Creating Staycation Memories

staycation

Don’t let money stand in the way of creating precious family memories. Take a staycation this summer! Staycations are a great way to save money while still having fun with the family.


Though the kids will be back in school soon, there is still plenty of time to make summer memories. Family vacations are a great way to connect and make memories that can last a lifetime, but they can be pricey. Having fun as a family is possible at a fraction of the cost by taking staycations — vacation activities close to home that reduce the need for hotel stays and travel costs. Staycations = vacation fun for less money.

Because home is often considered base camp, it may be helpful to set some ground rules as a family to help your staycation feel like a true vacation. Consider the following:

 

Decide on a budget. Deciding ahead of time how much you can afford to spend can help you decide what activities will fit into your summer without creating financial stress or debt.

 

Make a plan. Decide when your staycation is beginning and ending and what activities you will be doing. Aim to incorporate something that will be fun for everyone. No matter what you choose to do, just remember that staycations are about spending time together and making memories.

 

Pretend you aren’t home. Although you may sleep or eat some meals at home, pretend you are not at home. For example, if you were on vacation you probably wouldn’t be doing house chores, going to a friend’s house, or checking work emails, so the same rules should apply to the designated time for your staycation.

 

Unplug. While it can be fun to share pictures and memories with others, set boundaries about electronic use in order to focus on each other rather than the outside world.

 

Keep it simple. While staycations may mean a full day of travel and activity or even staying overnight somewhere, it doesn’t have to. For families with young children, going to a museum or waterpark close to home and then coming home for naptime or nightly routines may make a much more enjoyable vacation than full day adventures.

Staycation ideas are virtually endless and really depend on your location, interests, and budget, but consider these 11 ideas to get you started:

  1. Get beachy at Bear Lake. Relax on the beach, play in the water, make sandcastles, or rent a kayak. While you are in the area, watch a play, go for a bike ride, check out the Minnetonka cave or get a famous raspberry shake.
  2. Go river rafting on the Colorado River, Green River or other river close to home. There are many guided tours available and lunch or admission to other attractions are often included.
  3. Enjoy free tours, museums and parks or activities organized by your local library. For a great listing of ideas see http://www.enjoyutah.org/2011/12/free-utah-events-activities-and-places.html
  4. Turn Salt Lake City into a large scavenger hunt as you complete challenges and solve clues to discover overlooked gems in the city and learn about local history. See http://www.visitsaltlake.com/listings/Amazing-Scavenger-Hunt-Adventure–Salt-Lake-City/62850/ for more information.
  5. Play in Park City for the day. Take a tram to the top of a mountain to enjoy the view and then hike, zip line, or slide down. Check out the Utah Olympic Park freestyle shows and museum or go shopping at the outlets.
  6. Enjoy a tasty day on a Cache Valley food tour https://www.explorelogan.com/food-tour.html. While in Logan, check out some historical sites, go for a hike in Logan Canyon, or visit the Willow Park Zoo.
  7. Plan a year worth of fun with the “Connect Pass” which allows entrance to 13 select attractions including Discovery Gateway, Thanksgiving Point, Hogle Zoo, Clark Planetarium, The Leonardo, Natural History Museum of Utah, museums at Thanksgiving Point and more. See http://www.visitsaltlake.com/things-to-do/connect-pass/ for more information.
  8. Visit Heber Valley to snorkel, swim, or soak in the geothermal spring. While you’re in the area, take a tour of the Heber Valley cheese factory.
  9. Check out reduced price days at local arcades/fun centers or movie theatres. Many have special pricing on attractions for the summer months.
  10. Enjoy local free offerings such as movies, art, science, or music in the park, farmer’s markets, or free days at local attractions. Check out these links for additional information in the Ogden area: http://ogdenamphitheater.com/#, https://scienceintheparks.org/, http://www.webercountyutah.gov/County_Commission/ramp/2018/RAMP%20tax%20summer%202018.pdf
  11. Enjoy the great outdoors. Utah is full of state and national parks, not to mention all of the beautiful canyons, lakes and mountain areas. Go for a hike, a bike ride, have a picnic, and explore what people come from all over the world to see! Check out the free entrance days at the national parks https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm

Staycations are a wonderful tool to connect with each other and strengthen family relationships while playing and creating treasured memories. Wishing you a wonderful summer of family fun and adventures.

-Naomi Brower


Naomi Brower NewNaomi Brower is an Extension Associate Professor in Weber County specializing in helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships. She earned her master’s degree in Family and Human Development from Utah State University and she is a Certified Family Life Educator. She enjoys hiking, traveling (especially anywhere green) and playing with her husband and adorable little boy.  Contact Naomi at naomi.brower@usu.edu or check out videos and other content at relationships.usu.edu.




Fall Bucket List

fall-bucket-list


Cooler temperatures and colorful leaves are on their way. We’re welcoming fall with more than 50 fall things to do around Utah. Pick and choose your favorites to create your own custom fall bucket list. 


The weather is starting to cool off, the leaves are changing and there is so much fun to be had.  Utah is full of great experiences, whether you want to spend time out in the crisp fall air or stay home working on simple projects.  Whatever mood you are, in it is nice to have a list of exciting ideas to choose from, and we have more than 50 suggestions for you to build your own fall bucket list.

Outdoors

  • Drive the Alpine Loop or other local canyons to see the leaves
  • Explore a corn maze
  • Visit the local farmer’s market
  • Go on a hike to see the fall colors
  • Go camping in the colors
  • Go apple, pumpkin, squash, pepper or tomato picking at a local “pick your own” farm
  • Go pick your own pumpkin from a pumpkin patch
  • Practice recreational shooting
  • Go hunting
  • Go Trick-or-Treating
  • Tell scary stories around a campfire
  • Go on a hay ride
  • Join in a family and friend turkey bowl football game

Entertainment

Home

  • Do fall cleaning
  • Decorate the house
  • Host a football watching party
  • Host a Halloween party
  • Gather family for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Rake up and play in the autumn leaves
  • Clean out garden beds to prepare for next year
  • Plant spring bulbs
  • Plant a tree — Autumn is a great time to plant a tree, but be sure to water well if it is a dry autumn.

Food

  • Do a chili cook-off
  • Make apple cider
  • Harvest fall produce and preserve it by freezing, drying or canning (jams, jellies, whole fruit, etc.)
  • Throw a homemade doughnut party – invite friends and family over for fun and doughnuts everyone can enjoy. Try them  baked or fried.
  • Make caramel apples
  • Try a new recipe for Thanksgiving (pie, stuffing, etc.)
  • Throw a party where everyone brings a different kind of pie
  • Host a crock pot party
  • Try a new homemade soup, like  Apple & Butternut Squash Soup (page 7) to help keep you warm as the days get colder.

Crafts

  • Pumpkin carving – A tradition that never gets old. Find your favorite printable template or draw freehand to make your pumpkin carving creation.
  • Decorate/paint pumpkins to look like a favorite book character – Painting and decorating pumpkins is just as fun. They also last longer without wilting.
  • Boo” ding dong ditch the neighbors – Leave a bag of goodies on someone’s front porch and run away – once you have been “boo-ed” you hang an image of a ghost near your front door so others know you have been “boo-ed.”
  • Start a fall gratitude journal
  • Create a new autumn decoration
  • Make a new Halloween costume
  • Sew homemade hand warmers

Books 

This is a way to transport yourself and your little ones into another world of fun, adventure and fantasy. Cuddle up with a blanket and enjoy some of these favorites this autumn.

  • Scary chapter books:
    • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
    • Doll Bones by Holly Black
  • Halloween picture books:
    • Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
    • Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michal Rex
    • Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson
    • Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
    • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
    • The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
    • Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
    • Frankenstein by Rick Walton and Nathan Hale
    • Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson and Samuel Thaler
    • A Very Brave Witch by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss
    • One Witch by Laura Leuck

    • Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margaret Rey
    • Where is Baby’s Pumpkin? by Karen Katz
  • Thanksgiving picture books:
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    • Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
    • The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz
    • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly

 


This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences 




Get Ready, Get Set, Play!

get ready get set play

Take time to play together as a family this summer. Try these tips to make sure everyone has fun.


You’ve probably heard that a family that plays together stays together. It’s true! Here’s a glimpse of what research tells us about why playing together is not only fun, but good for our relationships:

  •      Play teaches us about ourselves and each other.
  •      Play can be therapeutic.
  •      Shared laughter creates a bond.
  •      Humor breaks down walls.
  •      Play can build trust.

 

Since there are so many things you can do this summer, consider a few basic tips when planning to make sure everyone has fun.

Use a calendar. Be sure to schedule the fun in advance or the summer might just unintentionally slip by.

Get everyone involved. Have every family member suggest ideas for activities and take turns choosing what to do. Be open minded and try new things.

Keep it light. Too much competition can create hurt feelings. Try playing a new game that no one has skills for. Play just for fun and don’t keep score.

Get active. Be sure to include outside activities that get you moving so you can enjoy the great outdoors together.

Focus on each other. Set boundaries for electronic use so you can focus on connecting with each other.

Keep it simple. Having fun together doesn’t need to take a lot of planning or money. For a list of fun ideas, click here .


This Article was written by Naomi Brower, Utah State University Extension professor




School’s Out: Expand Your Child’s Possibilities this Summer

School's OutThis summer, take your family out to explore where you live.


We live in a great big world full of cultures, places, and people to see and meet.  Are we taking advantage of all that is around us?  The Multigrade Teacher’s Handbook, published by the United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) organization and other collaborators, states, “Children learn by doing, using their senses, exploring their environment of people, things, places and events.”

The more they experience the more they will understand the world.  As they experience new cultures and foods, they become accustomed to things different than they are used to.  They adjust and become more accepting.

Parents and guardians have an opportunity to lead and guide children to become all they are capable of — to help expand their knowledge by introducing new experiences and to nurture social awareness and open mindedness.  How can this be done?  Consider what is in your neighborhood, local communities and other distant places.

Try these ideas for a kick start to your summer:

  • Go puddle jumping.
  • Read a book as a family.
  • Make “thinking of you” cards for a neighbor.
  • Have a new culture-themed family dinner.
  • Garden and weed together.
  • Find a service project and participate in it.
  • Go through old photo albums and talk about relatives and experiences.
  • Try a new restaurant.
  • Visit local parks, especially those you haven’t been to.
  • Visit your local museums, zoos and art galleries.
  • Plan a road trip and make stops at different landmarks or national sites.
  • Plan a trip to a nursing home; share a talent, provide a manicure or just take time to talk with the residents.
  • Take pictures throughout the day of family members’ activities. Put them into an activities picture journal,
  • Take a trip to the state capitol and explore and discuss what happens there. If possible, take a moment to watch a legislative meeting. (They often have the calendar online.)
  • Attend plays, musicals and concerts. You can go to local school productions or professional events. There are often free concerts in the park during the summer. You can even make your own play at home with the family. Children can take turns performing, or you can get together with neighbors and close friends to allow children and their friends to put on a production for the parents and vice versa.

Children given many different experiences not only learn and grow, but become more competent and capable as well. The children’s book The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin is great to read with children and helps open the door to knowing what they can accomplish. (The following is an excerpt from the book.)

“This is the first time
There’s ever been you,
So I wonder what wonderful things
You will do.
Will you stand up for good
By saving the day?
Or play a song only you
Know how to play?
Will you tell a story
That only you know?
Will you learn what it means
To help things to grow?
Will you learn how to fly
To find the best view?
Or take care of things
Much smaller than you?
I know you’ll be kind and clever and bold.
And the bigger your heart,
The more it will hold…
Then you will discover
All there is to see
And become anybody
That you’d like to be.”

What will you do today to learn something new with your child?


This article was written by KJ Lamplugh, USU Extension FCS Program Assistant, Salt Lake County

References:

Emily Winfield Martin (2015). The Wonderful Things You Will Be. United States: Random House Children’s Books

Teachers Talking about Learning – https://www.unicef.org/teachers/learner/exp.htm

 




How to have Themed Family Mealtime

themed mealtime.jpg


Enjoying a family meal is a great way for families to bond and create lifelong memories, however it is something that some families struggle to do five or more times a week. A themed family meal can get all family members involved and put a spin on an everyday, mundane event. Here are some fun ways to start having family mealtimes or if you already have family mealtimes, change up the routine!

1. Have one night a week dedicated to a theme, i.e. Taco Tuesday, Meatless Monday, Wok Wednesday, Western Wednesdays, etc.

2. Try adding decorations to your meal to really get your family involved. Put a red and white checkered tablecloth on the floor and have your own picnic inside (if weather permits go all out and have a picnic outside).

3. Highlight a holiday each month and have a meal centered around it. For example, cook green foods or traditional Irish cuisine for St. Patrick’s Day.

4. Travel the world by cooking traditional dishes from different countries. Add some fun facts from that country for interesting family table talk!

5. Make it a whole night. Dinner and a movie -have dinner, some movie theater treats, and then watch a movie together. Try tying your movie into your dinner theme, like fried chicken and What About Bob?, or spaghetti with Lady and the Tramp.

6. Your very own chopped! Provide three ingredients to family members and let them come up with a meal for the whole family with other ingredients in the kitchen.

This month try something new with your family. Here are a few recipes to kick start your own St. Patrick’s Day themed dinner— or you could go with the classic corned beef and cabbage!

Irish Stew

  • 2 lbs stewing steak cut into small pieces
  • 8 large potatoes, diced
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef and add to stewing pot or slow cooker along with juices. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, and 4 quarts water (more or less, as desired). Bring to a boil. Add carrots and onions. Simmer on low for 1 to 2 hours until potatoes can be pierced with a fork.

Optional variations: Add 1 to 2 cups of diced celery with carrots and onions. Add 1 to 2 tsp of dried thyme with potatoes. Use beef broth in place of water. If desired, you can add a little flour mixed with water (a roux) to the simmering soup about 20 – 30 minutes before serving to thicken broth, but traditionally, it is a fairly thin soup.

Recipe Source

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup butter, softened
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ Cup butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and softened butter. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf.

3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Colcannon (Irish Potatoes and Cabbage)

  • 6 medium potatoes, washed, peeled (optional) and quartered
  • 2 cups grated cabbage
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 stems of green onion, chopped

Add potatoes to a large pot of boiling, salted water, and cook until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. When the potatoes have cooked 15 minutes, add the cabbage and continue boiling until the potatoes are fork tender. Right before draining the potatoes and cabbage, add the chopped green onion and cook for one minute. Drain the potatoes and mash them. Add the milk and butter. Adjust milk if potatoes are too dry.

Recipe Source

Key Lime Meringue Pie

One baked 9-inch pie crust of your choice

Key Lime Curd:

  • Finely grated zest from 4 limes
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Green food coloring, if desired.

In top of double boiler, whisk lime zest, lime juice, sugar, eggs, egg yolks and salt. Whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter one piece at a time until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring for a brighter green, if desired. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl. Line the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Whip cream to soft peaks and fold into the chilled curd. Pour into completely cooled pie crust.

Meringue:

  • Egg whites from 4 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375° F with the rack positioned about 8-inches from the top of the oven. Beat egg whites for about 5 minutes and gradually add granulated and powdered sugars in a slow and steady stream. Add vanilla and salt. Increase the speed and beat for about 10 minutes or until the meringue becomes very thick.

Spread the meringue over the curd and cover up to the edges of the curd and crust. Swirl and create peaks using a spatula. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating it halfway through the baking time. Meringue peaks should be a beautiful light golden brown with white “valleys”. Completely cool pie on a wire rack before chilling in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Best served the same day it is made.

Recipe Source 


By: Jaqueline Neid-Avila, RDN, CD Extension Nutrition Assistant Professor




The Benefits of Family Volunteering

volunteering

Find out how helping others can help your family!


Service with a Smile

Volunteering as a family can be fun, but it can also be challenging.

Telling the kids that you are going to go work somewhere as a family may not be received with a “Yippee!” However, knowing the benefits may make the scheduling and needed “family pep talk” worth it.

Families that took a volunteering survey reported the benefits of volunteering as a family.

Benefits reported by parents:
• It bonded them to their children and created a team atmosphere.
• The children got along better and recognized that they need each other.
• The children focused on someone other than themselves.

Benefits reported by children:
• They gained appreciation and respect for their parents for how much they care for the community.
• Siblings were seen as role models.
• It made them feel good.

Other benefits of volunteering as a family include:
• The experience of sharing experiences and values.
• Having fun as a family.
• Individuals and families can learn about new resources (education, social support, family services and financial assistance).
• Children gain real-world experiences and learn about careers
• Parent-child bonding can promote healthy development

In addition to the benefits of volunteering together, a study reported that there are also benefits to the individual family members.

Infants
Depending on what the family is volunteering for, opportunities where the baby can tag along can benefit their psychosocial needs. Parents are able to give consistent care and continue building trust.

Toddlers
Who said these little ones couldn’t volunteer? Toddlers can develop sensorimotor skills and language through the different experiences and environments of volunteering.

4-7 Year-olds
Volunteering provides opportunities to look at different choices and develop decision- making skills. Children can help decide where the family will volunteer and/or how to do the project. They can begin learning about responsibility and cause and effect.

8-12 Year-olds
Volunteering as a family provides school-aged children a safe environment for making mistakes, practicing skills and eventually succeeding at different tasks and settings. Children experience encouragement from parents and older siblings. Having flexibility in volunteer activities can be motivating.

Adolescents
It is not a secret that adolescents are working on figuring out their identity, values, beliefs and how to accomplish tasks. Volunteering as a family provides teens with parental examples of values and civic responsibility. They are also exposed to different experiences, learn new skills and gain new perspectives.

Young Adults
Family volunteering for young adults helps to maintain and strengthen family networks. Relationships may even be mended through the experience. Volunteering together helps meet the need to have healthy relationships in their lives through opportunities as simple as talking, learning something new and bonding.

Adults
Volunteering with children provides adults with the opportunity to share their culture, beliefs and values. Volunteering for adults promotes a sense of caring, compassion and empathy. They feed their need to give back by sharing experiences, knowledge and other resources.

Elderly Adults
Volunteering brings meaning and purpose to the life of elderly adults. Volunteering with family helps their mental well-being.


References:
1Littlepage, L., Obergfell, E., & Zanin, G. (2003). Family Volunteering: An exploratory study of the impact on families. Center for Urban Policy and the Environment. Retrieved from: http://policyinstitute.iu.edu/Uploads/ProjectFiles/31_03-C05_Family_Volunteering.pdf

2Lewton, A. R., Nievar, M. A. (2012). Strengthening Families Through Volunteerism: Integrating family volunteerism and family life education. Marriage & Family Review, 48, 7, 689-710. DOI: 10.1080/01494929.2012.700909


This article was written by Zuri Garcia, Extension Assistant Professor, Davis County Extension




20 Holiday Tradition Ideas to Bring Families Together

holiday-traditions-graphicYear to year your kids may forget what gifts they have given and received, but they will always remember the traditions you do together as a family.Try adding one of these activities to your annual holiday traditions.


Family traditions are beliefs and customs that are passed down to our children to be carried on by future generations. Traditions foster closeness between family members, provide family stability and create feelings of belonging. Our values and beliefs are often reinforced through family traditions. Family traditions do not have to be elaborate or expensive. The significance of a tradition is for families to have time to relate and communicate with one another. Spending quality time together helps affirm values, faith and life experiences while celebrating the season.

  1. Watch Christmas shows together with hot chocolate and popcorn.
  2. Make your own Christmas cards to send to family and friends.
  3. Donate clothes or toys to a local shelter.
  4. Make decorating the Christmas tree a family event.
  5. Bake and decorate cookies to take to a neighbor.
  6. Go caroling.
  7. Take a special drive at night to enjoy Christmas lights.
  8. Collect pine cones and use them to make ornaments.
  9. Read one Christmas story each night before bed, or have your children write and act out a Christmas play.
  10. Go sledding, and then enjoy hot cider or hot chocolate at home.
  11. Have a campout night using sleeping bags under your lighted Christmas tree.
  12. Make paper snowflakes to decorate your windows.
  13. Light up your walkway or driveway with handmade luminaries.
  14. Learn how different cultures celebrate Christmas.
  15. Create a calendar so your children can count down the days until Christmas.
  16. Have a Christmas past, present and future evening. Look through old photo albums/scrapbooks to celebrate Christmas past. Discuss what makes Christmas special for each family member to celebrate Christmas present and talk about hopes and dreams for the coming years to celebrate Christmas future.
  17. Make gingerbread people out of brown grocery sacks. These make great gift tags for presents. Glue on googly eyes and candy canes to add dimension to your gingerbread people.  
  18. Make snow globes with old food jars.
  19. Have your children help you prepare a special family recipe that has been passed down through generations.
  20. Have a gift wrapping party.

Family traditions will create lasting memories, so whatever your traditions may be, remember to have fun and enjoy the time you are spending with family.  


This article was written by Shannon Cromwell, M.A., Extension Assistant Professor, Family & Consumer Sciences, Utah State University Extension, Sanpete County, 435-283-3472, shannon.cromwell@usu.edu




Winter Bucket List

winter-bucket-list-graphic

What’s on your list of must-do winter activities? Get some inspiration from our winter bucket list. 


Each season has its own excitement and beauty to enjoy. Here is a list of fun things to do this winter to get you started. These are great for family, friends or date nights!

Outdoors

  • Go sledding.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Drive or walk around to see local Christmas lights at night, visit Holiday Lights at Thanksgiving Point November 21 to December 31 (closed Sundays) or Ogden’s Christmas Village (Saturday after Thanksgiving through January 1).
  • Go caroling.
  • Go for a sleigh ride.
  • Have a fun and safe snowball fight.
  • Try cross country skiing or snowshoeing at such places as  Soldier Hollow, Millcreek, Donut Falls, or a place near you!
  • Go tubing at Soldier Hollow.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding. Local resorts include Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley, Snowbird and more.
  • Visit the Macy’s 2016 Holiday-themed Candy Window Display at City Creek Center November 17 to January 1.
  • Go window shopping at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.  Enjoy shopping, lights, music, entertainment and outdoor firepits to warm you up. From 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays in November and December. The lighting of Riverwoods is November 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Entertainment

  • Go ice skating. The Gallivan Center rink’s opening day is November 13 at 6 p.m.
  • Plan a weekend away at the Snowbird Cliff Lodge and Spa.
  • Visit the Festival of Trees located at the Sandy South Towne Expo Center from November 30 to December 3  from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Have a Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park December 9-23, Monday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Spend Christmas at the Grand America Hotel. They host Santa and Mrs. Claus with photo opportunities.  A great buffet is provided to complete the experience. There are select days throughout December with seating between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit their website to make a reservation.
  • Take a stroll through the Annual Holiday Window display at the Grand America Hotel from November 22 to December 31.
  • Go see the Hogle Zoo lights December 1 to 31 from 5:30 to 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the day.  Closed Christmas Day.
  • Attend the Messiah sing-in with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall on Saturday, November 26, and Sunday, the 27, at 7:30 p.m.   
  • Attend the Nutcracker with Ballet West at the Capitol Theatre on December 2 to 26, times vary.
  • Visit the lights at Temple Square. They are first lit the day after Thanksgiving and stay on through December 31. Free concerts and performances daily at six venues November 25 to December 23.
  • Eve Winter Fest December 29 to 31. Salt Lake City’s three-day celebration with concerts, DJs, grown-up drinks and engaging activities for kids and families. Discover everything that downtown has to offer with one all-access pass. 
  • Watch sporting events  – cheer for your favorite basketball, wrestling, ice hockey or gymnastics teams.
  • Attend a local play.
  • Visit a museum, local landmarks and local art galleries.

Home

  • Play a favorite board game or try a new one.
  • Make warm hot cider or cocoa and watch a holiday movie.
  • Build a fort with all the blankets and pillows you can find in the house.
  • Snuggle up to a fire or a sofa and read a holiday classic with someone.
  • Put together a giant puzzle.
  • Have a gingerbread house construction party where everyone brings their old candy, boxes, glue guns, crackers and more. This is fun for the little ones up to the hard-core construction engineer designers.
  • Make indoor s’mores in the oven. Lay the crackers on a cookie sheet, and then place your desired chocolate on the cracker along with marshmallows. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for  3 to 5 minutes until the marshmallows and chocolate are soft and gooey.  
  • Plan a progressive dinner with your friends when January gets boring. Pick your favorite theme and have everyone prepare a different course.
  • Host a murder mystery dinner.
  • Have a cookie exchange party where everyone brings their favorite cookies to trade, then everyone has a variety to take home.

Books

  • Winter themed books for youth:
    • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
    • The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
    • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
    • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Christmas-themed books for all:
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
    • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
    • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
    • Little Women by Louisa May Alcot

Crafts

  • Make a memory book with pictures taken throughout the year.
  • Make snow paint to paint the snow and add some color to winter.
  • Make someone you love a homemade gift for the season.
  • Create homemade ornaments with your children or friends.
  • Cut out paper snowflakes and decorate the house.
  • Make a holiday wreath for the season.
  • Make your own Valentine’s Day cards and decorations.

Food

Here are some foods to warm you up during those cold winter days.


This article was written by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County, and Kirsten Lamplugh, Utah State University Extension Intern, Salt Lake County




Family Mealtime // Conversation Starters

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Break the silence at the dinner table with these fun conversation starters! 


10 Questions to Get Your Family Talking

Struggling to find something to talk about? Read through these conversation starters at each meal to get the chatter rolling. Create some crazy questions of your own when these run out.

  • If you were in the circus, what circus act would you perform?
  • If you could do anything all day, everyday, what would it be?
  • If you could fly in a hot air balloon over any place in the world, where would you go?
  • If you had to wear a hat everyday, what type of hat would you choose?
  • Share your favorite tradition for each of the four seasons.
  • If you could choose one super power to have, what would you choose?
  • What is a new food you would like to try?
  • Name three famous people you would like to have dinner with.
  • What is your favorite vegetable?
  • What is your favorite outside activity?

 

Did you know?

Children who participate in consistent family mealtimes perform better academically and develop larger vocabularies.


September is National Family Mealtime month. Each Friday this month we’ll be posting on that topic — specifically from the Live Well Utah Cookbook, Family Mealtime Edition. This publication is available for free at your local Extension office, or available digitally here. It features some great tips on the importance of family mealtime and meal planning, plus 21 quick, inexpensive, and nutritious recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 




Summertime Family Fun – Part 2

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In Part 1 of this post, we talked about the importance of family activities and how to ensure their success with ground rules. We also shared five activity ideas. As promised, here are 10 more ideas to get your family out and having fun this summer.


 

10 Summertime Activities for Families

  1. Get sporty. Play basketball, tag, catch, Frisbee, croquet or try something new like pickleball, boccie balls, etc.
  2. Treasure hunt. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are literally millions of geocaches hidden around the world. Use the GPS on your cell phone or GPS unit to find geocaches near your house or wherever you may be traveling this summer. See https://www.geocaching.com/play for more information.
  3. Go global. Attend a travel show or request travel brochures from places you want to visit and then create a poster of fun places to visit someday. Pick one of the places you want to go and do something you might do if you were there (eat gelato, talk with an accent for the afternoon, have a family tea party, etc.)
  4. Join the community. Check out community calendars for free concerts or movies in the park or library.
  5. Get artistic. Get out the colored pencils and paint or get crafty with glue and glitter, beads or any other craft supplies you have. Share your talents in a family art show. For younger kids, finger paint with pudding or play with edible Play Doh.
  6. Eat the fun. Have a fondue party, invent your own new smoothie or pizza flavors, make ice cream sundaes or create other food items where everyone can participate.
  7. Find the “best of” your community. Try out different playgrounds, ice cream shops, swimming pools, etc. (whatever your family enjoys), then rate each one to find the “best” of each category.
  8. Get wet. Spend the day at a local pool, splash pad or water park. Or, play with water in your own backyard. Don’t forget the squirt guns, water balloons and painting the sidewalk with water.
  9. Become a tourist in your own city. Although you probably avoid tourist places in your own community, take a day to pretend you are tourists and go to the places they would go. Dress and act like tourists. Be sure to take pictures.
  10. Learn something new. Providing educational experiences in the summer will help to keep your kids sharp. Have a read-a-thon, go to educational summer programs at the library or start at 4-H club (FREE and easy to use curriculum available at http://utah4h.org/discover/).

 

The Challenge

Take action! Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to brainstorm three ideas that would be fun to do with your family this summer (yes, right now!). Now text, email or write it down and share it with your family in the next 24 hours. Then have them share ideas of their own.

 

Read Summertime Family Fun- Part 1.


This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor, Weber County