Weekly Nutshell (4th of July & a Concert)


Yes, I embellished this picture, but you get the idea.

Last weekend, Zach came home, which is always a treat, and then friends came up from Salt Lake and had a BBQ with us on Sunday. On Monday, we watched fireworks in the distance from our back deck and lit sparklers. (I sent Zach home Sunday night with my Sony DSLR so these are all iPhone pics.)


On Tuesday morning, Marissa left for her last girls camp. On Wednesday, our dog, Zoey, went to the groomers and came home with a shiny coat (and all the undergrowth gone).


On Friday, Marissa returned, full of camp stories. 🙂


On Friday evening, Marcus and I visited our friend’s barn just up the street…


Where we got to bottle feed their calves. That was fun!



And on Saturday night, a group of us (that’s my cousin taking the group-selfie) went to a nearby resort for a Kelly Pickler concert.


Aren’t they beautiful sisters?


So that was our week in a nutshell. How was your week?


Weekend Nutshell (A Cave, An Award & A Barn)


Just this past weekend we headed out on a road trip, from Tucson to our home in northern Utah. We moved our baby girl back home so that she can participate in her last Young Women’s camp and prepare for college life. We are in transition. Come September, we will have three of our four kids in college and only our youngest left at home. I know I’m always saying this, but these stages of motherhood are so bittersweet for me. On the one hand it is a joy to watch my children blossom into these amazing young adults. On the other hand, there is a longing to bring back their childhood and I miss having them home with me.

PicMonkey Collage

Each time we make this road trip, we try to stop somewhere and play tourists a bit. This time, we stopped at Moqui Cave in Kanab, Utah. There is a small fee to enter the cave itself, but we felt it was worth it since it was our first visit. The cave features dinosaur tracks (which were carried in back in the 60’s when it wasn’t illegal to remove them, ha ha), Indian relics, a large collection of florescent minerals (they glow under UV lighting) and a gift shop where Marcus bought himself dinosaur poop!


As I have mentioned before, half of our homeschooling is through amazing online classes (streamed live) through the fabulous Liahona Preparatory Academy, which is a private LDS-based school in Utah. Well, back in early May, I received a call from Liahona, informing me that Marissa had been selected to receive the Distance Star Award. We kept this award a secret from Marissa until just last night when we presented it to her in an impromptu award and graduation ceremony (which is why she is sporting my Japanese robe and her brother’s Doctor Who fez).


This award was in recognition of Marissa’s community service, leadership and academic success. She received a beautiful trophy and a write-up in the yearbook. Our whole family of six was present for the ceremony. Liahona also gave Marissa a certificate of graduation.


I had also designed and purchased a homeschool diploma for Marissa, which I presented to her as well. She has definitely earned it and she is excited to start at her university this September. She will be studying zoology.


After waving goodbye to Zach, who had to return to his apartment for work today, David and I took an evening drive through the countryside, stopping every so often so I could photograph some of the barns. I love how many barns are in this little town. This one is a favorite and the first barn we see as we turn off the highway whenever we are headed home. More barn pics to come! ♥ This morning I dropped David off at his shuttle for the airport so he could return to the torturous Arizona heat. I do feel guilty leaving him to fend for himself while the kids and I enjoy a temperate Utah summer, but we will see him again around the 24th of July, which is a pioneer holiday here in Utah. AND we have a ton of yard and project work to accomplish here in the next two months. ♥ Thanks for reading!

Weekly Nutshell


The highlights from this past week were…


An early birthday present Marissa and I put together for her cousin who loves to craft- A basket full of fun craft items.

Monday- Spending the day with my brother and his family. They are the only extended family who visit us on a regular basis because my sister-in-law’s family lives “up our way” so when they visit her family, they make time to stop and visit us. This time we hosted an egg hunt for the cousins and then the girls made their fairy gardens while the adults and Marcus played the tile game, Carcassonne, which was so much fun! Check it out if you’ve never heard of it. Now I want to add it to our game collection.

Tuesday- Because it was our neighborhood’s spring break, we invited the children of two families over to play. We hosted another egg hunt, followed by lunch and The Peanuts Movie in our theater room.

Wednesday- Marissa, Marcus and I drove “down” to Pleasant Grove and checked into a hotel. We met up with Zach for pizza.


Marissa’s up-do for prom.

Thursday- I dropped Marissa and Marcus off at their school at 8:30am so they could attend their classes in person (and some extra classes!). These are their online/distance classes that are filmed live. It’s always a treat when they can visit their school. Then in the afternoon, Marissa got her hair done for her prom and we shopped for the perfect jacket to go over her dress (just for fun).

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That night Marissa went to her prom after we took her to eat at Olive Garden. Zach, Marcus and I crashed (not really) around 9pm for the senior promenade to watch her walk down a staircase and be presented with a necklace while her bio was read.

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Friday- We drove back home, with Zach. That evening, Zach and I went to a viewing of a former bishop from our ward. He had passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. I’m so thankful for the gospel in my life, for my Savior’s Resurrection, and the reassurance it gives me that death is not the end.

Saturday- We drove to Salt Lake, this time with Darcie and one of her friends, to see Ballet West perform Beauty and the Beast. Zach was sweet enough to be our chauffeur and spent brother time with Marcus while the girls were at the ballet. Then, we all went out to eat at Iggy’s Sports Grill where I had the most delicious Parmesan crusted tilapia!


Sunday- The kids and I watched the last sessions of General Conference together. Here is one of my favorite quotes. Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, announced four new temples to be built and one of them is a second temple in Lima, Peru (that’s where we lived for 2 years). Currently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 150 operating temples throughout the world!

Weekend Nutshell


“If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.” -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Last Friday, on our way to Fairview, Utah, for the weekend, my oldest son, Zach, phoned us to say he had just been called in to see his still-new neurologist (new to my son, not new as a neurologist) right away. We took a detour to the hospital to meet up with Zach and join him for his second appointment with his neurologist, who confirmed his week-old diagnosis, based on our son’s recent spinal tap results and the results of his earlier MRI and of three rounds of blood work. At the age of 23, Zach has Multiple Sclerosis. That’s the shocking bad news. The good news is that it’s been caught early, treatment has already begun and nothing is wrong with his spine.


My talented cousin, Heather, made this amazing cake! The theme for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party was her travels around the world.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday with a three hour, surprise open house in her honor. It was a success with over 60 of her family, friends and neighbors attending.


Mother and Sons


Me and my lovely daughters

We stayed in Fairview, visiting David’s mom, until Sunday afternoon. Then we drove to Salt Lake, dropped the kids off at another birthday party, this time for my side of the family. Zach and I then dropped my husband off at the airport so he could return to his job in Arizona. Once back at the party, we didn’t stay long as Zach was tired and the kids and I had a two hour drive ahead of us. The kids and I are staying here in Utah for the next four weeks. ♥ Last night, Zach bravely posted about his MS on Facebook. Here is the link to his blog, Yo-yoing With Zed, if you would like to support him by following him.

Weekly Nutshell


Last weekend, we created three more “little boxes of love” to mail out to young cousins, and my daughter in college who asked me, “Don’t I get one, Mom?” 🙂


While Marissa created heart wands, Marcus created new chalk pastel art cards for two of his friends, his big brother and his big sister.


Marissa now has a Wednesday art class at a local art center. It’s during the day and there’s only one other student. So she gets lots of one on one attention. She’s working on her sketching and using the art kit she received for Christmas.


Isn’t this a cool sculpture? It’s just outside our local library.

This week Marcus started a fun science experiment building his own stalactite and stalagmite. I think it’s working! We found this experiment in this fun book.


In case you’re wondering how Marcus’ plant experiment is coming along, the radish plant growing on the right, in a magnetic field, seems to be growing faster and taller than the control on the left. Meanwhile, the marigolds are just starting to poke their way out and seem to be in a tie. Only time will tell!


And that is our week in a nutshell. 🙂

Weekly Nutshell


It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these kind of posts. Honestly, our life at the moment seems a little too mundane. At some point, Marissa will start up some art classes, but she’s thinking of waiting until next month to do that. For now, it’s just their youth activities (through our church) once a week and homeschooling and family time, which has been mostly hanging out at home since some of us are still dealing with coughs. The kids haven’t made friends here yet, which makes me sad. It’s not easy to make friends when you live in a quiet apartment complex and you’re still new to the area. I need to make contact with a homeschool group (I know there are a few out here, but I’ve only had email contact with one group so far and I have to catch them on a once-a-month park day which has yet to happen).

But we did celebrate my baby girl’s birthday and that was fun.

And today, my sweet daughter and I took a scenic walk together.

We also finished reading, Nightmares!, this week. We really liked the story. Marcus and I are still reading, The Mysterious Benedict Society, together and soon Marissa and I will be starting Little Women.

Hope your weekend is pleasant.


Weekly Nutshell


This counts for two weeks worth of highlights in a nutshell. 😉 Marcus spent all of the last (full) week of June at a boy scout camp in Idaho. While he was having all sorts of scouting fun, Marissa-girl spent three days at a stake youth conference held at the University of Utah.


I ended up on the food committee and delivered lunch to Marissa and the rest of the youth and leaders last Wednesday. I brought 300 sandwiches, cookies, chips and bottled water on ice, all packed in the back of my little SUV. Later that afternoon my sunglasses fell into a toilet! So I have bid farewell to those particular sunglasses, ha ha.


Marissa visited the state capital during youth conference.


The grand staircase in the state capital.



Fast forward to this past holiday weekend. On Friday, David took the kids to Cascade Springs while I spent some time with a close friend of mine at Lava Hot Springs. (That’s kind of funny when I think about it!).



On the evening of the 4th, we found a spot to sit and watch the annual cruising parade. We saw a lot of vintage/classic cars.




In case you’re wondering, yes, we did finally start our Around the World in 80 Days geography unit. More on that to come. It was good to have David home this weekend. Now the kids and I need to prepare our house for a major upcoming event! We’re taking care of my sister’s young children for eight days in mid-July. We are going to treat that time like a camp, with themed days and lots of hands-on activities. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my planning post for Happy Hearts’ seventh homeschooling year. I’ve ordered a wonderful music curriculum that I’m really excited about. 🙂