• Family,  Holidays

    How We Celebrate Valentine’s Day

    When my husband and I first married, we would go to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day like everyone else. Valentine’s Day seems to have only gotten more chaotic as we’ve grown older, and we have changed how our family celebrates this day.

    I remember a Valentine’s Day when we used to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. That year, we made a reservation at a restaurant that we loved, and when we got there, even though we had a reservation, the wait time for us to get in was an hour and a half.

    We decided to go to a different restaurant to see if we could get in any faster. We discovered the restaurant’s wait time was just as long when we arrived. Eventually, we returned to the first restaurant and endured the hour-and-a-half wait. Let’s say that experience was not very fun for either of us. Ever since that Valentine’s Day, we have done things differently in our family.

    These days, if my husband and I decide to go out on a date for Valentine’s Day, which we usually do, we will go out the week before Valentine’s Day so we don’t have to deal with crowds. Instead, we have the most fun involving our children in our celebration on Valentine’s Day.

    We celebrate Valentine’s Day by having a very fancy family dinner. It is one of the only fancy dinners we have the whole year. On Valentine’s Day, my husband will get the girls a single rose and a treat for my son. We set the table in the evening and pull out all the stops. Usually, the girls are in charge of doing this. We have a unique tablecloth we use. We use special plates and have fancy glasses. There are flowers for centerpieces, and we light candles. The girls will make nametags for the place setting. They have so much fun setting the table and making it look like a fancy restaurant.

    We make soup with pasta, a salad, and breadsticks. We also have sparkling cider as our drink. After dinner, we have a nice dessert. We have a good time sitting around our fancy table. The children seem more involved in the conversations and have better manners because they feel different.

    This is a simple tradition, yet it is one of my favorites. I love that it gets the entire family involved. The kids also remember doing it year after year. It teaches the kids that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a holiday of loving your significant other, but it can be about how we love each other as a family. The biggest bonus of all is that the introvert in me gets to stay home and avoid all those crowded restaurants!! Which is a win in my book!

    How do celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you have any fun traditions that you have as a family? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment!

  • Family,  Holidays

    Things Our Kids Love Doing in St. George, Utah

    One of our frequent vacation destinations is St. George, Utah. We took the kids there for spring break this past year. The weather was amazing. We were only there for four days, so we didn’t get to everything you could or would want to do. We could only do a few things, a few of which I wanted to share. Our kids love doing these things whenever we visit St. George, Utah.

    Thunder Junction All Abilities Park

    We don’t go to St. George very often, but when we do, this park is the number one place the kids always request to go to. It is an all-abilities park themed around dinosaurs. Our daughter is really into dinosaurs right now, so she loved all the dinosaurs at the park.

    There are so many things to do at this park to entertain the little tikes and the little older kids. There are three major areas at this park. There are different playgrounds. They have a little section for toddlers and a section for the bigger kids. There are a few zip lines and some fun swings.

    There is a splash pad. It has a waterfall and a little stream the kids can play in. The kids love to play in it. We don’t usually take swimsuits for this. The kids go back and forth between the splash pad and the playground, so we don’t worry about swimsuits. To warn you, the water is very cold at the splash pad.

    My kid’s favorite part of the park is riding the train. It costs a dollar per person to ride, but I feel it is not too expensive. The kids love riding the train. It goes around the entire park. It takes you through rocks and a dinosaur bone tunnel.

    I would plan on spending a couple of hours at this park. Also, make sure that you put on sunscreen.

    Pioneer Park

    We took our kids to Pioneer Park while in St. Geroge. This is where the famous Dixie Rock is located. You can spend hours climbing on all the rocks and exploring different places to climb. There is even a little slot canyon called Little Narrows, after The Narrows in Zion’s National Park, that you can climb up.

    You can climb to the top of Dixie Rock. You have to climb up tiny makeshift stairs on the side of a rock to get to it, but it isn’t too bad. Our six-year-old was able to make it up and down. Pioneer Park is also connected to the Red Hills Desert Gardens. This is a fun place for the kids to explore and learn about all the plants that grow in the area. There is a parking lot for the gardens, or you can walk over from Pioneer Park. Once again, make sure that you wear sunscreen. You also want to make sure you take plenty of water.

    Zion National Park

    One of the days that we were in St. George, we decided to go to Zion National Park. It is about an hour’s drive, but it was worth it. We had to go online the night before and get shuttle reservations to travel within the park. Those were a dollar per person. They go very quickly, so you must ensure you get on and get your ticket right when it says. They sold out in about 4 minutes. If you don’t get a ticket, you can wait in line and get on a shuttle after 2:00. At least these were the rules, as far as I knew, because of COVID-19.

    We only did two hikes before we ran out of time. The first hike we took was the Riverside Walk. This one was very easy for our 6-year-old. Many people were on this hike, so we felt a little rushed on it. Once we got to the top, we could sit and rest. Walking back was a little bit slower. There weren’t as many people going back down. The second hike we went on was to the Lower Emerald Pool. This one, as well, was pretty easy for our 6-year-old. The kids enjoyed trying not to get wet from the waterfall that fell into the pool. You can hike to the Upper Emerald Pool, but at this point, the kids were too tired and wanted to head back.

    We also enjoyed getting ice cream at the lodge in between our hikes. We just sat on the lawn and enjoyed the beautiful view while we ate it. Another fun thing we did before entering the park was driving through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. It is 1.1 miles long. The kids thought this was cool. Just a side note: you do have to wait in line to go through the tunnel. Only one lane of traffic is allowed at one time.

    I know more hikes are kid-friendly. We just ran out of time. You want to ensure you have enough water and snacks in the park. Always wear sunscreen.


    There are so many fun places to eat in St. George. I am only going to share two that we enjoyed. Our family enjoys Mexican food, so we must find a Mexican restaurant whenever we travel. The other type of restaurant we must find on vacation is Vietnamese. We love Pho. If you don’t know what that is, it is a Vietnamese bone broth rice noodle soup with thinly sliced meat, usually beef. Surprisingly, with my kids, it is the one meal that I never hear any complaints about!

    Angelica’s Mexican Grill

    This is a restaurant I enjoyed that I still am thinking about weeks and months later. It was that good! My husband and I ordered the street tacos, which were the best I have ever had. I only ordered one, and I wish I would have ordered more. You stand in line and order your taco or burrito, and then you go over to the salsa bar and get whatever toppings you want for your item. It was so yummy!!! There were only two downsides. The line to order was long. We probably stood in line for 20-25 minutes before placing our order. I am unsure if it was that busy because it was spring break or because of how they took orders because of COVID-19. I didn’t want to stand in line then, but I am glad we stuck it out. It was worth it. The other downside is that they didn’t have chips and salsa. I love chips and salsa. I could eat chips and salsa every day and never get sick. We picked to do a Mexican restaurant because I was craving chips and salsa. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have any. It would have made the meal that much better if we could have had some. Even without the chips and salsa, this restaurant is worth going to.

    Ah’sya Vietnamese Restaurant

    We always like to find a place where we can get Pho. If you have never had Pho, it is something that you need to try. We like to get Beef Pho. It is a bone broth soup with rice noodles and thin slices of beef. It will also have onions in it too. When you order Pho, they will bring a plate with bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos, and limes. You add whatever you want to your Pho. You can add some Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce if you like. We also like to order a side of rice that we can eat with our broth. Our entire family, including our 6-year-old, loves this meal. This restaurant’s Pho is very delicious. The customer service isn’t the greatest, but the food makes up for that. If you want to try something outside the box, this restaurant is for you.

    There are so many fun things to do in St. George that we’ve done before that it would take too long to tell you about all of them. Hopefully, some of these suggestions can help while on your perfectly imperfect vacation. Happy Traveling!

    Let me know if you have any other recommendations on places you and your family love to visit in St. George! I’d love to add them to my list!

  • Rants & Musings

    The Greatest Gift Ever For Hot Cocoa!

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclaimers for more information.

    In the winter, my family absolutely loves to drink hot cocoa. We will drink a cup of hot cocoa almost every day once the weather turns cold. The kids will have a cup when they get home from school, or we will have a cup to warm us up before bed. As you can imagine, making hot cocoa for everyone takes time and effort.

    This year, we discovered the greatest gift ever to make hot cocoa, so we just had to get it. What is it, you might ask? Well, we discovered that a Keuring Coffee Maker can make hot cocoa!

    Our family doesn’t drink coffee, but when we saw that we could do hot cocoa with the coffee maker, we just had to get one! We purchased the Keurig K-Express Essentials Coffee Maker, but you can buy any coffee maker that uses K-Cup pods. Here are a few good options:

    Making hot cocoa with a Keurig Coffee Maker is so simple that even my 9-year-old can use it without problems. When the kids want hot cocoa, all they have to do now is go and grab a K-Cup pod, put it in the coffee maker, and push a button. Hot cocoa in less than a minute! That’s all, that’s it, it is so easy.

    The other great thing is you can get K-Cup pods in almost any hot cocoa flavor you can imagine. We bought several bundles with flavors like mint, caramel, marshmallow, strawberry blonde ice cream, Junior Mint, Charleston Chew, and many more. Trying all the different flavors has been so much fun for the whole family.

    Here are our family’s favorite hot cocoa K-Cup pods:

    My husband’s favorite flavor was, by far, the Crème De Menthe hot cocoa. It is so good! Throughout the family, there were a few flavors that we didn’t like! We didn’t enjoy any marshmallow-flavored hot cocoa or the Tootsie Roll hot cocoa (the worst flavor)! But we’ve had fun trying them all!

    The Keurig coffee maker (as a hot cocoa maker) was a trendy Christmas gift with my extended family this past year. It seems like everyone purchased one, and we all agree that this is the greatest gift for hot cocoa lovers! Especially if you drink hot cocoa like my family! I would highly recommend it.

  • Rants & Musings

    6 Essential Things You Need as a Soccer Mom

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclaimers for more information.

    My daughters love to play soccer, and both of my daughters play competitively. This means we have soccer at least four to five nights a week all year long. Competitive soccer also means they end up traveling to away games, and we have games during the fall, winter, spring, and summer. Along the way, and over the many years I’ve been a soccer mom, these are the six essential things you need as a soccer mom.

    1. High-Quality Folding Chair

    I prefer to sit in a chair rather than on the ground. It is much more comfortable for me to sit in a chair. Chairs these days have come a long way. You can get a rocker chair or a chair with shade cover. There are so many options. My only suggestion is to ensure you get one that lasts more than one season.

    We’ve gone through many chairs over many seasons, but this GCI Rocker Chair (via Amazon.com) has been popular with many parents!

    2. Sports Umbrella (Sport-Brella!)

    My sports umbrella has been a lifesaver. It is simple to take up and put down. It is the perfect umbrella for any weather. There have been so many soccer games where it has been raining. A sports umbrella is the ideal size for you to sit in your chair under it and stay dry. It is also great for those games that are played in the sun. It provides excellent shade for the games where the sun is beating down on you.

    We’ve had many umbrellas, but we like the Sport-Brella (via Amazon.com) most! It can easily be screwed and staked into the ground and has flaps that fold down around you to keep you shaded and dry!

    3. Insulated Stadium Blanket

    Sometimes, the weather is too cold to sit and watch a soccer game. I always like to have a blanket on hand to wrap around me. If you have kids with you at the game, having a blanket for them is always a good idea. I do like the insulated blankets that fold up small. They fit in the car much better if you need more than one.

    We take two to three blankets to every game, but we always have an insulated blanket similar to this waterproof and windproof stadium blanket (via Amazon.com) that works great!

    4. Insulated Water Bottle

    Your soccer player isn’t the only one that needs a water bottle. Having a water bottle is a good idea if the weather is warm. I don’t know what it is, but the kids who aren’t playing are always thirsty at a soccer game. I always try to have water for everyone in my family at the soccer game with me. Even if you don’t drink it, having water on hand is always a good idea.

    Our kids get a new water bottle every year, and they take it and decorate it with stickers and other fun things that let them differentiate it from their teammates. It’s awesome. Our latest water bottles have been the Owala FreeSip Insulated Water Bottle (via Amazon.com). Our kids love them!

    5. Cooling Towel

    This year, our new item is a cooling towel. Sometimes, our soccer games, especially our local tournament games, are played in the hottest month of the year, July. It can get up above a hundred degrees during a match. So we have discovered these cooling towels. All you have to do is wet it with cold water, wring it out, and wrap it around your neck. It can help cool your athletes down when on the bench or when they have a break from playing. I also like to use it for the kids and me sitting on the sidelines.

    We like these cooling towels (via Amazon.com); they come in a four-pack!

    6. Activity Bag (Great For Younger Kids!)

    If you have little ones with you at the soccer game, it can be hard for them to sit and watch that game. I always like to have a backpack I can grab as we leave the house. I like to put activities in it for them to do. I like coloring books, colored pencils, stickers, and activity books. Anything that can keep them entertained. If you have a little activity bag, it is easier for you to watch the game as a parent.

    I hope all these items can help you have a more enjoyable soccer game. If I have missed anything you feel is essential, please give me your suggestions. I would love to hear from you! I’m always looking for ways to make game days better!

  • Holidays,  Rants & Musings

    Halloween Children’s Books That I Love To Read

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclaimers for more information.

    I advocate for teaching kids to read and helping them develop a love for it. I think it is essential for children to read. In my household, one way to excite my children to read is with holiday books, especially Halloween children’s books. Here is a list of my favorite Halloween children’s books that I love to read to my children or that they now love to read to me! We pull these out at the beginning of every Halloween season and read them repeatedly!

    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything Book Cover

    The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything (via Amazon.com)
    by Linda Williams

    This book is entertaining for little kids because they can do actions while you read the book!

    Synopsis: Once upon a time, there was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything! But one autumn night, while walking in the woods, the little old lady heard… clomp, clomp, shake, shake, clap, clap.

    There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat! Book Cover

    There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat! (via Amazon.com)
    By Lucille Colandro

    Who doesn’t love the There Was an Old Lady books? I love this book because, like all the other books, the ending is surprising!

    Synopsis: The Old Lady is back, and this time, she’s swallowing a bat, an owl, a cat, a ghost, a goblin…and more! This Halloween-themed twist on the classic rhyme will delight and entertain all brave readers who dare to read it!

    Dem Bones Book Cover

    Dem Bones (via Amazon.com)
    by Bob Barner

    This book is educational. You read about the different bones in the body. The fun thing is that if you know the song, it is fun to sing this book to your kids!

    Synopsis: Sing with a colorful skeleton band in this exuberant rendition of a traditional, most-loved African-American spiritual passed down by word of mouth for generations.

    Frank was a Monster who wanted to Dance Book Cover

    Frank was a Monster who wanted to Dance (via Amazon.com)
    by Keith Graves

    This book is funny! My kids think it is just hilarious!

    Synopsis: Frank was a monster who wanted to dance. So he put on his hat and shoes made in France, opened a jar, and put ants in his pants!

    Bedtime at the SWAMP Book Cover

    Bedtime at the SWAMP (via Amazon.com)
    by Kristyn Crow

    This book has a part the kids love chanting with you as you read! There is also a fun new friend at the end!

    Synopsis: It’s bedtime at the swamp—except somebody’s not ready. Somebody’s still splashing in the water and the mud.

    Shivery Shades of HALLOWEEN Book Cover

    Shivery Shades of HALLOWEEN (via Amazon.com)
    by Mary McKenna Siddals

    This book has a lot of fun rhyming words as you read about Halloween’s different colors!

    Synopsis: What color is Halloween? It’s as green as an “eerie glow, evil grin, vile brew, clammy skin,” and as white as “cobwebs clinging, a misty trail, a skull, a spook, a face gone pale . . .”

    Miss Fiona's Stupendous Pumpkin Pies Book Cover

    Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pies (via Amazon.com)
    by Mark Kimball Moulton

    I always love to read books with witches. This witch is 400 years old and makes pies for all the kids in the neighborhood. There is a surprise at the end about how she serves it!

    Synopsis: At Halloween, all the neighborhood children look forward to eating the delicious pumpkin pies made by Fiona, an old woman who reminds them of a witch.

    The Skeleton in the Closet Book Cover

    The Skeleton in the Closet (via Amazon.com)
    by Alice Schertle

    This book is my favorite Halloween book of all time. We have two copies! I have read it to my kids so many times that I have memorized it. The kids repeatedly ask me to read this book; they love it so much! The Skeleton in the Closet is an adorable book.

    Synopsis: Bam! Bam! Bam! A skeleton’s knocking at the door. Creak… creak… creak… Now he’s going up the steps — but this skeleton isn’t looking for what you’d expect. Snickers and shivers await readers in this wickedly funny rhyming story that will surely tickle funny bones.

    Every year, I find new Halloween books that I love. For now, this is my list of favorite Halloween books to read with my children. I hope you and your family enjoy these books as much as we have over the years! Until next time, happy reading!