Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Catch-Up

Just a few random pictures from July ... it has been HOT! Our a/c has a hard time keeping up. Gray pulled this big fan to help move some of the air from the cooler side of the house to the hotter side of the house. At times I'd just find the kids camped out in front of it.

The Columbia kids had "Back to School Night" over at the elementary. Keaton will be in 6th, Cooper in 3rd, and Colton in 1st. We met the teachers and saw their classrooms. They still have a few more weeks of summer before they have to go back.

We have had some ducks up at the canal at the entrance of our neighborhood like last year. We've only been to feed them once, but they are very used to people and came right up when we stopped by. The boys got them eating right out of their hands.

It's been well over a year since we rearranged the rooms and Keaton moved to the downstairs bedroom. He tried sleeping on the top bunk a time or two, but then I'd find him back upstairs, in the bed with his two little brothers. This went on for a long time. This month, finally, he has actually started sleeping in his own bed! 

That's July ...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Did you know you can read BOOKS on your Ipod? Of course you did! Everyone knows that, right? I knew it too, but I'm a little resistant to trying new things. I kept insisting that I'm just a PHYSICAL girl, I like to hold the book in my hand and turn the pages ... although I had to admit that some hardcovers were quite heavy, and BIG books were difficult to handle especially at the beginning and end, when so many pages were pushed to one side. Of course Gray and the boys were more digitally inclined, but as we'd purchase some digital books here and there, I was not at all impressed with the prices (although the instant gratification was nice, no trip to the store or wait for shipping). I knew the library offered digital downloads, but it looked a little complicated and I just didn't really have the desire to figure it out.

Grayson bought the NOOK when it first came out. It actually didn't take ... it's currently sitting in a drawer, where it has been for a looooong time. This just reinforced my belief that actual physical books are better. It was defective (which happened while still under warranty, but we never got around to taking it in), needs to be charged, now the books purchased on it can't be read, loaned or resold, as you could with actual physical books ...

While the Nook left us unsatisfied, we have Ipods in abundance. We are an APPLE family. We have more Ipod's than we do family members. We have an Ipad (actually, more than one). Landon, when REQUIRED to read, did ask for a digital version that he could read on the Ibooks app. I also knew there were Nook and Kindle apps for the Ipod, but I just never got around to looking into them.

Then, Grayson bought the new Kindle Fire.

I actually haven't played with the Kindle Fire yet ... but for some reason, this inspired me to put the Kindle app on my Ipod. I glanced through Amazon's offerings and downloaded one of the free books. It was really easy. I was currently reading a "real" book, but figured it would be nice to have a digital one on hand if I was out and about. A little later while waiting in line at the DMV I pulled out my Ipod and started reading. I actually got a bit hooked on the book (Into the Shadows) and found myself reading it at home too. I found I really didn't mind viewing it on my tiny screen (although I did try a bit on the Ipad too). I never had to remember my place (it automatically took me to the last page read) and I could even get a dictionary definition on any words I wasn't sure of. I still wasn't sure if I would actually BUY a digital version over a physical one ... but there are so many free offerings out there! So for now, I'm stocking up on a free library. I've been getting a ton of YA and picture books too (check out NoTwiddleTwaddle for a daily list of free kids picture books, and Pixal of Ink for a good spotlight on free Kindle offerings).

Once I had mastered the Kindle App, I looked into the digital services offered by the local library. I downloaded their reader app (Adobe Overdrive) and another avenue of "free" reads has opened up. While I do love having my own personal library, most of the books I'm happy to read and return, not wanting to store them (even digitally) as keepers. The library offers many of the new and popular books, and you can put them on hold, just like you can regular books in the library. (You already knew that too, didn't you!)

I must admit ... I think I'm a digi-girl now! Out of the last 10 books I've read (and yes, I've gotten back into reading, joining GoodReads several months ago and seeing what friends are reading and recommending was a jump start), I think nine were digital! Whereas I wouldn't want to lug a book along "just in case" I had a spare moment, I do usually have my Ipod with me (and now I bring it along a lot more than I did). I love that I can read at night, without a light (so I won't keep hubby awake). It's so freeing, not having to make a trip into the library to pick up or return books.

I know the older boys prefer digital too ... as the latest Rick Rordan book becomes available, do I buy it in digital or physical form? I'm not sure the schools are willing to let the kids have their Ipods out during reading time (are they really reading? Or playing, or texting)...I'm sure this will become an issue in the near future if it isn't already.

... now I just need to make sure I keep my Ipod charged!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Parade Preview

Every year before the Days of '47 Parade on July 24, the floats are featured at South Town Expo center in Sandy. While I'm certainly not one to face the crowds and heat to watch the actual parade, I've really enjoyed checking out the floats in this free, airconditioned environment. This is the third year in a row we've attended. Two years ago (2010), it was just me and Cooper. Last year (2011) it was the entire family although no one but me had wanted to be there (which actually made it not very fun for me either) ... this  year Colton and Cooper agreed to come. We met up with our friends (the DiFran Family).  I laughed a little, as both little boys wanted to bring their gameboys. Marc had his as well! It was rather funny to see them trying to walk, watch and play all at the same time. The games did come in handy as we stood in line for some face painting.

 I thought this train was cute ...

The boys always like the "U" float, 
and it matched Cooper's clothes (and face painting).

... puffy clouds ...

 ... this float just looked yummy *Ü*
Ice cream, cake and candy ... supersized!
The boys said it was their favorite.

 But when the float from Megaplex actually offered popcorn to eat,
it became the favorite.

It was still a bit crowded, but NOTHING like the parade route will be.
It was good enough for me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

a WICKED Anniversary

20 years ago ... wow, that's a long time, and yet it seems like yesterday too. July 22, 1992 Grayson and I got married! Four different homes, five kids, more pounds than I want to mention, many memories later, we're still here. Who would have thunk it (actually, I did ...)

For our big day (celebrated the day before) ... we went to see Wicked.
It was great. 
Then a nice dinner at Ruths Chris.
Here's to many years more ...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Keaton's Camp

Keaton is now 11, and summer scout camp consists of camp Thurs-Saturday, his first official overnighter with the scouts. Our ward has very dwindling numbers for Keaton's age group ... only three boys! Keaton, Quin and Edward (who just recently moved into the ward). Thursday they just went up for the day, getting home around 3:00. Off again Friday, staying until Saturday afternoon. Keaton said he did well in the archery portion, hitting several bullseyes. Here's what else he had to say ...

"I had scout camp last Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday was a day camp. We had flags, rock climbing, archery, maps and compass course, and rifles. The second day we had pool, knots, lashings, nature and, boats. When all of the activities were over, it was free time. We got to do whatever we wanted in the camp until 5:00. We set up our tents and had dinner. For dinner we had steak, and potatos. It was really hot in the night. I couldn’t get to sleep until 11:00! The next morning we had pancakes, eggs, bacon, milk and, chocolate milk. Then it was free time the whole day until 11:00. We skipped the closing ceremony and went home. I was completely exhausted when I got home."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


While the other Blackham boys were getting drenched in a downpour (see the previous post) ... Callahan was safe and sound  dry, playing basketball at Gene Fullmer. He's purchased a month pass for July, and he's certainly been making the most of it! He and his buddies have been going several times a week and playing for hours on end. When I picked him up this day however, he came out with a FAT lip. He had collided with one of his friend's head (the friend's head was fine, I asked). Poor Callahan, it had smashed against his braces, so the inside of his mouth was really torn up too. And Landon kept teasing him about it, in fact when I went to take a picture, Landon said "I don't think your camera is big enough, you need a wide angle lens!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Rain

We've come a LONG way baby! If you're familiar with our family saga with Cooper and his weather phobia, you would know that a picture of him standing in the rain with a smile on his face is a HUGE accomplishment! Actually, he was a little stressed out when the storm hit, and had retreated to his room. As the other kids were in and out of the house, laughing, splashing, dancing in the rain and as the sounds drifted down to the bedroom, Cooper decided to be brave and check it out. I'm still waiting for big thunder and lightening to see how Cooper handles that, but I was very happy to see him venture outside in the rain and splash around.

Don't ask me WHAT Keaton is doing here ... laying in the gutter, forming a human dam as the water came rushing down? The kids were completely drenched, even without laying down in running water.

... and after the rain ... all the wet clothes, taken off and laid to dry on the railing by the stairs ... isn't that what it is for?

We had SUCH a soggy spring last year, and a LOT of summer storms (which I REALLY remember because of the Cooper situation) ... this year, there hasn't been much rain. It's been so hot that this was a very welcome change. We loved it ... even Cooper!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Haircut Housecall

Aunt Olivia cuts hair ... she always offers to cut the boys hair, but the timing doesn't always work out and sometimes I have to make an expensive and time consuming trip to the salon. All the boys were getting a little shaggy, and Landon sent Livi a message saying he needed a trim, and she offered to make a haircut housecall. How nice! I didn't take specific before/after pictures, but if you just look at the photos on the blog before and after, you'll see her good work. Thanks Aunt Olivia! I "paid" her with chocolate chip cookies ... 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pinterest Progression

So I posted a few months ago that I finally got around to investigating Pinterest ... I had purposely ignored it for quite a while. Once I did get on board, I suffered the common "Pinterest Addiction" that comes as you find so many things you didn't know you were looking for. So how's my Pinterest Passion now? I still come on and check daily, although I don't spend AS much time on it as I did. I have tried several of the things I have pinned, so I am actually putting Pinterest to use. One of the first big changes? I now bake my "hard boiled" eggs ...

... I know boiling eggs isn't all that hard, but I can't tell you how many times I would start, then walk away while waiting for the water to boil, and forget about them until someone yells out "water is boiling over on the stove!" ... now I stick them in the oven for 30 minutes and I know exactly when they will be done and I can cook more at a time very easily. Thanks Pinterest!

There have been several new recipes too ... the White Chicken Enchiladas, Wild Rice Casserole, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Cheesy Breadsticks, Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats ... these are just a few now standard recipes in the Blackham kitchen.

Outside the kitchen, I am now using the Homemade Laundry Detergent ... Grayson was skeptical, but I haven't noticed any issues. I haven't converted to homemade detergent for the dishwasher yet, but have introduced LEMISHINE to our washes and that alone has made a world of difference! And while my kids prefer the foaming hand soap, I didn't care for the higher price ... who knew you could make your own? And by "make" your own, it's basically just mixing a tiny bit of the regular soap with water and using it in the foaming dispenser. Seriously, just search "homemade foaming hand soap" and you'll find several blog posts about it.

... yes, in addition to all my food boards, I have a fitness board ... still working on changing up my workout routine. I have boards for gardening, school stuff, party ideas, holiday decor ... and it's a great place to keep all those quotes and funny stuff that floats around, all organized and in one place. Except of course when Pinterest has a case of the "hiccups" and you can't access a pin when you want/need to ... 

If you haven't checked Pinterest out, it IS a lot of fun ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

$5 "free" Slurpees

I should have known better ... I usually avoid "free" days. There are always crowds and complications. But every once in a great while I'll give it a try and hope for a good experience. Not so much.  It was July11, 7-11, so 7-Eleven was offering FREE slurpees (a small 7.11oz size) for the day. I had seen a couple people post about it on Facebook and kept hearing ads on the radio, so I packed up the kids and we made a special trip in and ...

"sorry - out of free slurpee cups"
was posted on the door

... of course they still had slurpee stuff ... they still had plenty of cups if you were willing to PAY for it. After dragging the kids out and promising them a slurpee, I couldn't disappoint them.

Thus, my $5 "free" slurpees ...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cub Cooper

Cooper is a cub scout, and summer means scout camp! Monday and Tuesday, from 8:00 in the morning until about 3:00 in the afternoon. Last year, with Cooper's anxiety issues, camp wouldn't have even been a consideration, but he's come SO far and he was excited to go.

They started the first day with a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Yum! 
Donuts were the breakfast the second day. 

Just LOOK at that messy face! He came home streaked with dirt and sweat both days. Both days he jumped into the shower as soon as he got back, and needed to lay down for a little nap after that (he was SO tired, he said all the boys fell asleep in the car on the ride down the canyon). He enjoyed the adventure and space camp, shooting bb guns and bows. I hope some of the leaders may have taken some pictures at the camp, and I'll update the blog post if they pass any on *Ü*

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Patriotic Potty

As we just celebrated Independence Day, I thought I would share my red, white and blue decor that adorns the main bath at our house. Ok, I admit, I'm not really overly patriotic, but I do think the Americana themed decorations are so cute (and abundant) and should be displayed more than just a month in the summertime.

Happy red, white and blue to you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flags, Floaties and Fireworks

Happy Independence Day!  Gray was on FLAG duty of course ... Cooper went and helped in the morning, and Keaton and Callahan (unwillingly) helped at take down in the early evening. We didn't have a lot on the docket in between, so Grayson decided to take the boys swimming at Maga's community pool. Landon and I stayed home (we both have had minor procedures lately that prevented us from swimming ... that and the 'burb was making a horrible grinding noise, so Gray ended up taking the truck, which only fits five anyway). 

They had the pool to themselves for the first hour or so, 
then it got crowded.

Back at home we pulled out the fireworks. We hadn't purchased any this year, but I had a lot of pop-its and sparklers left over from last year. Gray and Cooper went to one of the firework stands and picked up some parachutes, tanks and even some of the new legal aerials. They were actually pretty impressive!

Of course MOST impressive are our neighbor's fireworks, we have a couple that really put on a show! Grayson wasn't around for any of it though ... he was on an unplanned night hike of Mt. Olympus, looking for Livi, who had gone hiking and was now lost. Poor Grayson didn't get home and in bed until 2:00. Not quite the holiday evening he had planned, but Olivia did get home safe.  We did save a couple of the big fireworks to do with Daddy the next night.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smokey Skies

It's hot, it's dry ... and the skies have been filled with smoke! So many wildfires this season. It seems it is almost always an issue as summer hits. Last year homes were evacuated (some lost) to a fire. This year it seems there are even more. TWO just SouthWest of Herriman. More evacuations (Herriman High School was an evacuation center for one of the two fires). Also down in Sanpete County there was been a lot of destruction. Colorado has been making the news as well ... I can't imagine having 15 minutes to pack up what you can, not knowing if your house will be there for you to come back to. What would you take with you?

Had to update the post with ANOTHER fire in Alpine ...
here's a few pictures circulating Facebook

 ... the view from a friend's front porch ...

 ... a home saved ...

Hopefully the 4th of July fireworks won't start anything NEW ...

Monday, July 2, 2012


We've gone up to Park City and enjoyed the Alpine Slide a few times with the family. The kids had wanted to go back, and this year we decided we'd try the similar offerings at Snowbird. Kolby and Clay's family had gone the previous week and said it was fun. We bought the day pass (even with a $10 off coupon, it was still about as expensive as Lagoon ... and even though it was up in the mountains, it was still HOT). 

We rode the alpine slide, the mountain glider, and took to the tram to the top of the mountain. Cooper wanted to touch snow, and there was a little patch that he and Daddy hiked to. There was also a ropes course (Gray said Colton was pretty nervous on it), rock climbing, bouncing and even a mechanical bull (which was pretty funny to watch). The kids loved seeing the little potguts run across the trail and would point them out every time they saw one.

I'm not sure when/if we'll go back, but it's a fun family memory ... and of course, a MUVEE!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June Wrap-Up

Bye Bye Swing Set
Time for my monthly wrap up of miscellaneous pictures that didn't make their own, individual blog post... starting with the swing set. Many years ago we purchased this nice set for the back yard. We put down plastic and soft-fall under it ... over the years, the weeds proved much more persistent than the plastic, and it was basically a weed patch with the swing set in the middle. It did still get used, occasionally ... but I wondered if we might use the space for something else (backyard basketball, a tramp, I even considered an above ground pool as the boys had LOVED one our neighbors had a couple years ago, but Gray nixed that right off). I simply mentioned to Gray that we could probably be done with the swing set and  FIVE minutes later it was listed on KSL, sold, disassembled and awaiting pickup in the front yard. I was a little sad to see it go ... but the kids probably did play more on it that day (in pieces in the front yard) than they had in the past year *Ü*  Callahan was gone to a scout overnighter and it wasn't until a week or two later that he was putting the lawn mower away and came back scratching his head and asked "didn't we have a swing set in the backyard? It's gone!"

The boys sure cycle through their toys ... I don't know that the gameboys and DS have gotten much action in a while, but they are suddenly "new" again and the little boys are back playing Pokemon a LOT ... the are MY gameboys!

Picture Perfect
At the Father's Day BBQ, I was manning the video, so I handed the camera to Gray and asked him to take a few pictures ... THIS is what I got (and a couple more just like it, just zoomed in a little more). NOT that this surprises me at all, but I WILL put it on the blog!

Callahan Creations
I've been making Sunday Circles (Belgian Waffles) for the longest time as our breakfast before or after church (depending on the schedule).  But for the past few months, Grayson's pancakes have become the new favorite "circle" on Sunday. No mixes for him ... he makes them from scratch. But on Father's Day, we couldn't have him make his OWN breakfast, so Callahan stepped up ... and since then, he has made pancakes (for breakfast, lunch or dinner) many, many times!

Baby Blackham
Clay and Courtney had their baby! Welcome little Sam!
(Courtney's blog post HERE)

Toe Trouble
I had taken Callahan to the podiatrist for some foot issues a couple months ago, and Landon said "Hey, he isn't the only one with a problem!" Landon has had ingrown toenails (but he so rarely complained or anything that it wasn't really at the top of my list). With school out, I took him in and they did the little procedure to fix them and prevent them from coming back. I had it done when I was about Landon's age. While the procedure itself sounded the same, his toes never looked as bad as mine did (I had big black stitches and discoloration and ended up with a staph infection) and they are healing well. The only bummer is no swimming for 2-3 weeks, right here as summer starts!

Scout Splash
And summer starting means scout camps! Grayson went with the Varsity group to Bear Lake. Landon is in the older group, Callahan in the younger group ... I wish they could have gone too. Gray said it was a lot of fun. White water rafting, ropes course, rock climbing, shooting ... and of course the Paracord made a big comeback too!

That's June ... onto July and more SUMMER STUFF ...
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