Category Archives: Fun

Elfwardo and Randall


Here is a peek at our adventure with Elf on the shelf…

first off… I need to explain our reindeer.

my two older girls are really too old for the whole elf on a shelf thing but we like some quirky fun at our house… but I really didn’t want to spend the $30 adoption fee to have an elf join us… so my oldest and I set out on a mission to find a cheap knock off version…

enter, Randall… for the low price of $5.99 we were SOLD

the story of Randall is similar to the elf, Santa lost the naughty and nice list and Randall is on a mission to rewrite it.  His story book name is just Randall… but we like to call him Randall on the Mantel (our knock off Elf on a shelf).

now lucky for my kids their Grammy loves them enough to adopt a $30 Elf… so we have both 🙂

next I would add that the key to the creative Randall/ Elf adventures is all in the planning.  I looked all over the internet and Pinterest to find my inspiration.   we started December 1st so I have a list of 25 different ideas, each night a quick look at the list and I have their nightly activity.


landslide or too close to call


Either way we are ready to be a part of Election Night 2012!!!

this year our oldest is much more interested in politics.  They have had discussions at school and she is genuinely interested in understanding why each side thinks what they think.

I personally turned 18 and thus became eligible to vote in a presidential election year… and I have been an active voter ever since.

so tonight to add some family fun to Election Results I have planned a themed dinner and have put together some tools for the girls to participate and understand our presidential election process.

our dinner:

Right Wings & Left Wings (aka wings in 2 flavors)

Roasted Red Potatoes

Big Blue Soda (some weird generic soda I found at the grocery store)

Apple Hand Pies

our election tools:

Ballots for each girl so they can vote (one with pictures for my non reader)

a blank US map that we can color red/blue as states are called

a list of the electoral college votes for each state so we can keep tally

12 Olympic Meals – Japan


OK so I wanted to try to make our 12 Olympic meals at home (instead of doing take out), but clearly trying to learn to make sushi within the time frame of the Olympics was a bit ambitious.  Especially since I have spent so much time everyday watching the Olympics.

so we found Sushi at a local grocery store.  I got ours at Harris Teeter, but I would imagine that most higher end grocery stores would carry some sushi.

we just bought 3 different kinds and I knew that my two younger daughters were not going to be that adventurous so i also made ham & cheese “sushi”

the ham & cheese is back there by the fake grass.  tortilla, cheese, ham & turkey rolled like a burrito but then cut into pinwheels.

we also have pot-stickers from the frozen food aisle.

If you wanted to be more authentic you could also serve your sushi on more geometric shaped plates (like square or rectangle).  I personally don’t have any of those in my vast china cabinet 🙂

we also had Raman Noodles

and for dessert


these are very interesting.  They are actually pounded sticky rice “cake” balls filled with ice cream (which could be made from Rice Milk).  We found the Mochi at a local Trader Joe’s grocery store.

An Olympic party


We had a big night planned for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

We planned to watch the ceremonies while eating Fish & Chips (a popular meal in London) and holding our paper Olympic torches.

but then… a big storm blew through our town

The storm knocked down this tree and knocked out our power 😦

so our Olympic party started the day after the opening ceremonies 🙂

we ate Fish & Chips

There really couldn’t be and easier meal.

I used frozen Beer Batter Fish and Frozen Steak Fries.  I baked both.

We made our paper torches

These were so easy to make.

we used:

  • construction paper; black, orange & red
  • tape
  • scissors

you just rolled the black paper into a cone, and taped it shut and cut out the flames with the orange and red paper and use tape again to put the flames into the cone.

so even though we got off to a rough start we are still planning on have tons of fun watching the Olympics.

next up, we are planning 12 different menus each one representing a different country.

we chose 12 because it is 2012 😉

  1. England
  2. France
  3. Mexico
  4. Spain
  5. Greece
  6. Poland
  7. Thailand
  8. Denmark
  9. Germany
  10. Samoa
  11. Italy
  12. USA

of course all of these dishes will be simple, budget friendly and in no way “authentic”… they are just meant to be a fun and creative way to celebrate the Olympics.

Make Cloud Sand – Summer Bucket List


This was such an easy activity. It only required 2 ingredients, and those are ones you most likely have in your house already.

I would say that this activity would be most enjoyed by a the preschool age group but my older two played for about 45 minutes to an hour.

all you need is

flour and baby oil

we used 8 cups of flour and 1 cup of baby oil

then mix together with your hands

once it is mixed together the “cloud sand” can be formed into shapes

my girls had fun with this craft and it would make for  a nice rainy day activity

Visit a Roadside Attraction – Summer Bucket List


I love the website Roadside America it is a guide full of crazy offbeat roadside attractions.  I love the craziness so much that I also have their iPhone app so that I can look up roadside attractions whenever we are on the road (for a long haul or a short trip)

some of the attractions are just plain crazy and some are crazy fun

good thing for me my family humors me and participates in my stops along our way.

our most recent stop was to:

Thomas Haywood’s Self Kicking Machine

the machine was originally built for Mr Haywood about 60-70 years ago.  It has had a couple of homes and restorations.  But currently it resides outside a roadside antique shop in Eastern North Carolina.

This particular attraction was weird, odd, strange and full of laughs.

I highly recommend checking out some fun roadside attractions, who couldn’t stand adding a little fun and humor into their lives.

Have a Picnic – Summer Bucket List


Check off another Summer Bucket List item…

Have a Picnic

with all of the sports that my kids play we are on the road or on an athletic field a lot of the time.  I have been trying to find some more creative things that we can eat when we are out and about.  below is what we had at a roadside stop on our way to the beach.


being a stay at home mom… eating on a budget is important.  packing a lunch and having a picnic is much less expensive and healthier than eating out.  And I think that the girls would agree that this was more fun than sitting in a fast food restaurant.

Our menu was:

summer tomato, corn, crab & avocado salad

I used a version of the recipe over at you have to check her site out she has some amazing looking recipes.

in my version, I used frozen imitation crab and frozen corn.  I did this because I cut the crab frozen and added the corn frozen so that we could travel with it in the car and the salad would keep.  I also did not add the hot stuff (peppers & cilantro) or the oil.  I just kept it plain to make it more attractive to my kids.  next time I make this I will use the cilantro.

I served the salad on corn tostada

we also had veggies with store bought hummus

and for dessert refrigerated cinnamon pretzels – these were in tubes like biscuits at my local Aldi


what was even more exciting about finding a picnic location was what we found along the way.  Between where we live and the beach the state is very rural.  We got off the interstate and found a state park location that was a civil war battleground.  On the way we say a field being burned to get ready for the next crop.  I have always seen charred fields and knew that farmers did this but had never seen one burning right on the side of the road.  It made for quite a little adventure for us.

Send Some Fun Mail – Summer Bucket List


This post and bucket list idea was completely inspired by the Happy Mail Series over at giver’s log.

The basic idea is that you can mail pretty much anything that is 13 ounces or less.  Giver’slog has so many great ideas in the series…

Later this summer we will be visiting family & friends in Indiana, so the girls and I decided to send some happy mail to my BFF’s daughters (she has 3 girls the same ages as my girls).

we decided to send the big girls flipflops and the little one a pail and shovel.  On Tuesday we sent them one shoe each and the shovel and today we will be heading back to the post office to send the rest.  My girls also wrote a summer themed joke on the bottom of the shoes, the answers will be on the other shoe.

By the way, when we mailed the shoes the postman was impressed with our idea and said he was going to write about us in his journal that night 🙂

in case you were wondering, we bought the “mail” at the Dollar Tree ($1 each) and the postage was $1.95… so total cost per girl was $4.90… not bad for a little family fun.  Plus Check one off the bucket list.