The dinnertime standoff

Every day around 5:30 p.m., one of my kids inevitably wanders into the kitchen and utters that dreaded four-word phrase: “Mom, what’s for dinner?” I say “dreaded” not because I despise cooking and never meal plan and am constantly winging it for dinner. I actually love to cook — or at least I used to — […]

To dog or not to dog?

When I was 9 years old, my dad took all five of us kids to “look” at some puppies for sale in a small town nearby. Before we left, my mom cautioned my dad: “Don’t come home with a puppy.” We came home with a black lab we named Holly. My mom cried. Holly started […]

Parents should be pessimists

I consider myself a positive parent. I enjoy spending time with my kids — laughing, smiling and playing. I like having their cute friends come to our house to play. I look forward to going places with them, whether it is the amazing new kids’ museum by our house or the low-key local pool. And […]

(Not) such a chore: 5 tips for creating a do-able chore system

My kids are officially out of school and preschool for the summer, and I’m stoked to shed the shackles of the school bell schedule. But I’m also a little apprehensive about the chaos and messes that are an inevitable part of having my kids and their friends flow in and out of the house all […]

Breaking the mold: Why a change will do you good

A few years ago I got a wild hair and decided to certify as a Spinning instructor. Since that time, I’ve taught a few classes a week at our city recreation center, where I get paid to exercise and chat with the cool people that come to my classes. It’s a fantastic gig. As an […]

The truth about being a parent

I dropped my 5-year old daughter off at dance class and had about 35 minutes to kill before I needed to pick her up. Most of the time we go back home, but that day the sun was shining so I decided to take my two boys to the playground across the street. There is […]

Combatting mommy brain drain

Do you ever forget what you’re saying mid-sentence? Do you walk upstairs to accomplish a specific task only to forget what said task is by the time you’ve arrived in the room? Have you ever called your children by the wrong names? Forgot about important deadlines or commitments that you swore you’d remember? Do you […]

Forget about family vacations

We are heading south this week, shunning the fickle spring weather in hopes of a truly warm Spring Break. I’d say we are going on a family vacation, but I learned long ago that using the term vacation when traveling with small children is setting oneself up for disappointment. When I think of a vacation, […]

Playing the right cards at bedtime

Almost every night for the past few weeks, my two oldest kids and I have played a round of UNO right before bedtime. The baby is already asleep and my husband is gone many nights with church meetings, so it’s just the three of us. Luke usually deals, then Millie announces all the wild cards […]

Nap out of it: What to do when naptime ends

A good friend of mine posted a status update on Facebook that had me nodding my head in sympathy. She is the  mother of two kids, and her oldest, a 2- year-old boy, recently gave up his daily nap. “How many days will I attempt to put him down for a nap in vain?” she […]

When mama ain’t happy: 5 keys to a happier home

A few weeks ago, I had one of those days. My husband was sick in bed with the flu. My teething baby spent the day clinging to my legs and biting into my shoulder. My 7-year-old son seemed to have cotton balls stuck in his ears, and my 5-year-old daughter was talking back to everything […]

Yoga pants and opposite armrests equal Valentine’s romance

Right now you’re probably finalizing plans for an ultra-romantic Valentine’s Day with your significant other. Maybe you’ve booked an overnight stay at a cozy mountain resort. A weekend getaway somewhere warm. Perhaps you’ve planned a couples’ day at the spa or an unforgettable candlelight dinner at home. Wait, what’s that? You’re not planning anything elaborate […]

5 ways to make childhood magical

Remember when you were little and your parents used to torture you by dragging you to the hardware store or fabric store? As a kid, I considered errands to anywhere but the toy store the ultimate agony. I’m sure I whined like crazy, and I’d like to officially apologize to my parents for my attitude. […]

How to ignore your parental instincts

When I was a new mom I refused to rock my newborn son to sleep. Before he was born I read a few popular parenting books that asserted that the only way to get a baby to sleep through the night was to put him to sleep when he was awake and let him self-soothe […]

Saying no to New Year’s resolutions in 2014

Confession: I’m one of those annoying people who love to make New Year’s resolutions. I love the clean slate of a new year. I enjoy daydreaming about all of the goals I could accomplish in the next 12 months, then deciding what is actually possible and breaking my goals down into manageable, measurable pieces. Some […]

Friends with real benefits

I called a good friend recently to see how she was doing. One of her kids had been inexplicably ill for a few weeks, and my friend — one of the most dedicated moms I know — had spent most of the past month taking her child to various doctors and specialists. We chatted about […]

Winning over a daddy’s girl

I had just finished making dinner and was rushing to get the food on the table when I noticed my 4-year-old daughter was staring at me with a sad look on her face. When I asked her what was wrong, she got a bit weepy and explained that she had something to tell me but […]

Because I said so: Sorry not sorry

Recently, a neighbor knocked at my door while I was on my hands and knees mopping my floors. (You should know that this is not a weekly occurrence.) After a rushed greeting, the next phrase out of my mouth was an apology for the way I looked. “Sorry, I’m mopping my floors so I haven’t […]

Getting social: Tips for monitoring your teen’s social media use

Don’t “Like” the idea of your teenager using social media? You’re not alone. Many parents are uncomfortable with their children using popular social networking sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. “I know a lot of parents are nervous about this new media landscape, and I am one of those parents,” said Sarah […]

Food for thought: Why we don’t eat out with our kids

For the past seven years, I’ve worked from home as a freelance writer and editor. I have three kids, so I do most of my work in my home office (read: desk in our spare room) in my yoga pants when I should probably be in bed. Occasionally, I get assignments that require me to […]

Tis the season for movies: Family-friendly picks

It may not be what the pilgrims had in mind, but a trip to the movie theater on Thanksgiving Day is as much as a tradition for many families as eating pumpkin pie for dessert.  The holiday season that officially begins on Thanksgiving Day and ends on New Year’s Day is a huge moneymaker for […]

Jack-o-Lantern-of-all-trades: 4 things to do with the inside of a pumpkin

The pumpkin you’re carving to put on your porch is full of tricks and treats. It’s a jack-o-lantern-of-all-trades, so to speak, and it’s time to put those leftover pumpkin guts to good use. Here are four things to do with the inside of a pumpkin: 1. Roast the seeds The most time-consuming part of carving […]

The sick mom’s survival guide

I came down with a cold earlier this week. Sore throat, stuffy nose and killer head congestion. It wasn’t anything diagnosable, but I was uncomfortable enough that pretty much every noise my kids made reverberated in my head. It was the first time in probably a year that I’d been under the weather, and it […]

One size doesn’t fit all: Finding health and beauty at every size

I wish I could lose 10 pounds. If I was a size two, I’d be happy. Someday I’ll fit into my skinny jeans again. If you’re a woman, at least one of these lines likely sounds familiar. At some point in your life, you’ve probably told yourself that you’d be more accepting of your body […]

Because I said so: Raising happy girls

My daughter bounded down the stairs for breakfast this morning, beyond pleased with herself for doing all of her chores without being asked. Less than five minutes later, she was sobbing. The reason? Her brother had two pancakes on his plate and she only had one. I explained that I gave him two because he […]

Under statement: Utah County’s modest clothing brand battles

Nine years ago, Shauna Peterson was working 11-hour days to get her modest undershirt clothing company off the ground. At the time, the Mapleton mother was merely trying to provide an affordable layering option for her tall and then-teenage daughters and other girls and women who wanted to dress modestly. Even though she was one […]

The secret ingredients

Want to know the secret ingredients in Utah Valley’s most sought-after restaurant dishes? If so, join the club. Google “Café Rio pork recipe” and you’ll get dozens of return hits from bloggers claiming they’ve cracked the Café Rio pork code. The same goes for other popular area dishes. On the Internet, you can find dozens […]

Because I said so: Mom’s the word

A few years ago, I returned home from the grocery store and tossed a bag of French fries into my freezer’s broken icemaker. The freezer in my side-by-side fridge is so narrow that I can’t even fit a box of chicken nuggets in it width-wise, so I thought I was pretty smart to utilize the […]

Don’t jump in the lake: 10 ways to enjoy Utah Lake without a boat

Labor Day has past, and with it goes days spent sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and waterskiing on Utah Lake. But you can still enjoy the state’s largest freshwater lake without a boat. Try one of these activities to be at the lake without actually getting in it: 1. Get on your bike There are tons of […]