Mama Nessa Summer Camp

October 5th, 2015 in About Me, Parties

Shae calls me Mama Nessa because I guess she has a few mothers and I am one of them?? Who knows. We had one, just one small & cheap summer vacation planned as a family and it fell through. Tyler had the chance to go to Oman for work and he took it. And I did not want to take a bunch of little kids camping alone. We even bought a tent as a family, spend good time looking and them and good money buying one. One day we will have time to go camping! I knew my girls were going to be pretty bummed so I decided to soften the blow with setting up the house inside and preparing a “Mama Nessa Camp!”

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It ended up being SO fun that I am going to do this every single year. I taught them camp songs every year and they thought it was the coolest thing ever. I sent up the tent with a projector inside for movies and fake stars on the outside.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 10.12.23 PMMaking campfires in the backyard and teaching them how to make “camping food” was another favorite thing. I picked crafts to do that they have never done before, tie dye and also soap making.

We had so much fun:

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We had just one casualty….I tried to make a dutch oven dessert for the first time. I burned the heck out of it!

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Summer of Go Go Go

October 4th, 2015 in About Me, Love of Local in Utah

Summer is full of so many experiences for my girls. Experiences that I care a lot about because they are homeschooled. I have found that at a summer camp the learning on a certain subject is much more intense and detailed than when they would focus on a subject in school. These museums have top notch educators, supplies, data, displays, etc. And they have MONEY to put towards things! When my girls come away from a week’s worth of physics I am in awe of what they have learned and the information they retain. I wish that classes and camps like this were held all year long. So in the summer, we sign up for a lot of these intense weeks of learning. So our summers are busy, but very fun and enriching.

This is what the girls got to attend this past summer…

#1 Theater Camp at Utah’s Children Theatre

As I’m typing this I am remembering that we need to go to one of their productions soon! It is a theatre that sits about 100 and puts on the best plays that the kids can have a blast at. For summer camp Abby, Cameron, and Shae were in a superhero & villan camp. Then Abby & Cameron did a musical camp later on in the day.

Can you tell which superheros or villans my girls were? We have an abominable snow monster, a wonder woman, and a super girl. It was fun to watch their little play at the end of the week. When the older girls gave their musical presentation it was too fun to hear them sing Yellow submarine and a few other classic songs. Video for grandparents here.

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#2 Natural History Museum of Utah & Bad Dog Arts Camp

The Natural History Museum I can honestly say is our favorite place to go in Utah. We have a family pass here and visit it quite a bit. When I drive up the hill and park our car it has a homey feel to us. A little bit like when you drive up to your Grandma’s house after being away for awhile. My girls have been going to camps here for a long time, when they were in their old building even! I am indebted to this museum because it has helped my girls grow such a strong love of science. As the girls grow older the camp options are more partnered camps with other local places. The one that worked for our summer was partnered with Bad Dog Arts which I had never taken the girls to. I was a little worried they would do the same art projects that they have younger kids do that they have done so many times. I was so impressed after each day and I asked them what they were working on. So many different techniques, supplies, paper, etc. We will definitely go there again and again.

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#3 Peterson Farm Camp & Puddle Jumpers

Peterson Farm is a farm about 5 minutes from us that is a favorite place that I wish we could spend more time at! They hold fun family nights, have a great shop to pick up fresh produce, and have food trucks every week there. Abby & Cameron did a fun camp that included farming, weeding, cooking, taking care of animals, and cleaning. It is HARD work but fun, I don’t get complaints at all but they sure are tired at the end of the day.

Puddle Jumpers is a place where my girls have only spent probably a total of 10 hours in their life but they talk about it nonstop. When you feel loved, have a blast, and are in a safe & warm environment, you remember! They had such a fun time at their summer camp there this year.

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#4 University of Utah Preschool Cooking Camp & Club U Space Camp

Ok check out these pictures of Shae, she was in heaven was she not? She is my daughter who asks for baking things for presents and talks about baking non stop. How perfect was it that this lined up for her to go to? They made so many things every day and at the end of the week had the cutest little cookbook. Boy just wait till this girl gets older, I will be signing her up for the coolest cooking classes. This is just the beginning!

These Club U camps are very team summer camp style. You get on buses, go to new locations, have to work as a team, and one of my girls has a hard time. When she goes to these camps they can be hard for her but I know they help her grow. I know that she has to overcome some of her hang ups to participate which is why I send her back every year. This year they got to swim, go the Clark planetarium, AND dissect A COW’S EYE!


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#5 Leonardo Science in the Kitchen

This is another place in Utah that feels like home to us. Boy do I love this place, so much learning and creativity going on in here. My girls did a science in the kitchen week that I need to give them more money for. I need to give them more money because they got my daughter who won’t eat anything to eat salsa, guacamole, and mashed potatoes. Once she understood the science behind them, cooked them, and worked hard on the items she LOVED to eat them. It was cracking me up, I owe them more money.

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#6 JoAnns Craft Classes

I have always wanted to try the JoAnns classes for my girls. Let me say signing up for these was painful for myself and the poor woman who had to do it. They really need to streamline their process. My girls signed up for a crochet class, a cupcake decorating class, and a friendship bracelet class. I’m not sure if I will do these again. The supply list for the classes is quite long and cost a lot to buy all the things. I would rather them up the class fee to cover supplies. It was fun to watch them practice the new things they had learned at home. Cameron got really into the hand crocheting and the younger ones were taught how to do friendship bracelets as well.

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#8 Utah Dance Artists Tap Classes

Utah Dance Artists is where my girls have done dance for…well a long time! All four of my girls take dance here and there is a reason why I invest so much time and money into them and this studio. The studio is very organized, out of probably having 12-18 teachers we have never had a sub par one, they are kind to the girls, but make the girls work hard. The end of year recital is gorgeous and my girls have a blast and learn and grow.

I’ve never done a summer class though because we do need time off from dance in the summer! But for Abby to get into a higher level of tap she needed to do a summer class. When Abby & Cameron did a classroom routine for the parents at the end of the week I became a fan of summer classes. I don’t know how they learned so many types of tap in one month! Actually just about 3 weeks. The teacher had them practice at home and we did it wherever we were to get it in. They really grew a lot in tap. Video for grandmas here.

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We also went on a few field trips, had a lot of visitors, AND I threw a “Mom Camp” for them that I decided will be an annual tradition. I’ll post about all of that in our next post. It was such a fun and fulfilling summer. My girls are so lucky to have all of these opportunities to meet new people and learn new things.

Seattle Trip Part 3

October 1st, 2015 in About Me, Our Travels Worldwide

The rest of our Seattle trip was us walking around to get food. Really, that is the only other thing we did. I had a long list of places I wanted to try and we did it! We also did a lot of wandering around the city, which is just so fun to me.

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Food List:

#1 Lola’s for Breakfast. The donuts made in a bag is something I saw featured on Food Network before I had kids and I’ve been wanting to try those for awhile. All their other items are…wow…this is a must go to place.

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#2 Le Panier for pastries. My girls are really into macaroons, which is funny because they aren’t something that Tyler or I love. I thought I had had good macaroons before but after trying these. I now know I hadn’t had the real thing. Wow were these beyond wonderful.

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#3 Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice cream, dangit why does ice cream have to be so good? This ice cream was…man why don’t we have good ice cream in Utah.


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#4 Cupcake Royale is the place to go when you are really sick of cupcakes. These are CREATIONS that are well cooked, well balanced, and fabulous. This little cakes, these cupcakes, are marvelous.

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#5 If your kids love a certain series of books you must take them to get some Turkish Delight. They will be very thrilled and so will their mom who loves the books just as much.



We went to an AWFUL place for fish & chips and clam chowder which was so disappointing. We also ordered probably the worst pizza I’ve ever had one night. But then made up for it by going to Serious Pie for wonderful pizza.

The only other thing we had on our list that we wanted to do was see the glass art museum. I also tricked them into going to the stop of the Space Needle and we played at some pretty amazing parks.

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Figuring out public transportation was hard. We spent one part of a day lost but I really wanted the girls to know it is ok to be lost in a big city. Just keep trying, and asking friendly people for help, and you will finally find your way! I snapped this picture because I was so proud we finally found our way to this tram spot.

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You know the thing I enjoyed the most was all of our talks. Stopping to talk about important things. Just being able to hear them when the spoke and really listening to them. Their little sisters are very demanding and it is frustrating that I can’t give them more attention. Their little sisters are so worth it but it sure is wonderful to spend time with just them.

Seattle Trip Part 2

October 1st, 2015 in About Me, Our Travels Worldwide

Tyler and I have never done anything like Disneyland or Legoland. My girls love American Girl Dolls, everything about them. Actually in my house if you pick up all the dog’s doodies for a full season (all of Fall, all of Spring, etc) you can pick something out for under $50 in the catalog as payment. Every Christmas morning is centered around what they got for their American Girl Dolls. I really wanted to celebrate their love of this and also celebrate them still being little. So I thought I’d better hurry up before Abby grew up any more.

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So the second big reason for going to Seattle was to go to the store! I thought it might be a let down because how cool can a store at a mall be? We hit it on the right day where there was a movie premiere for Just Grace. For $10 a ticket you got into the movie, to walk the red carpet, and a goodie bag.


The store is in a beautiful outside mall and okay the store was pretty cool. They have the cutest displays of current dolls and the dolls from when I was little. Their doll’s had a spa appointment as soon as we got there. I was so surprised that everything was such a big deal to them. Picking out the color of ribbons & the hairstyle for their dolls was a big deal. They watched their dolls being fixed up and the sweet ladies talked to them all about their dolls.


We spent forever walking around that store and creating the biggest wish lists in our heads. Then we had an appointment for a tea party at the attached bistro. Surprisingly, the food was very cute and tasty. The service was fantastic and the girls & their dolls were the spotlight. They had cute games for you at the table while you waited, and places for the dolls to sit.




It really was a special day where I could watch my girls just freeze and still be little girls. I am so glad we went. Even if the taxi ride back to the hotel took forever and was in the smokiest taxi I have ever experienced and we all almost threw up. Still worth it.




Seattle Trip Part 1

September 24th, 2015 in About Me, Our Travels Worldwide

I booked our trip to Seattle for a few reasons. I wanted to see my cousin Christopher. I wanted my girls to see a place that was my favorite place to visit growing up. To walk through my grandparent’s house and to visit the places I did on our trips. Seattle is city that jives really well with me. And lastly, I wanted to take them to the American Girl Doll store.

It was a quick trip and just with my older two girls. Boy is it different to just do a trip with them. I can stop and talk to them about important things when the time is right. Most of the time I am just trying to keep the younger two from getting hit by traffic. The plane ride was enjoyable, walking through the airport was not stressful. Boy is life going to be different when Reagan and Shae grow up a little bit more.

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We stayed with my extended family that lives there and they took us out on the ocean. My uncle took them in his canoe and they saw a seal. A cute little seal popping his head in and out of the water. How cute is that?!

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We know the family that bought my grandparents old home so we could still walk through it and go in the backyard and the tool shed. The garden is all ripped out, the carpet is all different, and the old truck isn’t sitting in the back. It is different but still the same. Boy do I love that place. The big cherry tree is still there and the woodshop that now is a garage still smells like wood. The back porch is still there where my grandma would sit and talk. That house is a special house.

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Spending time with my Aunt & Uncle was wonderful. They have a son with cerebral palsy that I have missed so much. Spending time with him was what made me cry that trip.

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My sweet cousin was so sweet to drive me everywhere and my girls adore her.

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They dropped us off at Pike Street Market and introduced me to Wildfire Honey (wow). Then we were on our own…




Dance Stars

September 21st, 2015 in About Me

It is funny to be writing about the end of the dance year season when we are already into the second week of the new dance year’s season. But lets see what I can remember. This year because of how everyone’s ages landed we attended 3 out of the 4 dance recitals that our studio does. That also means 3 out of the 4 dance rehearsals. It was quite the intense weekend! But I would do none of this if I didn’t see my girls self esteem growing and them having a blast. I wouldn’t do any of it. I’m just so proud of them.

The theme this year at UDA was Broadway Bound so each song came from a Broadway show. Throughout the year every Sunday we sat down and watched a new old time movie based on a Broadway show or vice versa. Reminded me so much of spending time with my grandparents and watching these movies with them.

Abby did 8.5 hours of dance classes a week last year. This year she does 10 hours and also assistant teaches an additional two hours a week. She is such a strong and hard working girl. One dance in particular stressed her out big time and she was so worried about pulling it off. It was so fun to see her pull it off at the performance. She danced to Hairspray, Footloose, Finiana’s Rainbow, and Meet Me In St. Louis. It was fun to have them watch all those movies so they understood what they were dancing about. She really loves being a part of a team, her dance teachers, and learning.

Abby’s dance recital clips are here 



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Cameron did 5 hours of dance classes a week last year and this year is doing 6.5. It was just about the cutest thing when I asked her the other night how she was doing in dance and what she liked about it. She had such a long list and in a matter of fact voice listed them all off! She adores performing, she has the best stage smile and does the moves the sassiest. She loves to make everyone smile and laugh.

During the year between being measured for costumes and actually getting them she grew! I think she only grew in length though so they were all a bit tight on her. Being on a dance team was also a lot of fun for her. They perform about 6-8 additional times throughout the year which is her favorite part of dance.

Cameron’s dance clips are here


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Shae had her first year of dance! I wondered how she would do and she struggled a bit keeping up in class. We did dance during the wrong time of day and I think she was just tired. This year it is at a much better time. I wondered how she would do in such a big recital but she had A BLAST. She adored it, I was so proud of her. Shae’s dances were from Oklahoma & Annie.

Shae’s dance clips are here


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Reagan was mad that she was not in a recital. And during some of the recitals she copied their moves and danced along. This year she is in dance and it is beyond cute how happy she is there.

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And we survived and the girls were rewarded with LEGOS. Because flowers or LEGOS. LEGOS I think always win.

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Things I Loved This Past Spring

August 18th, 2015 in About Me

I’m having to think a few months back to what we were up to! We moved just a couple streets over, same ward & friends & neighborhood. Just a better fit of a house for our family. I was called as the ward’s Young Women President. Also doing double duty with camp, it was ward camp this year and I survived. With a help from a lot of other women, I survived. Our company takes a lot of my time, I need to join a support group for other self employed folks. Its been pretty high stress lately. We have had tons of out of town visitors, Tyler has gone out of town a lot, and the girls are go go go. I don’t have extra time really for hobbies or to even handle all on my plate. So I’m trying to figure out how to handle everything, I know I will figure it out! It sure is a different phase of life right now.

But let me think back to the Spring and what else we were doing during April, May & June.

#1 Before we moved I survived potty training my last child. I survived, with gritted teeth the entire time, I survived. Boy oh boy is this my last child for sure. Life of the party and the hardest thing all in one this sweet girl.

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#2 We sold our Herriman home. That was an unbelievable nightmare, I can’t even really get into it. But dealing with contractors, mold, huge mess ups, dishonest title companies & a million other things. All I can say is, only my sister in law knows everything that happened to me with this. And its a miracle I didn’t get sent to the looney bin during this time.

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#3 Abby & Cameron attended some spring break camps at the Leonardo & the Natural History Museum. Shae, Reagan, and I always have a blast going from museum to museum in SLC doing whatever we please.

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#4 The girls had gorgeous Easter dresses. I feel like this should be something I get paid millions to do by celebrities, pick out their kid’s holiday wear. Sign me up for that. I am trying to remember what else we did for Easter but all I’m remembering is there was a donut tree at someone’s home. Maybe that was Easter…I’m going to have to remember what we did for Easter!

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#5 For my birthday the girls and I went to get our hair did and bought matching shirts. Tyler and I spent the weekend at the Grand America and did our first ever spa day. We loved it, we could become addicted. Also the brunch at Grand America, I’ve never experienced anything like it. Lobster to Paella to Swan Cream Puffs to a Crepe Bar. A CREPE BAR!

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#6 We were featured on the LDSChurch instagram page. Which was pretty special!

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#7 Our company won Best of State and Tyler & I attended the gala. I have given up on the fancy dresses and wore pants. I will never go back to a dress again.

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#8 The girls did a wonderful job in there piano recital, video for grandparents here.

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#9 We had a few visitors this spring (this summer wow have we had tons!), we had Tyler’s sweet mom and Tyler’s sweet aunt & uncle. We also took my mom out for her birthday to a Japanese restaurant.

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#10 We ended Spring with our huge dance recital and then running away to Seattle. That is what I will blog about next!


Life is fast, life is busy, life is hard, life is spilling over, life is in a different phase, life is good.

We’ve missed you all!

Still Here

July 31st, 2015 in Uncategorized

Life is busy, I miss recording our family life.

I think after one more very busy week I will have time to blog.

For now here is a recent picture of my beauties:

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Shae’s Dinosaur Party

May 11th, 2015 in Parties

Since we moved (same neighborhood & ward, just a better house) in April I had Shae pick anywhere she wanted other than our house to do her birthday party. Every time we get in the car she asks to go to the dinosaur museum, so of course she picked a birthday party at the dinosaur museum. Which is the Natural History Museum of Utah in SLC that we go to at least once a week. She invited some of her little friends from the neighborhood, her cousins, and sisters. Some of her friends weren’t able to come, which ended up being fine, it was hard to get those kids into and out of the museum safely!

My mom made these adorable dresses for Shae & Reagan for the party and I bought the older girls dinosaur shirts to match.



The museum took care of everything but what we wanted to eat, which was a beautiful cake Shae picked out on Pinterest. She needed the dinosaur a particular color and picked out the type of dinosaur she wanted as well.

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The girls had fun working through the stations all set up, walking through the museum, and laying down in a T-Rex footprint. It really was the easiest party (and probably cheapest) I have ever thrown!

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Shae loved her cake & her friends singing to her:

Shae Birthday 4th from Vanessa Brown on Vimeo.

Shae getting ready in the car with her neighborhood friends at the beginning of the party:

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And Shae at the end:

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She had enough at the end of the day of being the birthday girl ;) But it was a perfect birthday party for her! Dinosaurs really are her favorite thing.

Shae Turns 4!

May 11th, 2015 in About Me



Last month it was Shae’s birthday, she turned 4. Shae has changed a lot over this past year. Her interests, favorite things, and personality. This year she became a Sunbeam and really loved her teachers. She started a once a week preschool, twice a week tumbling classes, and weekly tap, jazz, and ballet. I really thought when she started all of these things it would be a struggle to get her into class and to warm up. Not so! She has so much fun, sometimes is a real awful listener, and loves to make new friends. She was (and still is) such a soft hearted sweetheart I thought maybe she would be on the quiet side. Not so! Her favorite things are her sisters. She is my one daughter that I really believe prefers her sisters over me. Which is ok!

Her personality is so fun:


Shae loves to bake, relax & watch TV, play with her friends, play pretend with her little figurines, and do crafts.



Shae Shae asked for “breakfast cookies, bunny milk, and cinnamon rolls” for her birthday breakfast. We also got her a few colors of daisies for her birthday flower.
Shae loves dinosaurs and had a dinosaur party earlier that week, so along with her breakfast she met a new blow up friend!




For her birthday she received for “to play” some plush dinosaurs. For “something pretty” the Pretty Pretty Princess game. For “something to read” princess books and for “something to wear” a bunny outfit.


Later that night I made her a bunny pizza, which she adored, and then did not eat.


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My favorite thing on that day was letting Shae stay up and just hang out with me. She is a fun girl who is always so well behaved until night time where she turns into a crazy lady ;)