I'm realizing that I need to get back into blogging--it makes compiling a book for the whole year a lot easier! I am a busy woman now, with four kids, two in school (and oh, how I hate the never ending cycle of homework and lunches, lunches and homework!) and three part time jobs that I do from home. And yet I still find time to binge watch Gilmore Girls... 

1. Cheesy Italian sausage bread, creamy tomato soup
2. Tamale pot pies (the recipe calls for ground chicken but I used ground beef), black beans
3. Creamy spinach linguine, garlic bread
4. White chicken chili, cornbread
5. Three cheese pizza, tomato and cucumber salad
6. Leftovers
7. French onion soup with quinoa (the recipe calls for barley, I'm using quinoa instead), brussels sprouts salad
8. Pecan chicken, roasted carrots, twice baked potatoes
9. Baked oatmeal, biscuits, bacon
10. Sweet and tangy chicken, tortillas, lime cilantro dressing
11. The Pizza Factory: We won best costumes at my brother's Halloween party and were awarded a gift card, wahoo!!!
12. Leftovers
13. Steak with blue cheese crust, mashed potatoes, crusty bread
14. Chicken noodle soup, homemade rolls (Juno's birthday dinner!)

I'm also spending a lot of time working on our Thanksgiving weekend menu. We are spending the weekend with my parents and siblings at a ranch house in New Harmony, Utah, near St. George. I love Thanksgiving. It's such a wonderful holiday, the family, the food, the pies... I love planning our Thanksgiving feast!