Tuesday, March 26, 2013


We have had the best week!  Visiting and playing with cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandma and grandpa is the absolute best way to spend a vacation.  We have had such a fun week that attempting to write an update is hard... but I'll try.
Here is the entire clan!  G.J.'s family is on the far left.  Then comes Zane's family.  My parents are in the center, followed by Ben's family.  Of course, last is the best of all the game:  Our family!  :-)

The McCalister McClan reunion took place at my little brother's home in Idaho.  The whole clan gathered on Friday, but my family arrived early (3 days before everyone else.)  Since we came early, we were able to ride horses (Yes, my brother has two horses: Chief and Tug.)  We also played games and got ready for the entire 26 members to arrive.  "Getting ready" meant that Kristi and I bucked hay, and went grocery shopping.  Tons of fun!
 Scott on Chief
 Key Lime Pie on Chief
Kotten Kandy on Chief

When everyone arrived, my brother Zane and his family managed day one's activities.  They began by teaching everyone how to throw a baseball (NOT "like a girl").  Then we had cupcake wars!  We were divided into groups and had to decorate cupcakes according to a set of instructions provided by Tara.  The cupcakes looked AWESOME!  (See photos!)
 Grandma Mil and Grandpa's team made spaghetti cupcakes (with frosting "noodles" and chocolate "meatballs")
 Gary and Mariah's group made candy "veggies"
 Scott and I had the best team (of course!) and we made the cutest monsters with two of our favorite monsters!
Ben and Kristi's group made the cutest fish ever!
 Zane and Tara's group made cupcake apples (YES, those are cupcakes, NOT apples)
Ken and G.J.'s group made the cutest owls ever!  Kotten Kandy LOVES owls and thought these were some of the cutest she'd ever seen!

The following day was church and pictures.  Grandma Mil and Grandpa Mac then celebrated everyone's birthdays (which we do every two years during our get-togethers).  We played games and put together a unique puzzle.  It was a puzzle of putting our family together - with "no missing pieces!"
US!  :-)
G.J.'s family
Zane's family
Ben's family
My Parents!

Monday Ben and his family took charge.  We discussed values and principles that Americans should have and some have "lost/forgotten."  The forgotten ideals are:  georgics, providence, public virtue and liber.  The only ideal that has not been forgotten = freedom.  Then we went to Jump In (an indoor trampoline extravaganza).  The kids had soooooooo much fun jumping for over an hour.  And we finished off the day feasting at Primos (a pizza buffet).  YUM!
 Shnitzel and Kotten Kandy are not only cousins, but great friends!
 Key Lime Pie and Milky Way chill out at Jump Time
 Scott LOVES air hockey - and he beat Ken and Zane...  Ben beat Scott.
 Angel Food Cake sliding
 Kit Kat also loved jumping
 Tuna loved his pizza
 York Peppermint Patty also enjoyed eating at Primos
 Jelly Bean also ate to her hearts content
 My brother, Zane, is the obnoxious guy with his mouth full and his eyes crossed....
 Kotten Kandy was listening intently to the story Aunt Tara was telling....
My daughters and I loved the desert pizzas the best!

Today the adults went to the temple.  We sealed my father to his parents.  It was extremely spiritual and wonderful!  We are sooooo glad we got to celebrate this special moment together.  After the temple, we, the adults, also went to Qdobas for lunch.  When we got home, Scott and I organized games for the entire clan. We played the candy bar game and the paper bag game.  It was funny!  And fun!
 Everyone is hoping to roll a 7 or an 11 or doubles!
 Tootsie Roll thinks that picking up the bag with only your mouth is hard...
 Kiwi Sherbet made sure that his hands or knees didn't touch the ground...
Eggplant thought it was easy...

Our reunion ends tomorrow.  :-(  We will be sad to say goodbye to everyone.  It is wonderful to spend time together and build eternal relationships.  I'm grateful for our forever family!

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I love my new calling!  I love working and being with the young women in our ward (especially my own daughters!)  And I'm excited because our YW president has let me "be in charge" with inspiring the girls to do their Personal Progress.  I really love the Personal Progress program, and have a huge testimony of it's value in our daughters' lives!
So here's what I'm doing.  I made a basket for each value.  The colors coordinate with the values.  Inside each basket is lots of neat things the girls can "earn" when they complete one of their 10 hour projects.
I know this idea isn't original.  But I love it - and the girls seem excited about it.  Now I just need to sit down with each girl and help them realize how "easy" it is to plan and execute these wonderful opportunities.


Our first book club meeting was tonight.  I hosted the event.  It was so fun!  We had eight people (and about five more who want to join next month).  Key Lime Pie and Kotten Kandy also joined the group!  It's a group for ALL ages.  The book I chose was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.  
Of course my refreshments included Mae's flapjacks and bottled spring water, straight from Treegap.  (wink.  wink.)  It was tasty and funny.
For those who have not read this novel, I really recommend it.  It has been one of my favorite books since I was 12 years old.  Why?  Because it deals with the idea of perpetual youth.  Growing old is not an idea that many people look forward to.  Why do we hold youth, beauty, and vitality as more important than age, wisdom and experience?  Tuck Everlasting asks readers to examine the idea of "forever" and think about the role of death in the cycle of life.  It also looks at ideas such as loyalty, friendship, making responsible decisions, and dealing with the results of these decisions.  But it's not all seriousness.  You'll simply enjoy this fun fantasy story and the adventures of its interesting, likable characters.  I still love this book 22 years after reading it the first time!
I love Book Clubs!  Next month we are reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I can't wait!