Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Backyard Camping - Summer Survival Series

I don't know about your family, but my family LOVES camping!  There is just something awesome about loading up all your stuff, finding the perfect camping spot, roasting hot dogs, marshmallows and just enjoying nature.  Sometimes with work and family obligations, it's hard to get out of town to go camping.  If your kids are anything like mine, camping can be as simple as sleeping in a tent.  It's really easy to make backyard camping just as exciting an experience as heading up to the mountains to camp.

The only thing you really need to have a successful backyard camp out is sleeping bags, a tent, and some genuine excitement. :-)  Even the tent is optional!  Nothing like sleeping under the stars!  It also works great if you have a trampoline in your backyard...trampolines are SUPER fun to sleep on, even if everyone wakes up in a pile in the middle. :-)  Josh had the boys help set up the tent to give them a little experience of setting it up.  For our backyard camp out we had a tent (since it was a clear night, we left the rain fly off so the boys could look at the stars), sleeping bags, a battery operated lantern, a few mini flash lights and our favorite stuffed animals.  Another great idea would be to have some glow sticks, glow bracelets/wands to have some muted light through out the night.  

A couple of safety precautions we took were to make sure our lock was on the side gate, just in case.  We also had our Newfie, Tyra right next to the tent.  While she's a big sweetie, she takes care of her boys. :-)  Josh slept in our room, with the window open so he would be able to hear any noises.  I slept in the living room so I would be as close as possible in case anyone needed me. :-)  Of course as soon as the boys fell asleep, they were out for the night!

Now no camping trip is complete without s'mores.  And much to my dismay, we don't have fire pit in our backyard (yet).  So I whipped up some Oven S'mores for the boys to enjoy.  You just need your regular s'mores ingredients, a cookie sheet and your oven.

Set your oven to broil and layer your graham cracker, chocolate, and a marshmallow.  Set them under the broiler and keep a close eye on them.  After a minute or so, the top will start to brown and you will notice that the marshmallow has gotten much bigger.  Once the tops of your marshmallows are lightly browned and are soft, pull them out and top with a second graham cracker.

Voila!  Your oven s'mores are complete and ready to be devoured!  I have to admit, it was nice to not have to worry about a fire, hot roasters and all that.  Clean up was super quick with minimal mess! :-)

Check out these happy faces!  Shortly after they finished up their s'mores they were settled in the tent telling "spooky" stories.  Mainly their stories consisted of Pokemon battles, but hey they were having fun so who am I to judge?!  I love that they got to have a fun experience and feel like they were "on their own" for the night.  Next time, I will have to make sure to remind them that during the summer just because the sun is up doesn't mean it's time to be crazy outside.  By 7:30am, they were bouncing on the trampoline and have a great old time.  I'm not sure the neighbors appreciated it very much, so I had them come inside and eat breakfast before we went back outside to "break camp".

A backyard camp out can be ANYTHING you want it to be.  You can do a full on camping experience, or just set up the tent for bedtime.  It's also a wonderful way to get younger kids used to sleeping in a tent if it's not something they've done before.  What are your favorite backyard camping traditions?  I'd love to hear about them!

Be sure to check out all the other awesome posts for the Summer Survival Series hosted by The Joys Of Boys!  There are so many great ideas that can help beat the summer blues!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Paula's Personal Fitness Challenge - FINAL RESULTS

So at the VERY end of my 8 week challenge I promised you my FINAL results.  I can honestly say committing to 8 weeks was much harder than I though.  It's difficult to see when you lose, then gain, then lose again, then gain again.  But I think taking my measurements made it totally worth it!  So here they are...DRUM ROLL PLEASE...

Week One

Bust:  40"
Waist:  37"
Hips:  43.5"
Right Thigh:  26"
Right Upper Arm:  12"

Week Four

Bust: 38.5"
Waist:  36.5"
Hips: 42.25"
Right Thigh:  25"
Right Upper Arm:  12"

Week Eight

Bust: 37.5"
Waist: 36"
Hips: 41.5"
Right Thigh: 24.5"
Right Upper Arm: 12"

Starting Weight: 167.6
Ending Weight: 164.4

So overall...I lost a total of 7" from my body.  But when I add in my all my other measurements that I was keeping track of, I'm at a total loss of over ELEVEN INCHES!!!  Even though I ended with only a little over a 3lb loss, I must be doing something right to see those inches going away!  I'm trying really hard to focus less on the weight and more on the positive changes in my body.  I still have a long way to go to get to my final goals, but I'm excited to have gotten this jumpstart to share with all of you!  Here's to hoping that I can keep up with losing inches and maybe...just maybe, the scale will catch up too. :-)  I hope you all have enjoyed this little challenge, and I'll be checking in here and there to let you know how I'm doing!  Thanks for following me on this journey!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pioneer Trek Bracelets


Happy Pioneer Day to everyone here in Utah.  Each year on July 24th since 1847 we celebrate the arrival of the first group of Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley.
I hope everyone is enjoying a fun day of parades, rodeos, family, BBQ's and fireworks. I know I am. I've always loved the 24th.  Ever since I was a little girl it has been one of my favorite holidays.
This year especially I'm thinking about the pioneers and all they sacrificed and did for us because I'm preparing to go on "trek" next week.  For anyone who doesn't know what "trek" is, it is a 3-4 day journey that LDS youth do to reenact the struggles and joys of the pioneers crossing the plains.  Most handcart treks involve dressing in pioneer style clothing, packing everything you will need into a 5 gallon bucket, sacrificing worldly comforts (even cell phones) and pulling a handcart for miles rain or shine to experience a small taste of pioneer life. Sounds a little harsh I know, but I'm excited to have this experience.  Everyone I've talked to has enjoyed challenging themselves and growing from the experience. Most everyone comes back loving their time on trek.

To prepare for our adventure we have all been asked to research our family history and come to trek with a name of a family ancestor or pioneer descendent.  To help my young women with this I created these bracelets I call "Trek Bands" to reward them once they do the research and find a name.

We will be getting together the night before trek to write our name, our ancestor name and date of trek on the inside of the bracelet.  The thought behind this is not only to have the name close to us to remind us of them but to also have something to keep and have for the future to look back on our experience and remember the good times and special tie we have with our family that has gone on before us. Family means so much to me and I encourage anyone to research their family history. It is very special to know your history. You will gain a new love for your ancestors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Riverton Housewives Round Up # 121

So it seems that we had a few technical difficulties with the round up last week!  I guess that's what happens when you go on vacation! :-)  So this week we are going to be doing features from the last TWO round ups!  There was just so much great stuff!  Make sure you check them all out and when you link up, try to visit a few other linkers to see what they're sharing! :-)

Welcome to the Riverton Housewives Round Up # 121!
  We want to see it all!  Recipes, crafts, organization, refashioning...whatever you can come up with!
After linking up, please take some time to check out some of the other link and share the love! :-)

We only have a few rules to play at our party!

~You must be a follower of our blog.  (Feel free to follow us on Facebook too!)
~Please pick a couple of your favorites and link up.  Just make sure it's nothing you've linked up with us before!
~Make sure you link back to our blog somewhere in your post or on your blog.  (A text link will be fine, but we do have a great button over there on the right you can use too!)
~Please no giveaways or Etsy shops.
~And we'd love for you to check out a few other linkers to share the love!

If you have been featured, be sure to check out our Pinterest where we have pinned all your awesome creations!
Also as a reminder, if we can't save a photo or link to the URL we can't feature your awesome stuff.

So get to linking up!  We can't wait to see all the amazing stuff you all have to share!

Here is what we LOVED from last Round Up!

Check out this adorable Free Sweet Summer Nights Printable from Before the Clock Strikes Midnight!

The ONLY reason I go to Starbucks is for their bacon and gouda sandwich!  Love Food, Will Share shared this great Copy Cat Bacon & Gouda recipe!

My family LOVES broccoli, so I'm SUPER excited to give this Broccoli Salad recipe from Upstate Ramblings a try!

How cute is the Dollar Store Clipboard Craft from The Crazy Craft Lady?!  I'm pretty sure I'd carry this around everywhere!

This is such a great Positive Self Image printable quote from Designs By Miss Mandee!  Definitely a great reminder to not be so hard on ourselves!

If you're looking for a great way to celebrate summer, check out this delicious Bundt Cake from Simply Kendall Rose!

And our MOST VIEWED...

Comes from Tumbleweed Contessa for this delicious Red, White, and Blue Pavlova!


Inside The Robin's Nest for sharing this adorable outfit she got for a steal!  Check out her Fashion on a Dime post!

Thanks to all of our friends who linked up!  We LOVE getting to see what you share each week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I made these little babies up on a whim when I was in desperate need for a dessert fix.  I had a brownie mix on hand but didn't want just plain old brownies.  I had a few other things in my pantry and figured I'd try something out.  I'm so glad I did because they turned out DELICIOUS!

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
(Recipe and Photos by Paula of The REAL Housewives of Riverton)

1 package brownie mix (or your favorite homemade recipe)
1/2 - 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Prepare brownies as directed, scoop into mini muffin pan.  When brownies are slightly cool, using a tart shaper, spoon, or even your fingers, press a small crater into each brownie.  Scoop a mounded teaspoon on to each brownie.  Add a sprinkling of chocolate chips (I think mine had about 5 or 6 chips each).  In a very small bowl (or cup) add two tablespoons of peanut butter and about 1/8 cup chocolate chips.  Melt together in the microwave, I did it in about 15 second intervals until it stirred smooth.  Using a spoon, or fingers if you're crazy like that, drizzle the peanut butter/chocolate mixture over the brownies.  These were SO good and just one or two were enough to hit the spot!  Enjoy!


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