Family Staycation: The Milner’s Take A Break

Family Staycation: The Milner’s Take A Break

We finally did it. We finally took a break from our whirlwind of craziness over here and took a vacation! A family staycation to be more exact. It was glorious you guys. Glorious!

Joe called me a few weeks ago when he found out there was an army conference at the Arizona Grand Resort he could attend complete with a military ball. He turned it into a big surprise when he revealed he had booked us for the event PLUS a few days after. A chance to get away, get really dressed up, attend a ball, AND have a blast with our kiddos?! Yes please!

We arrived Friday evening after running around Target for an hour trying to upgrade my swimsuit (I know y’all feel me on this one). The first thing to ignite some serious excitement? The elevator! Honestly, the biggest joys in life come from the simplest of things, and the elevator was definitely one of them. Giggles erupted every time we moved a level not to mention the anticipation of pushing the buttons! Needless to say we tried the take the elevator every time.

The children laughing in the closet

Our hotel room was fabulous, however, the best part was the water park! Arizona Grande has a small water park complete with wave pool and lazy river, which we went around approximately 97 times. What makes me laugh is they loved the hot tub the most. Probably because they could take their puddle jumpers off and practice swimming without Joe and I panicking the entire time. We’d have to drag them out after a while to cool down in the other pools.  Between events we’d break and eat a few snacks we literally smuggled  in through the gate like drug lords….or snack lords ($8.50 for a plate of French fries?! I don’t think so).

Ethan swimming in the wave pool during family staycationJoe and the children sitting on hot tub ledge laughing during family staycation

The children and I goofing off on hot tub ledge during family staycationAlisynne sitting in the wave pool at family staycation

Emma swimming in the hot tub at family staycation

Another big bonus the children enjoyed was eating out for breakfast. They almost never get to do that so going to the “pancake store” (IHOP) was a real treat, twice!

Joe and I were able to have an entire evening and morning together during this trip too. We asked our niece Marina to take the children for the night of the banquet and return them in the morning so we could have a little time just the two of us (bonus of a family staycation!). It was amazing. We both dressed up in some of our best stuff and hit the military ball like a couple of pros. It was a fabulous evening full of other military couples having a great time, eating fantastic food, and a lot of goofing off after the ceremony. In the morning we lounged around and went to breakfast when we felt like it. Time off from the crazy was soooooo needed and thoroughly enjoyed by both of us.

Joe and I getting ready for the military ball during family staycation

Marina brought the kids back that afternoon and we continued our water park adventures for the rest of the day. A few extended family members joined us in our debauchery and even managed to smuggle in an entire Jimmy Johns sandwich. Score! Afterwards we hit the town for a little dinner at a great Mexican place just down the road a ways and headed back for our last night.

The evening was full of giggles as the children played a rousing game of I Spy until exhaustion overtook them.

After checking out early the next morning we continued our vacation a little while longer. We filled up at the “pancake store” then hit the mall for a little fun. Joe bought some new sunglasses (Oakley’s) that are fabulous and I pointed out a few Mother’s Day options, you know, just in case. With ideas in our heads and new shades in our bag we surprised the kids with a stop at the movie theatre to see The Power Rangers movie. Ethan was about as happy as he’d been in the hot tub! The girls enjoyed it too, but Ethan was excited the entire time. Emma was done about half way through. Luckily for us there was one other person in the entire theatre so Emma wandered up and down the stairs.

Our little family staycation was just what we needed. We’ve been going a million miles an hour lately and our family needed a little rejuvenation. The Arizona Grand Resort was the perfect place for us. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a family friendly vacation spot. Heck, I highly recommend a little get away all together!

Family Fun Night Friday: Monsters vs Aliens

Family Fun Night Friday: Monsters vs Aliens

My husband had just recently returned from a week training mission with his unit. The kids were so excited to see him when he arrived back home.  So, in celebration of Joe coming home we decided to change things up a bit for our family fun night this week.  We made individual pizzas for dinner! Alisynne loved it and basically made everyone else’s for them.  Emma helped while Ethan wasn’t the slightest bit interested. He just wanted to eat the pizza. We kept things simple. I ran to a local pizza place and bought some dough directly from them so I didn’t have to mess with making my own (breads and dough, for whatever reason, have declared war on me. I cannot seem to ever make them work!). I grabbed a few pizza toppings at the store and voila! Easy peasy pizza. They weren’t half bad either.  While the pizzas were baking we had the kids change into their pajamas so we were ready for our evenings entertainment as soon as they finished eating. As our treat for the evening I fried up the unused bread in some oil and tossed them into a bowl of cinnamon sugar. Everyone loved these! Emma mostly licked all the sugar off, but everyone else happily ate.

For our movie I let the kids pick this week. Alisynne nominated Monsters vs Aliens which quickly received shouts of agreement with the ceremonial jumping on the furniture to further illustrate their unanimous vote. I had a lesson already prepared for them, which I’ll share in just a moment, that didn’t necessarily coincide with the choice of show, but that’s how we roll over here. I decided to go ahead with it anyway. They are 2 1/2 and 4 after all. If I can get them to even listen for more the two minutes, even if nothing sticks, I consider it a win. Our night was a great success! So, here’s the breakdown of our family fun night.

Movie: Monsters vs. Aliens

Monsters vs Aliens

Lesson: Being Thankful. I told the children the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers and how only one said thank you. Alisynne understood the idea and the twins nodded their heads in agreement though I don’t think they quite grasped it. It was adorable nonetheless.  This concept is easy to apply to the movie too.

Treat: Popcorn! And fried cinnamon sugar dough (I’m sure there’s a name for it, but I just can’t think at the moment!)

Family Fun Night Friday: The Secret World of Arrietty

Family Fun Night Friday: The Secret World of Arrietty

Time to switch gears a little and put away the Disney!

For this week’s family fun night we’re going to be changing gears a little.  We’ll be watching a studio ghibli film instead of Disney.  One of the best things I love about a studio ghibli film are the beautiful colors.  Have you ever seen one? They’re fantastic, and the stories are so imaginitive as well as the characters.  Years ago my mother introduced us all to Spirited Away.  It was a crazy, what are we watching, where did you find this, kind of event and we loved it! It is the story about a young girl named Chihiro who finds herself in the midst of a town full of demons, spirits, and evil gods.  She must find a way to bring her parents back (who were turned into pigs for trespassing and eating their food) and face the evil witch Yubaba.  Great stuff, but a little too dark for my little ones at the moment.

We will be watching The Secret World of Arrietty instead!  This story is wonderful!  Have you ever read The Borrowers?  It’s the same premise, but executed beautifully.  A small borrower named Arrietty is always curious about the humans who share the house they live in until she gets too close to the new boy who has just moved in.  Alisynne watched this show about a year and a half ago when she was about 2.  She would sit and stare at the fantastic scenery and be lulled by the soft melodies of the movie.  It’s been a while since she’s seen it and the twins have yet to watch it.  I think it’ll be a hit.  It’s always nice when you can find a show that isn’t crazy and loud for a change.

As for the lessons to be gleaned from this movie, there are several to choose from.  This week we will be focusing on the importance of family.  Why did Heavenly Father give us families?  What is special about Arrietty’s family?  What is special about ours? Etc.  Super easy and a great way for the children to visualize your lessons.  That’s part of why we love movies so much in this household.  So my friends grab the movie, pop your popcorn, and as always, Enjoy!

Lesson:  The Importance of Families

Movie:  The Secret World of Arrietty

Treat:  Snickerdoodles! The girls and I made a batch of these snickerdoodles earlier and they were so delicious!  You’ve gotta try them.

family fun night treat, snickerdoodlesfamily fun night friday; secret world of arrietty

Family Fun Night Friday: Book of Life

Family Fun Night Friday: Book of Life

Family Fun Night Continues

Has it already been a week?  Sheesh!  Plus, it’s now March!  Life is zooming by.  Last family fun night was a great success.  All my kiddos sat happily munching on their Baymax rice krispie treats and watched Big Hero 6.  For next week’s action packed evening we will be enjoying the beautiful colors and wonderful story of The Book of Life.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I suggest you get your buns in gear, plop down on the couch, and enjoy.  It’s a great story about friends, family, and life after we die, all with Mexican flair.  Seriously, it’s really well done and the story is fantastic! The animation may seem a little odd, but it adds to the charm in my opinion.

We will be venturing into the unkown next week with an attempt at making churros!  Wish me luck, cause this could get ugly fast.  My children have never tried churros (gasp! I know!).  I must remedy this tragedy in my shameful neglect of their dessert options.  I think I’ll do a trial run some time before Tuesday night.

Here’s the breakdown for next week’s family fun night.

Lesson: Where do we go after we die? (I know, the subject seems a little heavy, but Alisynne has been asking a lot about this lately)

Movie: The Book of Life

family fun night friday, the book of life

Treat:  Churros.  The recipe I will be using is this one.  If it’s not any good I’ll let you know!churros recipe, family fun night friday

Family Fun Night Friday: Big Hero 6

It’s round one of Family Fun Night Friday! It is my goal to post next week’s event on the Friday before.  That way anyone who wants to join in the fun has a little time to prepare.

What’s on the docket for next week’s family fun night you ask?  Well, my friends, I’ll clue you all in.  It involves a robot, a teen genius, and a group of hilarious science nerds.  That’s right!  Big Hero 6!  We’ve already watched it about 20 times, but it’s still our pick for Tuesday’s family fun night entertainment.  Ethan absolutely loves Baymax.  Who can blame him?  He’s been born into a sea of estrogen, disney princesses, and tea parties.  It’s about time he had a good superhero movie.

I like to pick lessons that go along with the movie.  As the show plays I’ll point out ways the characters are representing our lesson of the week.  For example, Tadashi used his talents to build Baymax, who will help others feel better when they’re feeling yucky. It’s pretty simple and the children will eventually point out things on their own.

Lesson:  How can we use our talents to serve others?

Movie: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6  Treat: Rice Krispies Treats.  If you need the recipe just click here!  We love to add the miniature M&M’s to ours.  For added flare you can shape the treats into ovals and add large chocolate chips (or extra large brown M&M’s) with aBaymax Rice krispie hershey bar for an edible Baymax head! If you’d like to know how click on this link right here! And as always, don’t forget the popcorn!


Family Fun Night Shenanigans: Maleficent

Family Fun Night Shenanigans: Maleficent

We have a tradition in our house called Family Fun Night.  Once a week, usually on Tuesday, we gather together and have a bit of fun. It is usually comprised of a movie, popcorn, and a homemade treat that the  children help me make.  Alisynne will make suggestions all week long on what treats we should make, or what movie she’d like.  The only rule is there are no handheld electronic devices at all.

In preparation for family fun night we try to give our children a little lesson on trying to be Christlike. It’s always very short (small attention spans) and Alisynne is generally the only one who will listen, but we try nonetheless. Maybe as they get older the lessons will be a little more involved, but for now they’re short, sweet, and to the point.

What we have coming up for this week’s family fun night is:

Lesson:  Try to be forgiving when someone hurts your feelings.

Movie:  Maleficent Maleficent

Treat:  Chex Muddy Buddies.  This Recipe is super easy and the kids love  helping with it.  Just click here to snag it!

Muddy Buddies

It’s a simple and fun way to keep the family ties strong.  Come and enjoy with us!

Oh! And don’t forget the popcorn!



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