Friday, August 31, 2012


Happy Birthday Keaton! Twelve years old! He requested an oreo ice cream cake for the actual day, and we scheduled a party (post coming up) for Saturday.  He got a game for the 3DS and some treats and little toys. I haven't been great on birthday presents this year. Here's a link to the updated photo album (with a few added pictures from this last year) featuring cute little Keaton from birth until now (see it HERE). 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Student Council

In the 6th grade, two kids from each class are chosen to participate in Student Council.  It's basically helping gather ICUs and making announcements. There is a leadership conference at BYU later in the year.  The kids can choose to run ~ making a poster, presenting a speech ... then there is a classroom vote. There usually is quite a bit of competition for the two spots.

Landon started the student council tradition in our family. I don't remember if he "ran" for it ... I don't recall him making a poster or requesting any help. Callahan joined up with his friend Ryland, and they made their poster together, and I helped Callahan with his "speech". 

I helped Keaton out a bit more ... actually breaking out the scrapbooking supplies for the first time in forever! We came up with a little theme and made his poster. I thought it turned out cute. Here was his speech ...

  • I’ll start with a joke ... Why did our teacher Mrs. Cluff wear sunglasses to school?  Because her students were so very bright! I know you all are very smart ... so I know when it comes time to vote for student council, you will vote for Keaton! (That’s me) 
  • I am right smack in the middle of my family. I have two older brothers. Both of them were on the student council when they were in 6th grade - so I do know what it’s all about. I have two little brothers here at Columbia, I’ll want to do a good job not only for our class, but for all the students in all the grades.
  • I’ve been on the Honor Roll every quarter ... I know I can keep up with my school work when I HAVE too miss class to fulfill my student council duties.
  • I have served in leadership positions in my church and scout group.
  • I was dwarf #5 in the school play last year ... which made me very understanding ... I hope YOU understand. 
  • I WILL take student council seriously ... but I BET I’ll make you laugh at some point through the year. I’ve got some Laffy Taffy to pass out to make you laugh right now. Remember ... 7 days without laughter makes one weak (one week!) Vote for Keaton, a TON of FUN!

... and CONGRATS to Keaton. He made it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Blackham Birthdays ... Cooper starts us off here for the August/September run. August 28 was a busy day. It was the first day of school for Landon and Callahan, and I went in to the school to help the PTA with some hearing screenings ... while I was there, I heard Cooper's class singing to him. He took some AirHeads  as a birthday treat to share with his class.  I asked Cooper what he wanted for his birthday treat, and he chose Skookie. Yum! As gifts, he received Legos and Pokemon games for the DS (and instruction books to go with them).  I updated his album ... birth to NINE, you can see his transformation HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

School Starts

It's the most wonderful time of the year  ... not Christmas, but Back to School!  We had a fun summer, but I was ready to return to the routine. Whereas Colton only went half-day last year, this year he's in 1st grade! What a cutie!

 Cooper is now in 3rd grade, 
and Keaton is king of the school, in 6th.

Callahan is in his middle year of middle school.
8th Grade.

... and Landon is a JUNIOR ... he didn't have enough fingers, so Callahan helpfully added one to add up to eleven. I was really worried about how we were going to get him TO school this year (as last year's carpool wasn't going to work this year) but it all worked out (more on that later) and that, in addition to Colton being gone the full day, leaves ME with a LOT of open time.

The first day all the kids were gone, Belinda Carlisle's song ran through my mind ... "I think I'm alone now, there doesn't seem to be anyone around ..." I have to admit I LIKE it ...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Wrap Up

With school starting back up, I say that "summer" is over. The long days with kids home all day. What did we do to fill the hours? Actually, it was a pretty laid back summer. The boys seemed pretty content to hang out at home playing with video games and friends. Colton, who is usually in NEED of friends was a little anti-social this summer. He also seemed to have an aversion to water (although we got him in a few times).  Here's my little summary of summer ...
  • SNOWBIRD: This was our "big" (expensive) activity this summer. It got it's own blog post here.
  • JUMP: We had a family month pass to JUMP at the start of summer and did get out several times. We went with the Gunderson Gang and the DiFran Family, and our bouncing buddies Bailey, Jacob and Travis got a month pass and came with us often too.
  • CLASSIC: We hit Classic and the kids had fun on the waterslides (photo below). The DiFran Family kept us company (we were missing Callahan).
  • SWIMMING: We didn't get much swimming in. We didn't hit KOPFC once (although Callahan went for a birthday party) and I neglected to get the little boys in swimming lessons. We did hit Maga's pool a couple of times, and Grandma and Grandpa's pool once. We didn't make it out to any of the local splash pads.
  • BASKETBALL: Callahan got a pass to Gene Fullmer and he spent a LOT of time there playing basketball with his buddies. I'd drop him off in the morning and he would stay for hours. Often I would pick up a carload of boys and take them from the rec center to their basketball practice at a local church. 
  • GAMES: Video games are always popular of course. Pokemon made a BIG comeback this summer. The Wii also got a lot of use ... the Xbox not so much. But it wasn't just video games. Travis introduced the boys to The Great Dalmudi (which they liked so much that Landon requested it for his birthday).  The was also "The Game of Mal" (which I really liked because one of the rules is NO SPEAKING ... all the other games could get really loud!), "SuperFrog" (which reminds me of a game I played with my high school gang) and Rat-A-Tat-Cat also made a big comeback. As always, there was basketball and soccer in the front yard, but Hand Ball was the new favorite. Gray introduced "Dodge Sponge" at a youth activity, and it was also played in our front yard.
  • So ... we didn't get to Lagoon again. July is just really, really HOT.  I signed up for the free bowling certificates, but we didn't make it in there either. The boys all went on their scout camps, Gray and the two older boys hit one final one at the end of summer, but we didn't get out camping as a family. No hikes either (just a few years ago, Gray and I went on a LOT, that was the summer of hikes!)

At Classic

Playing "SuperFrog"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hidden Head

Landon took ceramics last year (gotta get through those "arts" credits somehow) and one of his creations was this HEAD ... it's supposed to be a basketball player, I forget which one. Anyway, for the past several weeks, this HEAD has been making unexpected appearances all over the house.  Open a cupboard ... yikes, there it is! A drawer ... aack! Pull back the blankets on my bed, surprise! Turn on the Ipod ... I have a new screen saver staring back (actually, I pulled that one on Landon ... he took a better picture and pulled it on his brothers).  For the first few times, I let out an obligatory scream each time the HEAD stared back surprising me. The boys? They would laugh and laugh and laugh. Seriously though, Landon would get creative! In the shower! In the car! I put it in his backpack once, but the weight actually gave it away. Right now, I've hidden the head (not to surprise the boys, but just to keep it away from them) ... until I think of a new place to put it to startle one of them!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Columbia Carnival

Every year the elementary school hosts a fund raising carnival. Bouncy houses, games, treats ... Grayson and the older boys were gone to a scout campout, so I packed up my three Columbia kids (and Jacob) and we headed over.

The thing Cooper had been the most excited about, was winning some goldfish. They have this booth often, and it seems to be very popular with the kids (I'm not sure how the parents feel about it).  We haven't had fish for a while,  but we did have a bowl at home, so I gave him the green light. I did try to prep him for the fact that "carnival" fish have a high mortality rate ...

We had purchased "wristbands" which were good for 10 "things" (activities/food) ... the kids really weren't drawn to too many of the games. They did a few, but we were pretty much done and they still had several options left. I had the kids load up on bags of cotton candy to take home ... I should have grabbed a picture, as we had about 10 of them! They didn't last long.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Counting Candles (August/Sept Birthdays)

It was a Blackham Birthday Bash! We gathered together to celebrate four "end of August, beginning of September" birthdays. We went up to Maga's house, went swimming in the community pool, ate a little french dip, then of course had cake! I had picked up the traditional chocolate cake from Sam's Club ... we all really miss the chocolate shavings that used to adorn the sides (now it's just sprinkles). There had been a cake miscommunication (Maga had bought a large sheet cake too), but my boys insisted on eating the one I brought. It's a favorite!  (Just glance through past birthday posts and you will see it over and over and over again!)
Courtney was first up (with the first birthday, August 20) 
... Maga insists on putting ALL the candles on the cake! 

Landon's birthday is actually the last one (Sept.7), but for the ease of the candles, we decided to go in descending order (we probably should have started with Cooper, the smallest number, and added candles. It would have been easier than taking them off). In addition to insisting on having the actual number of candles to represent the birthday number, at Maga's house each individual gets their own candle lighting (17 for Landon) and "Happy Birthday" song (no group singing for the Blackham clan!)  Uncle Clay always adds interesting harmonies to the singing, and interesting poses to the pictures!

 Keaton was up next (August 31) with 12 candles.

... then Cooper (August 28) with nine candles.

I actually brought home Maga's cake, and took it to the Westra-side celebration the next day. There are a lot of other birthdays on this side of the family too (Taylee, Rella, Uncle Chris ... extended cousins Jason, Nikki and Caroline were also there to celebrate) ... we just sang ONE time, did we even get out candles? I can't remember, I don't think so. I neglected to get any pictures, I should have!

... one year older and wiser too, Happy Birthday to you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Break in Basketball

Summer basketball has come to an end ... the final games were on August 4 ... so today, there was NO basketball! A Saturday without basketball? In fact, there is actually a BIG break until Fall starts (almost six weeks!) I guess I'll just have to blog about it to get my fix.

This was a bit of a rough season for Keaton ... he was on his same team as Winter and Spring, although we lost a couple boys, gained True, a friend from school. They had 7 wins, 3 losses ... and Keaton took the losses HARD.  I made muvees of a couple of his games ... Game 1Game 7

Callahan kept busy with two leagues ... his team played at Gene Fullmer, a tougher season than we actually expected. They won all the games but the last one (we were missing Jared, we needed him!). Luis and Stockton took the summer off. Generally I jogged the track during the games, but as this league combined with Taylorsville, I did pull out the video camera when the games were at that location.  Game 5

Callahan's Nitrous team played in the Dimple Dell Summer League. It was a shorter season, just six games, I missed the final game, but got the other five on video ... you can see a recap of that season HERE. It was a challenging league, there were eight teams, and the middle six teams were all really well matched.

So Fall Ball doesn't start until Mid-September. Callahan's teams are probably going to do Dimple Dell again, as well as a Superleague in Murray. Keaton will play at Gene Fullmer again. The high school will hold try outs for the AAU High School Prep League, and both Callahan and Keaton will probably end up on a team for that, so it should be a busy season. But for now?  It's a basketball break.

I was thinking of putting Cooper in Fall Ball, but his anxiety is acting up again ...

*** UPDATE ... Callahan and Keaton ended up trying out for the Copper Hills Youth Basketball teams, and both made the top teams for their grades. So no Gene Fullmer after all (a first for our family) ... of course, then this basketball BREAK ended up being a LOT BIGGER for Callahan, when he broke his food mid-September and was out of commission for the rest of the year!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mountain Mikes & Merry Go Rounds

After the boys came home from their various adventures, we went to Mountain Mikes for some pizza ... yes, even JEN eats the pizza at Mountain Mikes, as long as it is just the white sauce with cheese. The little boys love the cheesy breadsticks, Keaton wants just plain cheese pizza, Gray and the older boys added a little meat (pepperoni and sausage) to theirs. Mountain Mikes also has a few arcade games and the little boys ALWAYS ask "do you have any quarters?" ... Gray picked up a ROLL of quarters! The little boys were very happy with that.

 Gray also added a little Red Bull 

 Just outside of Mountain Mikes, is a Shaved Ice station. 
The boys asked, and Daddy indulged.

 There was a Merry-Go-Round just outside too ... 
and we still had some of those quarters!

 Landon and Callahan and checking to see if there is a weight limit listed ...

... there wasn't, so Callahan jumped on for a ride too!

We're happy to be all together again!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maga, Cousins & Trains

Colton and Cooper were invited to Maga's for a cousin weekend. The boys actually had a birthday party on Friday afternoon (which I had thought was on Saturday), so they left a little later than originally planned. Thank you SO much to Maga for coming and picking them up! They were so excited to go.  Friday night they went swimming, and then back to the house to watch movies and talk all night. In the morning, the kids helped Maga make German pancakes ...

Then it was adventure time, 
Maga and Ana took all the munchkins to a train museum nearby. 

 There was a little track, 
trains the kids could ride on, 
and little carts that they could pedal by hand. 

 Tons of fun for the little ones!
Thanks Maga!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seeing Spots

As Landon and Callahan returned from their various adventures, they both brought back BUMPS! Grayson had called me Friday from Bear Lake, saying Callahan had a rash all over his stomach and back. Little dots that were itching. He still had them on Saturday (when I took this picture, below). Landon's bumps were bigger! They were really odd looking. On his elbow and arm. Some were circular, others were longer strips. He said they itched as well. He couldn't remember getting bitten by anything  or touching any plant ... in fact being the pioneer trek, he'd had long sleeves on, so he'd actually been covered up and protected a bit. His lasted a few days before starting to fade as well.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Time to Trek

During the past couple months, quite a bit of time has been devoted to trek preparation. There was a fireside, multiple lists, forms to be signed, bags ... or rather buckets to be packed, etc. It was eight years ago that Grayson went on our stake trek. He didn't just go on it, but rather was in charge of it, being Stake Young Men's President. He'd also gone on trek almost 30 years ago, when he was a boy of 14 (Gray and I grew up in the same stake, I was 13 at the time and too young for trek, but my brother Chris and my sister Wendy went on the same trek Grayson did at that time). 

Now, it was Landon's turn. He hadn't expressed a word of complaint and actually seemed somewhat excited for the experience. I took him shopping at DI and  found him a couple of shirts and pants that would work. Dad had an old pair of hiking boots ... and the "Stinky Pete" hat that Grayson had worn eight years went on trek again, this time atop Landon's head.

I made asked Landon to write a bit about his experience ... "The last week has been pretty rough, dirty, and tiring.. but still awesome! I've been at Trek for this last week. The first day, we got to meet our families and have a longer day of walking. The second day was probably the toughest for us all, it was so dusty.. We all got very dirty. And we also walked more on that day than the rest. The third day was, by far, the best. It was my favorite, very spiritual. We had the Women's Pull, our solo time, and our family testimony meeting. The final day, we had to pack up, and only had to walk a little bit to where the buses were. It's so nice to be all clean."

If you know me, you know I'm a pedometer person ... Landon has actually taken to wearing one this past summer as well. He also wore it on trek ... these were his numbers
  • Wednesday 23719 total steps (16071 aerobic)
  • Thursday 33468 total steps (22797 aerobic)
  • Friday 25993 total steps (14671 aerobic)
  • Saturday 15000 for the morning ... then the bus ride home
Landon said HIS family was the BEST family ... and that one of the leaders had commented they were also the best LOOKING family *Ü* Everyone received a "link" with straps they could wear as a bracelet. When Landon got home, he converted it into a paracord bracelet (with this family's colors).

... our testimony meeting following trek went over by 30+ minutes! As we were the first meeting of the day, the bishopric finally had to call it, as the next ward was arriving and needed the chapel. It sounded like it was a great experience for the youth ... and adults. As I dropped Landon off on Wednesday I was surprised at how many of the adults (going as Aunts/Uncles, food or medical crews) were from our ward.

I hope to get some additional pictures, I'll update when/if I do ...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Callahan's Camp

Last Monday Callahan left for his week long scout camp at the Bear Lake Aquatic's base. A FB friend had kids working there and let me know the camp actually has a FaceBook page and would post pictures during the week (here). I looked through them, but Callahan managed to stay out of thier camera lens. I do think one of the leaders was taking pictures, so if I get more, I'll update. Grayson went up Thursday to join the group. Callahan had his final rec basketball game on Saturday morning. Gray and Callahan decided to leave a little a little early (heading out late Friday night) so that he would be able to make his game. They pulled in around 1:00 am Saturday morning. Tired boys!

Callahan wrote in his journal about camp ...

  • 0730 (Monday) Went to Bear Lake today. My iPod got some use on the car ride there. I was planning on falling asleep but it was so loud that I couldn’t sleep. We had to go do our cold water checks right when we got there. Then I had Archery. It was boring today. We had to talk about the bow and the string and scoring our points. We finished early so we got to leave early.
  • 0731 (Tuesday) I had the swimming Merit Badge this morning. The first hour we talked about First Aid. Then we had to jump in the water with long pants on and make floatation devices with the pants and shirt. It was really hard but Kaid and I finished before everybody else. Then Small Boat Sailing was boring because we talked about First Aid and Knots. It was really windy so we went in the water. The waves were huge! It was so fun.
  • 0801 (Wednesday) My first class on Environmental Science was today. My teacher is awesome so it was fun and easy. My class was with Sam. The teacher plays basketball for Bingham High School. He was a 9th grader and played 10th grade and 11th grade basketball. Then we had Wilderness Survival later. That class was boringer than En.Science. Then Travis and I went to get some jelly and bread at the Dining Hall.
  • 0802 (Thursday) We had Small Boat Sailing today. It was really easy. We got done an hour and a half early. Then we had Archery which was fun because I rocked! You had to get 160 points with 30 arrows. I got 204 points. You shot 5 arrows at a time and you can get a high score of 50 points at the most. I got 45 points in one round. Then we hiked up a mile up the mountain and had to sleep up there for Wilderness Survival.
  • 0803 (Friday) The hike up seemed like it took 2 hours. We had to get up at 5:30 in the morning. The hike down took like 10 minutes. We made a big breakfast today. It was so good. Then I had Envirn. Science again. It was easy … again. Then we went lunch. We had a 28 inch pizza  and amazing Raspberry shakes. We couldn’t get into the caves for an hour and a half so we didn’t go. Then Dad, Travis and I went home because I had a game on Saturday. We got home at 1 in the morning.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Packed Bags and Empty Beds

This was an interesting week at the Blackham home ... lots of packing people up and off for various adventures. We were close to running out of sleeping bags and duffle bags! Monday, Callahan took off to scout camp, a week at Bear Lake. One empty bed. Wednesday, Landon was off for four days on a pioneer trek. Another empty bed. Thursday morning, Gray went up and joined Callahan at camp. Just me and the three little boys left. Friday, Maga picked up Colton and Cooper and took them to her house for a sleepover. Just me and Keaton, home alone ... I asked him if he wanted to go on a date (out to eat, a movie) but he was content to just relax at home. Saturday ... everyone was back! We're all together again! But I can't remember ever having so many Blackham's off to different locations at the same time before!

I'll try to update the blog with individual posts about everyone's experiences ...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cheesy Breadsticks

If you know me, you know I'm not a pizza eater ... never have been. But cheesy bread? LOVE that! Any place with pizza usually has some sort of yummy bread. If we order from Pizza Hut, you need to get an order of breadsticks with cheese for Mom. Dominos Parmesan Bites? Yes please! We go to Little Caesers fairly often, never getting a pizza, just picking up their Crazy Bread and Italian Cheese Bread. That is, until I started to make my own. Thank you Pinterest! These were the "pins" that got me ...

  1. Pizza Dough/Cheesy Breadsticks (Lauren's Latest)
  2. Cheesy Garlic Sticks (Jam Hands)
  3. Cheese Bread (Joshua Trent)
I've found I can make a bigger batch and freeze the dough just fine. I just need to pull it out and place it in the fridge in the morning if I want to make it that night. I do prefer the ball of mozzarella pulled off into little chunks (as #2 suggests) rather than pre-grated cheese. #1 is more of a "pizza" dough ... I do have a pizza stone for cooking, but I've also used an upsidedown cookie sheet. This one DOES smoke up my kitchen. I'm really surprised I haven't set off the smoke alarm yet. #3 is a little more "bready" ... the recipe calls for powdered milk, but in the comments, people asked if they could just use milk (instead of powdered milk and water) and that's what I did. 

I smother the dough with butter, sprinkle garlic salt, add the cheese ... a lot of cheese. Mozzarella and some Parmesan. Fresh baked cheesy breadsticks right out of the oven. YUM! Thanks Pinterest!

Here is what it looks like before going in the oven 
(recipe #1, with cheese tip from #2)

... I do love cheesy bread

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Mixer

I have a memory of a mixer growing up. The beaters, the stainless steel bowl. I'm not sure when my mother converted to the Kitchenetics machine ... it was not only a mixer, great for cookies and bread making, but it also had a blender and grating attachment. When I got married and set up my own household, I bought one for myself. That was 20 years ago! It's made a lot of cookies, rolls and bread over the years! The blender portion did give out a while back, but we had a backup blender, and hubby bought a high power Blendtec several years ago, so we are covered. 

While making some dough a few days ago ... crack! The center spindle was BROKEN (luckily my pizza dough was done kneading so I could continue on making dinner). I hopped online and checked to see if by chance, a could order a replacement part ... I was in luck! While there have been a lot of changes to the Kitchenetics over the years, I was able to locate what I needed. I ordered it and a couple of days it arrived. I still wasn't SURE it was going to work, so of course I had to try it out (I made snickerdoodles, yum!)

Now I'm sure Grayson would have been fine with me asking for a completely new mixer. I'm sure there are some nice ones out there ... but I'm a tried and true kind of gal. If it still works (or can be made to work, my replacement part was $25 with shipping) I'm quite content to stick with it. Gray is pretty much the opposite (NEW??? It must be better, I want it!) so we balance each other out a bit. If it weren't for him gifting me with new technology, I'd still probably be in the dark ages (I'm sure I'd still have my old video recorder that actually used the big tapes, so big I had to set it on my shoulder) ... once I get used to the new stuff I do usually like it. But for now, I'm quite content with my old mixer, and am happy it's back up and running!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

... we all scream for ICE CREAM

A couple of years ago, we used the ol' ice cream maker several times during the summer. Enough, that I actually invested in a secondary, smaller one (that didn't use ice and salt). Alas, it sat in its box, unused, for that summer and the next. This summer I pulled it out and gave it a try ... and it's been in almost constant use ever since!  Seriously... almost EVERY day!

Of course we've still been using our regular ice cream maker as well ... a couple of times anyway. Once we've gotten used to the convenience of the small ice cream maker, it's a little hard to go back to needing ice and rock salt, of having to soak the bucket, etc. We've used it when we wanted a larger batch (it makes about four times what the little one does) ... and the kids "enjoy" the little challenge of seeing who can keep their foot in the frigid ice water once the bucket has been removed (that's what they are doing in the picture above).  Silly kids!

Another reason I've been willing to make homemade ice cream SO often, is that I've found a couple SUPER yummy, super easy recipes. We're a pretty basic bunch, so it's the basics for the Blackhams ... vanilla and chocolate!

For the vanilla, I tried a custard type (with eggs, cooking the milk), and another (cooking the milk but no eggs) ... they were a bit of a pain to make, and had to be done hours, if not an entire day in advance.  Then I tried the "simple vanilla ice cream" recipe that came in the instruction book of the small mixer ... and that has been our favorite! Just mix and go!

Super Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups Half and Half (or we've tried whole milk instead)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla (we've used Vanilla Bean here too! Yum!)

Simply mix together and pour into the ice cream maker ... 20-30 minutes later, fresh, homemade ice cream!

I thank Pinterest for the recipe for chocolate ...  it tastes almost exactly like a Frosty from Wendys!  Again, it's super yummy and super easy ...

Chocolate Frosty Ice Cream
1 8oz tub Cool Whip (we have tried substituting regular whipping cream, I did whip it first)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 quart Chocolate Milk

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl, then pour into ice cream maker. My small ice cream maker only holds four cups, so this actually makes two batches. I just keep one half in the fridge and make it up in the next day or so. Just a note, IF you have any left-over (which doesn't happen very often) just put it in the freezer ... it does NOT freeze solid, but stays spoonably soft.

After stopping at Arbys one day for their ORANGE CREME SHAKE ... we experimented trying to recreate that too. After an unsuccessful attempt with orange juice, we had a successful version, using the basic recipe for the chocolate above, replacing the chocolate milk with orange cream soda (and a little whole milk to fill as needed) and the boys said it was yummy. That one doesn't tempt me ... which isn't a bad thing.

... we all scream for ICE CREAM!

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