Monday Randomness: Real Life Edition

Hey!  How was your weekend?  It’s been a while since I’ve shared a random update about my family and what we’ve been up to.  I thought, today is the perfect day to do just that.


What we’ve been doing….

We’ve been busy.  I told you all about our Schlitterbahn Kansas City trip and how I got a really bad sunburn.  What I didn’t tell you is 8 days later, I accompanied my kids’ youth group to World’s of Fun/Ocean’s of Fun, also in Kansas City.   June has been full of amusement parks!  While at World’s of Fun, I rode roller coasters that I haven’t even thought about riding in 15-20 years.  I found that I get more sick on them than I did when I was 18.  I also figured out that I must be getting old, as roller coasters aren’t nearly as fun as they used to be.  Go figure…


We just started roofing our house.  In fact, by the time this post gets sent out, I will probably be out on the roof with my husband, getting a couple hours of time in before he goes to work and before the heat takes over.  A hail storm came through a month or two ago and our insurance company is paying for us to replace our roof.  We decided to use part of that roof replacement money to buy a camper, so we are doing the labor ourselves.  We do have one friend we are paying to help us when he can, (he keeps us going in the right direction so we don’t mess up!).  In the mean time, we had to take off the satellite dish AND the internet antenna that picks up our wireless signal.  I’m having to use my iPhone hotspot to blog with…and can’t wait till our home is back to normal in the WIFI department.  :)  The TV I can do without.


We had a fun and restful Father’s Day.  We started the morning at church and then we took my dad and my husband out to Pizza Hut buffet for a fun, family friendly Father’s Day dinner.  Later, we came home and napped for 2 hours.  We ended the day by playing miniature golf at the park and then visiting Ryan’s (my husband’s) dad at his house.  It was a really nice day.  Especially since I beat the whole family at Mini Golf.  That’s a rare thing in this family!  Here’s a picture of my husband, riding a gorilla on the mini golf course, LOL.  He was having a fun time, entertaining the kids and just being all out silly.  Something my kids will always remember their daddy for.  I’m thankful to have him in my life as the father of my kids!


Ryan on the Gorilla


and what we’re planning….


This week, I’m going on an overnight trip to Dallas to visit the Dr. Pepper Snapple Headquarters.  They are paying my travel expenses and I get to go do a Behind the Scenes tour of the facility, do a little taste testing (Did you know that they have over 50 brands of drinks?) as well as help to build a playground as part of their Let’s Play Community Construction Grants.   I’m looking forward to getting away for a short trip, but I’m also a little nervous, as this is the first time I’ve ever been away from Quinnly (15 months) overnight.  She’s still nursing, and although it makes me a bit nervous to make her do without nursing for 2 full days, I’m looking forward to the kid break, too.  I’ll be sharing more pictures about my trip when I get back.


My 17 year old son is leaving us this week for a week of Summer Church camp.  He’s at that age where it’s tough to catch him at home any more, but I’m starting to really miss him and I’m not looking forward to him being gone another week.  (He and his dad were gone for almost a week already this month at a large paintball event.)  Here’s a picture of my son at the paintball event (he’s on the far right).


Baylee at D-Day


I know this is just practice for when he actually leaves home for good, but I’m not sure I’m ready for this stage of life (said in my best whiney mom voice I can muster).


3 of my daughters have been attending Children’s Summer Theater.  I’ve been the Mom’s Taxi Driver all month.  The final production of the play will be this coming weekend, with 3 separate performances that will no doubt be packed out.  They have loved their time in Children’s Summer Theater and while they’re excited to finally get to perform the musical they’ve been preparing for, they’re going to be sad to not have play practice any more.  Me, on the other hand, will be happy to go back to a more normal schedule.  June has been so busy!  Here’s a picture of them at their performance of Peter Pan last year.


Peter Pan Performance



So far, we’re having a fun filled summer, but now that the heat is kicking it up a notch, I have a feeling we’ll be staying indoors a little more and maybe tackling some inside of the house projects before the school year has to begin again.  I hope you’re having a great Summer Break so far!


85 TV Free Summer Activities for Tweens

Does your tween aged child get bored easily during the summer months?  Being a Tween is a tricky age (usually defined as a child between the ages of 9 and 12).  They often want to do grown up things, but younger child things appeal to them, too.  It kind of depends on their mood, and that always seems to be changing.


One of my pet peeves is seeing kids sitting around the house with their noses in a device of some kind all day long throughout the summer.  I don’t mind it for short bits of time, but don’t be trying it all day long.  In an effort to give my Tween aged children some ideas of what to do, I came up with this list of fun things to do throughout the summer months.  Some of them are more girly and some of them are obviously slated toward the boys, but many of them are unisex.  Feel free to pick and choose ideas that will work for YOUR Tween.  Hopefully these will get your kids excited about doing something that’s not on an electronic device for a change!  And do me a favor, if you find something not on this list, leave a comment below so we can add to it.




  1. Start a Book Club (in person or online)
  2. Write a Letter
  3. Explore Nature Around Your House, taking photos and sketching what you see
  4. Take a Babysitting Class
  5. Write a Story or a Poem
  6. Read a Book
  7. Make a Scrapbook of Childhood Pictures
  8. Entertain Your Siblings by Making a “Camp” for them to attend
  9. Go Camping in Your Back Yard
  10. Take a Bubble Bath
  11. Record Your Own Radio Show or Movie
  12. Interview Your Siblings and write a Family Newsletter about your “findings”
  13. Make Jewelry – Paracord Bracelets are pretty easy to learn
  14. Start a Business (mowing?, pet sitting, odd jobs, baby sitting, etc.)
  15. Make Popsicles for your Family
  16. Bake Something for a Friend
  17. Have a Picnic
  18. Play Charades
  19. Wash the Car and Play in the Hose
  20. Have a Tea Party (or a sports party!)
  21. Learn How to Hula Hoop
  22. Host a Scavenger Hunt or better yet, a Video Scavenger Hunt
  23. Decide on Something You’d Like to Improve About Yourself and Do it.
  24. Write a Play (and act it out?)
  25. Play Frisbee (or better yet, play night frisbee using a light up frisbee)
  26. Get a book about Braiding Hair and Learn How to Do Several New Braids.
  27. Shoot a BB Gun in the Back Yard (if you have the space and your community allows it)
  28. Play Catch
  29. Learn How to Make a Killer Paper Airplane
  30. Plant Something (and take care of it as it grows)
  31. Make a Marshmallow Gun (and have fun shooting it at your friends or siblings)
  32. Have a Water Gun Fight
  33. Play Croquet
  34. Go Geo-Caching using a GPS
  35. Take a Hunter’s Safety Course
  36. Build a Lego Masterpiece
  37. Play Dominoes, see how long you can make a domino train
  38. Craft with Duct Tape (Have you tried making a duct tape wallet yet?)
  39. Try Simple Woodworking Projects
  40. Play Board Games
  41. Volunteer Somewhere (church, library, animal shelter, etc. – this may require a parental volunteer as well)
  42. Learn Photography
  43. Learn to Play Guitar
  44. Try Science Experiments (You could use this cool book)
  45. Go Star Gazing
  46. Plan a Hike
  47. Make S’mores Over a Camp Fire
  48. Fly a Kite
  49. Try Wood Burning (with supervision, using this inexpensive wood burning pen)
  50. Go to the Zoo
  51. Make Your Family a Meal
  52. Go Fishing in a Nearby Pond or Stream
  53. Go Swimming
  54. Host a Fashion Show with Your Friends
  55. Get Your Ears Pierced
  56. Paint Your Nails Crazy Summery Colors (offer to paint your friend’s, too)
  57. Bake Cookies in Your Car!
  58. Make Ice Cream
  59. Go Canoeing
  60. Have a Water Balloon Fight
  61. Go Biking on a Trail
  62. Have a Mud Fight (get parent approval first!)
  63. Go Rock Skipping
  64. Go Fossil Hunting
  65. Host a Turtle Race
  66. Run or Walk in a 5k with your Parents
  67. Learn to Sew
  68. Go Garage Saling
  69. Brainstorm Ways to Turn $10 into $20
  70. Make Bouncy Balls
  71. Go Bowling
  72. Go Horseback Riding
  73. Visit a Flea Market
  74. Have a Relay Race with your friends
  75. Make a Sidewalk Chalk Mural
  76. Make a Box Maze (out of appliance boxes you collect from a local store)
  77. Go to the Beach (even if it’s at the lake and not the ocean)
  78. Create a New Food Dish Using 5 Preset Ingredients
  79. Tie Dye T-shirts
  80. Paint a Picture
  81. Design Your Own Clothes (by drawing them)
  82. Write a Summer Bucket List
  83. Feed the Ducks (or the Sea Gulls – ever tried throwing bread in the air to them?)
  84. Visit a Museum
  85. Shoot Air Soft Guns with Friends or Family


I hope this gives you a good starting point!  We really do love summer!  I hope you and your kids will embrace summer with me, get way from the devices and just enjoy being kids for a change!


I’m Sure I Left Something Off.  What Summer Activities Do Your Tween Aged Children Enjoy?

How to Quickly Reduce a Bad Sunburn ++ a Schlitterbahn GIVEAWAY!!

This past weekend, we took the family to Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City, KS.  We had so much fun!  It was the most unique water park I’ve ever been to.  The slides were great, the kids play area had so many slide choices and of course, you can’t leave out the World’s Tallest Water slide as being one of the coolest features in the park!  3 of my 7 kids braved that thing.  I was not among the brave, but I would’ve been if I was still a teenager, I can assure you!  I was standing at the bottom and took this picture looking straight up.


Check out that drop!


Tallest WaterSlide - Schlitterbahn


And when I took this one, I was relaxing in a peaceful cabana while my one year old was napping in the stroller, waiting for 3 of my older kids to get their turn on the slide.


Tallest Waterslide

As you can see from the beautiful blue skies in the above pictures, the weather was perfect!  We had brought sunscreen with us and decided that we’d put it on every hour, as we knew that the sun was really hot and shining directly on us that day.  We had bought SPF 50, so I knew we’d be just fine.  But guess what?  We weren’t just fine.  The kind of lotion I bought did not work on several of us.  It worked on the younger kids, but the older ones, not so much.  I don’t know if we bought a bad batch, or what…but by the time we got home I was in some serious pain.


Here I am with my husband, not knowing how burned to a crisp I was getting…..


Sidetracked Sarah @ Schlitterbahn


You can see how red I am here:


How toQuickly Get Rid


My 15 year old daughter loves Pinterest and started researching things that would make sunburns better.  She decided to start testing if any of them worked and tried several different methods on different parts of her sunburned body.


Here’s a few of the things she tried applying to her sunburn:


  • Milk
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Aloe Vera Gel with Lidocaine
  • Black tea


Me?  I was exhausted and kept going back to the aloe vera gel for the ease of it, but I didn’t get a lot of sleep that first night, as I was still in a lot of pain.


My daughter decided that the milk and apple cider vinegar worked ok, but she found it was similar results as the aloe vera gel, which provides great instant relief but doesn’t really seem to reduce the duration of the sunburn.  What she decided worked the best was the Black Tea.  Everywhere she applied the black tea, the next day, was much less painful!  I kind of thought it was coincidence, so I didn’t jump on the bandwagon right away, but…when my sunburn was still hurting really bad the next day, I decided to give the black tea a try.


I soaked paper towels in tea and draped them across the most painful parts of my sunburn.


Treat sunburn with tea soaked paper towels


I went to sleep and everywhere that the tea had touched didn’t hurt nearly as much.  So then, I started reapplying the tea over and over on everything else that was sore, and that quickly eliminated the pain as well.  I was so thrilled!  Finally, I had relief!  I can now sleep comfortably.  I’m still red, nearly a week later, but no longer in pain.


We had such a great time at the water park that weekend, I’d do it all over again.  I will definitely try different brands of sunscreen and see how well they work, but I have a feeling that I would’ve gotten a sunburn no matter what kind I chose, because this was my first major sun exposure of the season.  It’s always worse the first time, you know.


If you haven’t ever had the chance to visit a Schlitterbahn Water Park, I highly recommend visiting one.  There’s several locations in Texas and then the one in Kansas City.  Each water park has something cool to be famous for.  The one we visited had the world’s tallest water slide and the Midwest’s longest tube ride (which was definitely a favorite for me!).  What I liked the most of all though, was that everything we did, seemed to be unique.  I hadn’t ever been on anything quite like it. I mean, they even let you practice boogie boarding …..


Boogie Bahn at Schlitterbahn


If you’re going to be anywhere near a Schlitterbahn, be sure to visit their site to see if you can schedule a visit.


If you’d like to have a chance at winning 4 tickets to Schlitterbahn Waterpark (any location!), just enter into the giveaway below!


Schlitterbahn Logo
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received free tickets for my family in exchange for telling you how we liked the park.  All opinions are 100% my own.