Friday, January 29, 2010

I Confess! This is the Perfect Slacker's Giveaway!

I never in a million years thought when I started up this blog, that I would have almost 200 posts (this one is #198 to be exact)

and have more than 100 Followers

(where did you all come from? - or maybe a better question would be - where did you all go? Because I'm pretty sure that don't have that many readers. Or maybe my posts are just too boring to inspire very many comments. That's pretty likely, too!)

But seriously, leave a comment, even if you have never visited my blog before.

Because I have been getting a lot more visits in the last few days. All coming from
I'd really like to know who you are...

Anyway, I've been looking for an excuse to give this little book away:
(In this little Internet Land-of-the-Blog, a Post/Follower milestone is as good of an excuse as there is, right?)

I bought this book on a lark because I thought it would be fun to read, and to laugh along with the author at her failings, because most likely they'd be mine, too. I'd be laughing with her, not at her . . .

I was pretty surprised when a couple years later I picked up the book and started reading it

(I told you I was a slacker, right? I wasn't kidding)

Apparently, I didn't read the back of the book jacket very clearly, because it explains perfectly well the point of view of the author.

There's another person out there that disciplines their children like I do?

She really tells it like it is: to heck with all the self-help books, educational toys, and parenting classes.

And to heck with the guilt that goes along with not going along with all of that...

(I am talking about everyday, normal problems here. If you have a real problem, a crisis, of course get help! But that's not what I am talking about . . . )

This book is all about listening to your instincts.

They are usually spot-on. I like that advice.

Takes the guilt out of child-rearing.

At least that's what it does for me!

So, to win this little book, all you have to do is leave a comment.

About what, might you wonder? Well, I'll tell you:

If someone gave you $100,000 tax-free dollars, what would you do with it all?

What does that have to do with the book, you ask?
Well, nothing. But I want to see how clever you all can be.

My daughters and I will pick the best response. I might not be able to be completely impartial, but my girls will! And we will decide on the winner before I post about anything else.

I promise! I won't be a slacker about this!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One Light Bulb at a Time

A physics teacher in high school, once told the students that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a good American.

Good idea one light bulb at a time…

Check this out. I can verify this because I was in Lowes the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China. The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA. Start looking.

In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job. So, after reading this email, I think this lady is on the right track. Let's get behind her!

My grandson likes Hershey's candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more.

My favorite toothpaste Colgate is made in Mexico, now I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything.

This past weekend I was at Kroger. I needed 60W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labeled, "Everyday Value." I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price.

The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - get ready for this - the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio.

So throw out the myth that you cannot find products you use every day that are made right here.

So on to another aisle - Bounce Dryer Sheets, yep, you guessed it,Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada. The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!

My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbor's!

If you accept the challenge, just do this:
Stop buying from overseas companies!

(We should have awakened a decade ago.)

Let's get with the program help our fellow Americans keep their jobs and create more jobs here in the U.S.A.
(Thanks Duane, for sending us this email, so that I could share it here!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Have YOU ever tried to drive away from the gas pump with the nozzle still inserted?

I posted that as my status on FB last night. Sounds like a lot of you have!

But I bet your story isn't as crazy as mine. . .

So, yesterday afternoon, after doing all my errands, I decided it would be a good idea to get some gas.

Ya know, so we wouldn't be sucking fumes all the way to Church and back today.

I pulled in and waited for the person ahead of me to come back outside and leave.

Apparently, this person was a cash payer, because after about 10 minutes, she came out and just got started pumping her gas.

I decided that I'd waited there long enough, and just then, the lane next to me was clear.

So I quickly pulled ahead and then backed into that lane. Sure, my tank was on the opposite side as the gas pump now,

but - I've pulled the hose over and down and it was long enough before.
(At a different gas station).
No problem at all.
So I swiped my debit card through the reader, and then picked up the nozzle and pulled it up, and over - wait - cheap gas station!!!

Who the heck installed such short hoses?

So I jumped back into the 'burb and tried to quickly pull out, turn around, and drive back in again. Well, since it was Saturday, it was busy, and before I could get completely turned around, another car pulled in.

He was oblivious. It wasn't his fault.

So, I pulled around and it just so happened that the lane next to the one I'd just been in just opened up. So I got out and asked the guy who stole my lane (not his fault!) to check his receipt when he was done to see if it was on my debit card or his. He was a good guy, thankfully, and checked it when he was done. Meanwhile, I had gotten the gas flowing for real into my tank. Good Guy came over to my car door and we determined that yes, it was charged onto my card, and he gave me the cash. I don't know, but another person might have just said "thanks for the gift of gas, see ya..." so I think I lucked out here.

We finished our little transaction, and then I put my 'burb in gear and started to drive off. (I guess in my distracted, deranged mind I thought I was all done with this gas station!)

Suddenly, a guy ran over and banged on the passenger side window, and another dude in an old blue pickup pulling into Good Guy's lane next to me started honking and pointing.

I realized - The Nozzle Is Still In My Tank! and I hit the brakes.

Luckily, the hose was just long enough that no damage was done, just a slight gasoline spill.

No Exxon Valdez here.

As I was out of the car and checking for damage, the dude who'd tapped on my window came over to check me out. He was scruffy, in a work coat and beanie cap, but he stood there looking at me like I was on drugs or something. I guess I can't blame him for that, can I? So I gave a quick explanation of what'd happened and he wandered off...
Meanwhile, my boys were in the car, still being wild and crazy (which I am sure had contributed at least a little bit to my distraction).
So I opened the door and stuck my head in and calmly (but NOT quietly) proceeded to chew them out, saying that they needed to get back in their seat belts and be quiet and quit jumping all over the place. I shut the door, and went to check on the progress of my tank being filled. (Dang, these 26 gal tanks take forever to fill up!)
Then I noticed the Dude in the Old Blue Pickup watching all this happen will almost a grin on his face, so what else could I do? I laughed and said "do you have kids, too?" and he said "yes" and so I said that then he must know how it is. . . and I thanked him for saving me and my car and the whole entire gas station from blowing up (not exactly in those words, but ya know what I mean).

It was one of those situations where I felt like I had to explain what had happened, so that he'd know I wasn't drunk or on crack. . .

Just a crazy mommy having a really crazy day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Thoughts: Earthquake in Haiti, and Donations - Every One . . . ?

I have some random thoughts and issues floated around in my head that I need to deal . . . has that ever happened to you?

My daughter Rachel, who is one of the most compassionate teens I know, is putting together a benefit concert for the Haitian earthquake victims. The proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.

She already has a venue arranged, bands set up, and a couple of sponsors. (She needs more sponsors, though, to cover the cost of the venue. Even at less than half the price, which is their contribution, it's a fairly spendy venture.)

More on the concert later, which is scheduled for February 27th.

I'm so proud of her!

Seems like almost every day, my email inbox is flooded with requests for donations. Some of these are simply SPAM, of course, but quite a few a from RNC and The League of American Voters and Grassfire Nation. I used to give a little to each one, but it was getting out of control. I firmly support commonsense conservative candidates, but when do you say - "Enough is enough - I've done all I can?"

In another politically related topic, how about that Scott Brown, huh?

Do you think that the independent-thinking voters in the bluest of blue states sending a member of the GOP to Washington will send a loud enough message?

As in:

(to sum it all up in a quick phrase)


And, last but certainly not least,
I have to tell you that I am so looking forward to Feb 9th, at 5:56 pm.
Ya wanna know where I'll be?
At the airport.
Ya wanna know why?

My son is coming home from his mission!

Woo Hoo!

I am so looking forward to having him home again - at least, until he goes off to school!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"The Cab Ride . . ."

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked...
"Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years.

All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In
the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing," I told her.. "I just try
to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.

"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left" she continued in a soft voice.. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city.
She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.
She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring intothe darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a
small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent,watching her every move.

They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.
"Thank you."

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


It is the random acts of kindness that most benefit all of us.

Thank you, my friend...

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

author unknown

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2009 Was - well . . .

. . . let's just say, I am GLAD it's 2010!

We lost some dear friends to age, accident, and disease.

We had tragedies in families from our ward.

But through it all, I know that we will see our loved ones again. And our ward family will pull together and help those in need.

But today I want to purge out the annoying and bothersome things that happened in 2009.

I also want to count my blessings. So for every rotten thing that happened, I WILL find the silver lining in it all. And part of the blessings, the main part, I've noticed lately, is the lessons that we learn in the process.

Early in the morning, on the first day of school, I was running and pulled a muscle on the backside of my groin area.
Yeah. Ouch.

A few days earlier, I had been doing some stretching that was beyond what my 45-year-old body could and should be able to handle. I felt just a tiny pop in "that" spot, but it didn't hurt, and I didn't think anything of it. Just kept up my normal routine for the next few days, jogging and stretching and Tae Bo. But on that Tuesday after Labor Day, about 2.5 miles into my planned long-run of 8 miles, I felt IT. I pushed on to the end of my lap, then called it a day.
I was limping around in pain that morning, trying to get Tanner ready for his first day of Kindergarten,

(did you notice that I didn't post any pictures about that!!!?)

and by the time we got back from the 2ish-hour-long orientation, I was done.

I had Mark go and get some crutches for me.

I knew that I needed to just go easy on it so that it would heal quicker.

And a couple of weeks later, just as I was thinking I could go out and run again, my naked big toe had an encounter with the razor-sharp edge of a step-stone just outside our back door. Didn't do any real damage, just sliced through the thick skin on the end, but it did stop me from trying to run.

And a few weeks after that, I kicked the bench at the kitchen table, my littlest toe taking all the impact. Again, just an annoying injury, but enough to keep me from my workouts.

In the meantime, I was reversing all the physical progress I had made over the previous six months or so. By the end of September, I had gained back 8 pounds. I started working out again, doing Tae Bo barefoot in my basement, because the pressure of my athletic shoe hurt my baby toe. So the weight gain slowed. I "only" gained 2 more over Halloween, and another 2 over Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years. What was I blessed to learn through this experience?

That if you consume more calories that you burn, you gain.

That's a "duh" lesson, I know, but it was vastly proven by my quick weight gain. It also showed me that I have not been eating properly.

So, I am starting another blog, a kind of kick-in-the-pants to get myself motivated to eat right. I am going to record everything that I eat, how I exercise, and maybe a few tips and recipes that I learn along the way. I am calling it A Little Self-Motivation...(with a Big Dose of Self-Humiliation!) . I've had a version of this on my sidebar since March that one or two of you may have seen. So check it out if you want to cheer me on,
or jeer at me and kick me back into business if I go off track!

I have also learned that Heavenly Father knows how He can slow me down. I could have just used common sense, waiting a reasonable amount of time before attemping to dash out for a jog. But He knows me too well, that I have a high pain tolerance, and those other little injuries were thrown in my way to prevent me from doing more damage to a sensitive muscle.

That was the blessing in this trial.

We've had several auto-related challenges. Mark's brakes went out on his truck. On the car, the underneath part of the bumper came loose and I had to buy duct-tape to pull it up so it wouldn't drag. The side panel by the front windshield came off. And one day I was driving the kids to Seminary, and all of a sudden there was this nasty noise in the back wheel well. I stopped to see if there was something in there, and so I felt around in that nasty, dirty area in the cold, slushy snow, with no luck. I got back in and started driving slowly, but the noise was still there. I got out and checked again, still nothing, except for the sound of air rushing out. So I called my hubby and he came and picked us up, and changed the tire. Guess what he found? A little tiny screwdriver had been kicked up into that wheel well and lodged into the tire. What are the chances of that?

Lesson learned? I'm not sure, except that my hubby will run to my rescue when I have a flat tire. Maybe I would've been involved in an accident if I'd driven all the way to Spirit Lake that day. Who knows. The roads were bad that day. I just know that I am watched over and cared for.

We have also had appliance challenges.

First this summer, our microwave quit on us. Not a clue as to why, and it is only about 3 years old. Then our dishwasher quit. The repairman came out add charged us $75 to tell us that the heating element was out, and the motherboard needed to be replaced, all to a tune of $389 to get fixed . We thought - it's not worth it to get it fixed - until we went out and priced a new dishwasher. The space that it's located in our cabinets requires that it be a zero-clearance, meaning the controls are all in the inside top of the door, not on the front. Those babies START at $600 for a cheap-o. Rats.

Lesson learned? That we have two perfectly good dishwashers, named Rachel and Noelle. And that it's good bonding time for them to wash the dishes together.

Then my washing machine suddenly didn't spin out the rinsewater anymore, and we discovered that the belt had stretched out and come off. New belt, $30 later, plus the kindness of friend and neighbor Missy who let me borrow her washer, a week later we were back in biz. Or so we thought.
Turns out that the pulley needed to be replaced, too. $79.95 this time for that diagnosis, and $120 more to replace said pulley, parts and labor.

But I went online and ordered the part that we can put on ourselves, for only $55.00. Waiting on the part now - should be here any day.

Lesson learned? Go online to find the part you think needs to be replaced. Unless it has to do with electronics, it's not rocket science. Quit doubting ourselves.

Oh, and the dryer. It quit drying properly.

Meaning, it took HOURS to dry a single load. And I ALWAYS clean the lint screen after every single load. We opened it up, and discovered that there was lint blowing everywhere inside, because the last repairman hadn't put it back together property. and there was lint ON the heating element, just about to catch fire! So we cleaned it out, and it has been running smoothly ever since.

Lesson learned? To always check the insides of the dryer when dryer times get longer and longer! (And we were blessed that the house didn't burn down!)

And then, A few nights before Christmas, not a creature was stirring, except for the toilet.

We were all dead asleep, when the smoke alarms all started going off in our house.

What does this have to do with the toilet, you ask?

Well, turns out that the last person to go potty before bed clogged up the toilet, and when he/she (most likely Littlest He) flushed it, the flapper inside didn't go all the way down, and so the toilet ran and ran for several hours, and since it was clogged, it overflowed. Since we have the valve set to fill it slowly, it didn't flood quickly, but seeped down the sides and underneath and down into the ceiling of the room below, and filled the ceiling until it got over the the smoke alarm, got it wet, and set it off. Who knew that the smoke alarm would go off when the toilet overflowed? I sure didn't! (And I guess that was the lesson learned in that little incident!)

I'll bet that there is more stuff I could list here, but I won't go on and on.

But just remember -

whenever you have a challenge,

there is a lesson to be learned

and blessings to be gained from that knowledge.

Cuz, why else be here in this wonderful world but to learn, and to love our families? (Or is it to learn to love our families?)

Either way, I am just trying to make the best of it and muddle through this life without too many mishaps!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Republicans vs Democrats . . .

Or, 10 reasons why we should take back our country, NOW!

As Republicans campaign against Democrat incumbents nationwide, I hope they will add the following list of reasons to help them make their case to voters.

10. TARP or as I like to call it the Congressional Relief Action Program - The money for TARP was so urgent that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and company didn’t add any transparency to the process and now we don’t know where much of the money went.
9. First Stimulus Bill - It stimulated spending in Democrat Congressional districts and created almost no new jobs.
8. Auto Bailout - Another bailout and another expansion of government.
7. ACORN – This corrupt organization was a favorite of House and Senate Democrats and well funded by their congressional patrons. Voters will remember.
6. Obama Czars – Special advisors to the President, circumventing the traditional Congressional confirmation process. The Obama administration’s widespread and deliberate use of “Czars” is a misuse of power and needs to be reined in.
5. CAP and TAX – Another massive tax increase on American families and small businesses.
4. Ben Nelson’s Payoff – Ben Nelson sold his health care vote to Harry Reid for $300+ million in lower taxes for Nebraska.
3. The $12 Trillion+ National Debt – Democrats in Congress spending money they don’t have. Mortgaging our children’s future.
2. Nationwide Unemployment rate at 10% - The Democrats are spending money like it’s going out of style and yet they are ignoring policies that would create new jobs.
1. The Government Takeover of Health Care - If the bill that comes out of Congress is signed into law, it will amount to a massive government expansion into our daily lives. It is the number one reason why Democrats should be defeated.

(I can't remember where I found this, but I thought it was worth posting. However, I'm thinking that it should read "Conservatives vs. Democrats"! What's your take on the whole thing?)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I LOVE this! It's so true!

A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl, Shelby... She wanted to know what the United States looked like.

Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to Shelby and said,

'Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today...'

After a few minutes, Shelby returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly.
'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus.
When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged,
then our country just came together........................

(thanks, John Tate and Smart Girl Politics, for posting this on your blog!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pray For Obama

This was sent to me by a good friend . . .

"We were in slow-moving traffic the other day and the car in front of us had an Obama bumper sticker on it. It read: "Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8".

My husband's Bible was lying on the dash board & he got it & opened it up to the scripture & read it. He started laughing & laughing. Then he read it to me. I couldn't believe what it said. I had a good laugh, too. Psalm 109:8 - Let his days be few; and let another take office. "