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Showing posts from 2009

Turns out I'm Kind of a Holiday Shopping Jerk

All this time I thought it was only other people. Turns out I am one of those customers retailers loathe. I was at Walmart the other day picking up my site-to-store order. When the clerk brought out only half my order I was a alarmed. I showed her my entire order list and insisted that the main three items were missing. She was completely calm (too calm for my taste) when after about 10 minutes of looking around she just shrugged her shoulders and said that was all there was. (This is where I start turning into a jerk) "I know I had three more items, I'm not leaving without them!" I insisted. She left for about 10 more minutes apparently to track down someone who could help. During this wait I was grumbling under my breath, complaining to all the other customers who were waiting because of me, making faces and thinking many unkind thoughts.

So after at least thirty minutes, my eyes sore from all my eye-rolling, my disturbingly calm clerk pulled several other clerks off …

It's Easy to be Bad

Christmas is almost here and my six year old is apparently looking for excuses to justify his behavior this past year.

Yesterday he said to me, "Mom, It's easy to be bad all year."
"What?" I asked.
"I said it's easy to be bad all year. It's hard to be good."

I agree with him. It is a lot easier to be bad. There probably isn't anyone who is good all year. And if there is one kid who's good all year, I'll bet he's really dull and not very interesting. So I'm not sure that we'd really even want our kids to be completely good all year long. Maybe instead of Santa asking kids if they've been good this year, he should ask them if the bad things they've done this year haven't been too bad and if they at least did a few good things. While not quite as catchy a phrase, I think it's at least attainable.

My New Time Saving Tip

Switch to really long straws. This will minimize the time involved in bending forward to drink cold beverages. As an added bonus, it will reduce neck strain.

Best Holiday Ever!

We celebrated St. Lucia day yesterday. It was a huge success. In fact, we are currently in family negotiations over whether we'll replace Christmas with it. Christmas is so overrated.

We sat around in our pajamas most of the day, ate buttery, sweet cinnamon bread, and decorated the Christmas Tree. For the grand finale, we had a sock war.

The sock war did cause a few minor injuries, but once we gave our 4 year old a pair of safety glasses to wear during the battle, the tears stopped and it was non-stop fun from then on out.

Next year we're thinking of adding a jousting segment and getting rid of the Christmas tree decorating, because that was kind of boring.

More on the Wussifying of Our Country

I'm pretty sure there's a conspiracy to wussify America. Why? Two words: Indoor Recess. Apparently, if it's cold, snowy or rainy, the school my son attends holds recess inside the building.

Back in the day the word indoor was never associated with the word recess. We went outside three times a day and never complained. It didn't matter if the thermometer was 30 degrees below or there was a sideways blowing blizzard, we bundled up and went out there. Sure it was cold, sure we got wet, but we bucked up and loved every minute of it!

But now, for some reason the schools can't bare the thought of the children going outside to enjoy a snowstorm or play in the rain, thus turning them all into wussies. Before long, I imagine my kid won't want to do anything that may cause discomfort. I can hear the converstation now:

Me: Son, let's go outside and build a snowman.

Him: No way mom, I only go outside if the temperature is between 70-76 degrees and there is zero perci…

My Long Awaited P90x Review

Yep, I did it. I completed the P90x 90 day exercise program. I actually finished on Thanksgiving weekend, but was waiting a couple of weeks to post this, hoping that a few weeks of down time would make all the difference.

Did it Work?
So first I'll answer the question you're all wondering ---did it work?--- and save the boring details for later. "Did it Work?" is such a clear, concise and simple question, and I really wish I could give an equally clear, concise and simple answer, but I can't. The exercise program worked, sort of. So it definitely made my muscles bigger and harder (sorry, I know that sounds dirty). Unfortunately, those awesome muscles are still nestled under a soft squishy layer of fat. I did not lose any weight while on the program. But, I didn't gain any either, so I guess that's something seeing as I went through two major holidays and began my inevitable holiday over-eating---mmmmmmmmm holiday overeating.

I was going to post my before an…

Santa, Jesus, and Heavenly Father

Here's a conversation I had with my six year old yesterday:

Son: Hey Mom--Santa, Jesus and Heavenly Father rock!

Me: What?

Son: I said, Santa, Jesus and Heavenly Father rock!

Me: Why do you say that?

Son: Because I want lots of presents for Christmas!

Me: **Heavy sigh**

I had no idea how to respond. That comment, along with a few others he's made, shows me that he sees God and Santa as basically the same type of being. Which on the one hand is kind of funny, but on the other hand, is a bit disturbing. I guess to a kid, they must seem very similar: You can't see either of them, except for in pictures and movies. They both perform things that are impossible for us mortals. They both do nice things for people, and you can ask both of them for things you want and if you're good, you might get some of them.

I can't tell him Santa isn't real, because that would destroy the magic of Christmas for him. He'll find out the truth eventually, and when he does, he will inevi…

St. Lucia Day is Coming!

Last year we celebrated St. Lucia Day for the first time. We celebrated by buying a jar of cardamon for $13.00 at Albertson's and adding a teaspoon of that cardamon to some homemade St. Lucia buns and tasting them and realizing that they weren't very good (because cardamom is nasty) and then throwing the rest away. I think this year's celebration is going to be even better!

I figure all the other holidays we celebrate have morphed into something quite different than the original event the holiday was based on, so why not morph St. Lucia Day into something great. Mayhaps even the best holiday ever!

To make it a great holiday for me, the following will be required :
1. Good Food.
2. Friends and/or Family (but not too many).
3. Not having to buy anyone presents or do too much prep or post work.
4. Participation in some sort of unique activity.

Okay, so the food I have covered. We'll be eating dinner with St. Lucia bread, which will not contain any cardamom or cardamom-l…

Chocolate Babka May Be the End of the Baking Marathon

Martha Stewart's Babka.
This is what it was suppose to look like. I even used the same recipe.
My Killer Babka.
The difference in the photos makes me chuckle.
Mine kind of looks like a chimpanzee made it.

I've always taken pride in my ability to stomach any dessert, no matter how decadent or rich. Actually, it's one of my few talents. Well, today I met my match. Today I made Chocolate Babka, and can I just say, I think it's done me in. After three bites I literally had to lay down on the couch. It is one of, if not the, richest desserts I've ever eaten. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I want to throw up. Chocolate Babka is a Jewish dessert that consists of sweet bread swirled all over in the middle with cinnamon and chocolate. Supposedly it's real big in New York. I've always wanted to try one ever since that one episode of Seinfeld. I have yet to see one in a bakery in Utah, so I've never tried one, and thus have nothing to compare to the loaf of deat…

Pound Cake

I decided to move forward with the baking marathon. I had to take a brief hiatus last week to make a few Thanksgiving desserts (see picture below), which consisted of a white chocolate cheesecake, two pumpkin pies and some buckeye balls. What's up with the holes and circles in the pies?
Anyway, I started with the easiest things first, because that's my way. If I start with all the hard things first then I might get discouraged too soon and give up. Plus, if I did all the hard things and then something happened like I died or lost my memory and didn't have a chance to enjoy the easy things then I would be mad.

So far I've made the following:

The apple pandowdy. --Apple pie-type filling on the bottom, topped with what was essentially a pie crust. Yes, it was very dowdy looking.
The crumb cake.--Dense yellow cake topped with cinnamon, sugar, and pecan streusal. Makes a delicious breakfast! (Unless you happen to be a 4 or 6 year old boy.)

The pound cake. --Lovely crumb, f…

The Case of the Missing Gum

It happened again. I was driving on the freeway today and decided to spit my gum out the window. I rolled the window partially down and tried to spit it out between the window and the sunshade. It ricocheted off either the top of the window or the sunshade and fell back into the car. I glanced down on the floor and couldn't see it. I felt around and couldn't feel it.

I figured I would easily spot it once I parked the car and got out and was able to really look around. I was wrong. I looked everywhere but couldn't find the gum. Now I'm afraid that it's lurking somewhere in my car, waiting for the opportune moment to get me. Maybe it's deviously sitting still, letting itself get all soft and warm in the sun hoping for the moment I put my foot in just the right place, then bam, getting itself stuck all over my shoe, ruining what would have otherwise been a wonderful day. I'm afraid.

Things I Vowed to Bake Before 2010

Last winter I made a list of the seventeen baked goods I wanted to create before the year ended. Several I had tried before with limited success, and the rest were new (to me). The year's almost over and I've actually made very few. In fact, I've only made four out of the seventeen. If my calculations are correct, that's a mere 24 percent.

Here's my list. The items followed by an asterisk are the items I've made.

apple pandowdy
mixed berry tart
strawberry rhubarb pie
jumbleberry pie*
pound cake
red velvet cake*
chiffon cake
lemon squares*
lemon cake
crumb coffeecake
german chocolate cake
devils food cake with white icing*
pecan pie
lemon tart
black and white cookies
chocolate babka
chocolate ruglach

So I figure I have three choices. I can 1) give up and admit defeat completely 2) condense the list and make what's left, or 3) go on a baking marathon and try to make them all before New Year's Day. #1 is appealing because I'm a good quitter. Quitting …

What's Your Opinion on Leggings

First, you must understand that I was a child of the 80s. Back then leggings were a way of life. I reached a point where leggings were pretty much the only pants I ever wore. They were fabulous. Life was good and I was happy. Why? Because leggings aren't really pants. They're jammies---soft, stretchy, comfy jammies that society pretends are pants. Ah the comfort. You could pull them on, cover up the top half of your body with a long sweater and then eat an entire two-crusted apple pie and still feel comfortable in them. You can't say that about your favorite pair of jeans.

I thought leggings would be in style forever. I held on as long as I could. But alas, I eventually gave them up. The last day I wore them was the day I was in Sam's Club and saw a middle-aged, heavy set woman sporting a really tight pair of slightly transparent white leggings without the requisite long shirt. It looked like she was smuggling out several large bags of Idaho spuds---in her pants. I kn…

Just freakin' take out the garbage already

Son: Why do boys have more muscles than girls?

Me: God gave boys more muscles because he wanted the boys/men to always take out the garbage. Always. No matter what. Even when the boys/men are sick, or busy, or out of town. Always.

Son: Then what did he give the girls?

Me: To the girls God gave the potential to create and bear other humans. And as a follow up to your initial question, to boys God gave the gift and yea, responsibility, to take out the garbage.

Pillow Talk

I've owned a total of two sleeping pillows my entire life. Well, actually three. I started my life with two pillows that I later had surgically conjoined, so I'm only counting them as one. I had that pillow for about 22 years. It was a good friend who saw me through childhood sleepovers, adolescence awkwardness, college fun and the first seven years of marriage. I had to replace it about 12 years ago. It was a sad day, and it was difficult to let go. The right time to say goodbye is often hard to determine. You don't want to let go too soon, when the pillow still has some comfortable sleeping nights left, but you also don't want to wait too long and make yourself and the pillow go through needless suffering. I think with pillow #1 I waited too long. But ah well, as the old saying goes, it's better to hang on to a pillow too tightly than to not hold on tightly enough. Or something like that. It sounds better in Chinese.

So anyway, the mercy-kill of pillow #1 led t…

I think my neck's getting too big

I was having a bad hair day yesterday, so I put my hair in a pony tail. That's when I discovered it; I think my neck has grown larger. Or it could be my jaw. Or possibly that area at the top of my back that isn't my neck and isn't my shoulders, but is somewhere between. Whichever--- something's larger, bulkier---just generally off it some way and it's not good, not good at all. I keep picturing myself morphing into the Incredible Hulk with his block head and large sinewy pyramid-shaped neck. I don't want that. All the lipstick and blush in the world won't detract from an Incredible Hulk neck!

If indeed my neck is bigger (which if it's not, then I suppose I'm going crazy---not sure which I'd prefer at this point), then there are three possible causes: A. weight lifting, B. my new haircut or C. a "natural" result of the aging process. If it's A or B, I'm okay, because that means it's reversible. If it's C, I'm not ok…

Where have I been?

I've been a blog-posting slacker these days. I am tempted to say that I've been too busy to post, because for some reason I feel that way. But really, I shouldn't be any busier than I was before. I can't think of anything significant that I've added to my life that would take a huge chunk of time out of my day. Hmmmm what could it be?

Come to think of it, I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about baked goods. Maybe that's it. For some reason I can while away hours looking through recipes and drooling over pictures of food. There's something about Fall that makes me think about food. Actually, I'm thinking about it too much. It's that darn Internet! There's just so much awesome free food data out there---the photos, the articles, the recipes---I wonder if I need to talk to my Bishop about this?!?

I was a perfect parent (until I had kids)

Up until yesterday, out of the 98 things I vowed I'd never do as a parent, I'd managed to do all but one. No, one is not many, but still, at least I had one. My vow number 98 was hanging on strong. Old buddy 98 was going to prove I was not a bad mom. But alas, last night I broke my sacred vow, the one and only number 98...the one vow I thought I'd never, ever break. What was it you ask? I'm embarrassed to say, but I believe I owe it to society to fess up. So here goes...For dinner last night I made macaroni and cheese (here it comes) with (are you ready for it?) hot dogs!! Yep, sliced hot dogs. Can you believe it? That was the meal I hated most when I was a kid. I swore every time we had it that I would never make it when I grew up; no matter what. I vowed I would be a good mom and not make my kids eat such a disgusting meal. Ah, the idealism of a child.

So what does it all mean? I guess my kids are doomed now since I'll never be that perfect woman I envisioned w…

Sick Rats, Rifles and Husbands

My husband is a genius. He's wanted a .22 rifle for a long, long time now, but wasn't able to come up with a justification for buying one---until yesterday. Yesterday, he told me there was a sick rat in the backyard. He said it was lying on the lawn breathing heavily. It didn't move when he walked up to it, so he was sure it must be dying.

Here's how our conversation went:

Me: So did you kill it!? Tell me you killed it! You better have killed it. Did you kill it?
Him: Well, no. I was going to, but couldn't think of a good way.
Me: How about a shovel?
Him: Too messy.
Me: What do you mean too messy?

Then I imagined myself trying to kill a poor defenseless rat with a shovel, and I have to admit, every scenario I pictured was awfully brutal and messy. I couldn't blame him for not using a shovel.

Me: Well, we can't have sick rats running around our house. What are we going to do?
Him: I would have no problem shooting it with a .22 rifle.
Me: But we don't have a .22…

Welcome to 2010--Era of the Three Course Cereal Meal

I am a big fan of cold cereal. I could pretty much eat it for every meal. The only problem with cereal is that sometimes after a cereal lunch or cereal dinner, I’m left wanting.
If eaten in the traditional way, cereal can be a bit un-satisfying. However, after years and years of exhaustive trial and error research, I think I’ve found the solution: I call it cereal courses. Instead of just sitting down and having a single big old bowl of Lucky Charms, you have three smaller bowls of different kinds of cereals.
Now before you just go off on your own and start mixing cereals willy-nilly, please note that it's not quite as easy as it seems; there's a bit of an art to it. You must have the right kind of cereal for the right course. For example, for the appetizer, I recommend something light and somewhat bland to prepare the palate---like Cheerios, or Rice Chex. For the main course, I suggest something filling, with a lot of fiber, but not too sweet---like Shredded Wheat or Raisin …

I'm in Love.

I never thought I'd feel this way about a hamburger. Chocolate cake? Of course. Hot buttery rolls? You betcha. A man? Sure. But a hamburger? Never! If you told me a year ago that I'd fall head over heels for a burger, I'd slap your face and call you crazy. Up until a few short months ago, I only ate hamburgers because they were the only thing available on the menu, or because someone gave me one for free (I'll eat almost anything if it's free). All that changed when I discovered Five Guys. Now, I'm pretty sure I'm in love with their burgers.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "It can't be love, it's too soon! You should keep trying other burgers for at least a year before you say you're in love." But I say to you, nay! It is love! It is! I'm ready to forsake all other burgers for this burger. I'm ready to commit!

Here is an eating guide if you too decide you want to go to Five Guys and possibly experience b…

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pencil

Okay, so I didn't succeed in stopping the Kaysville cannon this year. But next year will be different. Next year, I'm actually going to try. I'll keep you posted.

On to a different subject, which is somewhat related to the previous topic since both involve me improving the world. I'm looking to renew my childhood dream of adding pencil to the rock, paper, scissors game. I added it many, many years ago, and was able to successfully convert my next-door neighbor, so I'm pretty sure now that I'm all grown up and wiser and what not, that I'll have no problem convincing the rest of you to add it.

Instead of saying "Rock, Paper, Scissors" you will say "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Pencil." Okay, see now, it's a subtle but significant difference. There are four elements instead of three. It might seem a bit tricky at first, but you'll get the hang of it, and then you will never want to go back to the original version.

The rules are as follow…

Help Me Stop the Kaysville Cannon!

Each 4th of July morning, the dreaded Kaysville Cannon goes off every 10 minutes or so starting at 6:00 in the morning. This cannon is so loud it can be heard for miles. It shakes our house, rattles the windows, freaks out our dog, and startles us awake way too early on a holiday.

It's purpose? To rouse the citizens of Kaysville and Fruit Heights for the annual chuck-a-rama breakfast...which I choose not to attend. And if I did choose to attend, I would choose to be awaken by some nice peaceful music, not by a succession of bombs that trigger all my horrific Vietnam flashbacks.

The 4th is days away, and already I'm jittery and nervous with anticipation. The cannon practically ruins the entire holiday. I've had enough, and it's time to for me to take a stand. All you Kaysville/Fruit Heights residents out there, are you with me?

I Recommend This Nail Polish

Sally Hansen Insta-Dry nail polish is awesome! Sure it dries quickly, but that's just a bonus, the real reason to buy it is the brush. It's different than any other brush I've tried. It is extra wide and stiff, which makes polishing your nails faster and with less mess (i.e., It's easier to stay in the lines---even on the left hand!)

Sally claims you can polish each nail with one stroke, but it still takes me a couple---maybe I have extra wide nails---I don't know, but it still goes on fast.

I just bought another shade at the Super Target and it only cost about $4.50. Totally worth it! If you can't trust me, then you can certainly trust Oprah...she's the one who told me about it.

Biker Ettiquette: Would it Kill People To Wave?

There's an unwritten tradition among bicycle riders that's been respected for centuries---until now. That tradition is the bikers' wave. Back in the day, when you'd see a fellow biker out riding, you'd exchange the biker wave. The biker wave is a special thing, somewhat akin to the Harley wave, but probably much, much older. To do it, you keep both hands on the handlebars and then with your palm still on the bar, raise the fingers of your left hand. That's it. A simple gesture that says, hi there, I see you and you see me. We are both riding bikes so we have something in common. Without the wave, the ride gets lonely, and all the people around seem unfriendly and cold.

This morning I was out riding and not one single rider returned my biker wave. I waved to a least seven bikers. Granted, a couple of them were riding mountain bikes, and they never wave, but the road bikers certainly should have.

So come on people, if someone waves to you (even if it's me)…

Fattening Conspiracy

Last week I realized I could stand to shed a couple of pounds, so decided to cut back on a few calories. Nothing drastic of course, just limiting myself to like 2 bowls of cereal at night instead of 3, taking 1 cookie at a time instead of 2...things that are easy, but after a week should make the skinny jeans somewhat wearable. Anyway, oddly, after a week of this, not only did I not lose any weight, I actually gained weight! How is that possible?

My first thought was that the scale wasn't working. (I broke down and bought a new scale.) But certain clothes don't lie, it was obvious the scale was accurate. My second thought was that there was a giant fattening conspiracy going on. Like maybe someone, or a group of someones, was making me gain weight. It really is the only logical answer. The question is, who would do that? Who would have something to gain by fattening me up?

That is a tricky question. At first I thought maybe my husband, but really, out of everyone he would have t…

Join My Virtual Book Club!!!

Do you love to read but never do? When you sit down to start a good book, do you stop after the first page because you feel guilty about all the chores or obligations you "should" be doing? Do you refrain from purchasing books, because you think they're a luxury you just can't justify? If any or any parts of those statements sound familiar, well grieve no longer, I have the answer! You need to join my book club! My book club will absolve you of any reading-inspired guilt.

If reading was an obligatory assignment, rather than a perceived, self-indulgent luxury, then how could you not spend hours on end doing it? It's your obligation, nay your duty. You owe it to the book club. You can't let the book club down, what would Oprah say? You can't be responsible for the occasional chore left unfinished while you finish your novel, after all, it's an assignment...there could be a test!

So if you're sitting on the couch reading, and your person of familiar…

Sometimes I miss the bad old days.

I know we've learned a lot and live longer and healthier lives than we did back in the day, but sometimes I miss the shorter and unhealthy lives of yester-year. It's not that I would ever want to go back thirty years, but there are definitely things I miss, such as the following ten items:
Riding things with wheels without first spending twenty minutes suiting up in protective armor (i.e., helmets, pads, special eye wear, shoes).Riding in cars without seat belts. Which includes, but is not limited to: riding in the back of pick up trucks, and doubling the capacity of cars by riding on laps.Second-hand smoke. Few things bring back my pleasant 1977 memories of Disneyland than the smell of a stranger's cigarette. The Marathon candy bar!Letting kids run around the neighborhood and surrounding areas unsupervised. Everything not causing cancer.No commercials on Cable TV.Eating raw-egg-containing cookie dough without fear. Okay, that was only eight, but I'm tired and have to …

There's a new m&m in town.

We found these new m&ms in California called Strawberried Peanut Butter.

At first we thought they were only available in California. We were all excited to bring some back home to all the deprived citizens of Utah. Then we wised up after recalling our Florida debacle. Years ago on a trip to Florida, we brought back souvenirs from what we thought was a quaint little local crab restaurant. Turns out that Joe's Crab Shack was a nationwide chain, with one in every state. (Sorry about the Joe's Crab Shack t-shirt Dad.)

So even though we didn't get to be heroes and pass out new m&ms to all of you, the good news is these m&ms are everywhere. Yes, even in Utah.

Based on the name, I didn't think I'd like them much, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They are peanut butter m&ms with a shot of strawberry flavoring, which is pretty strong, so strong in fact, you can't taste the chocolate coating. I know it sounds kind of gross, but the flavor …

If you hate something, should you keep trying it?

I tell my kids that even though they hate yams, they should keep trying them, because one day, they might like them. They don't believe me, but one day they'll know I'm right. After all, people are the most adaptive animal on earth (probably). I'll bet we could learn to like the taste of vomit if we just keep trying it. Given the chance, or no other choice, people will eat anything, live anywhere, and do pretty much anything---and like it. They're like a weed. Proof positive: diet soda, living in Greenland, and BASE jumping.

Okay, on to my point: running. I hate running. I mean really, really hate it. I don't mean the fun type of running like chasing squirrels, I mean the brutal kind people do for exercise. The kind where people run just for the sake of running. That, me no likey. That shouldn't be a problem---after all, I'm an adult (sort of) and I realize that I'm under no obligation to like stuff. But running is the ideal exercise. I really wan…

What I Did On My Spring Vacation

Last weekend Reni and I took off for a very short vacation to the Bay Area. Reni had to go for work, and I decided to keep him company. The kids stayed with Grandma. The following is a brief summary of the sites we visited.
The Jelly Belly Factory! Here I am standing in front of Mr. Jelly Belly himself.
Ren totally wishes that Jelly Belly car was his commuter.
They wouldn't let us take pictures of the actual factory, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say it was pretty awesome. The only thing that would have made it better was allowing us to jump into a giant vat of jelly beans! Our trek through San Francisco. Here's the famous crooked street. It was really crooked. My handsome studly husband in the foreground and Alcatraz in the background Oh, and there's some ship too. Me, freezing. I knew it would be chilly, so before we left I bought a new jacket, which of course, I forgot to bring. Thank goodness Reni let me borrow his the whole time! Crab dinner. Our firs…

Go Go Meat!

Meat is good. Meat is filling. Meat is satisfying. Meat, more than any other dish, makes the meal. You can't invite friends over for dinner and not feature meat as the signature dish, as the Simpson's say, you can't make friends with salad. Bold words? You betcha---especially from a former vegetarian. I actually bought a meat pounder (yes, that is its actual name---hee hee) and I actually used it. I never thought I'd need one of those. I'm eating meat for dinner almost three times a week, and eating it for many a lunch! I've finally embraced my American.

I think if I had to say, the tipping point to my slide down to Meatville USA all began five years ago with a single piece of thick, crispy, smoky-flavored bacon. My hankering for meat and meat-like products bloomed slowly and consistently from there, until I became the cow-eatin' carnivore I am today. So if the tree-huggin', hemp-shoe-wearin', wheatgrass-eatin' vegans really want to eradicate o…

All I Wanted Was A Tree

Once upon a time we had many, many large trees that shaded the front of our house magnificently. So we chopped them all down. As soon as the last one was turned into sawdust we realized we really needed some trees in the front yard. So I went out last week and dug a hole in the middle of the lawn for the tree I'm going to buy. After I finished the hole I looked at it and thought it was a good hole. But then thought, "Who puts a tree in a just a dumb old hole these days?" Nobody, that's who. So I kept on digging until I'd created a nice rectangle. I cleaned up and went inside. Okay, you're right I didn't really clean up, but I did go inside. Then it rained. I looked out the window at my rectangle. It looked sad. It looked like a grave. It was the exact shape of a grave. Even my son thought so as he kept telling his friends to come check out our grave. So after the rain stopped (3 days later) I went and dug out more grass. I was going for a kidney bean sha…

How to Make the Zoo More Stimulating and Stimulate the Economy at the Same Time

Have you been to the zoo lately? Kind of boring huh? I recently went to the zoo with my son's Kindergarten class and can I just say, yawn. The most exciting thing, outside of the bus ride and lunch, was watching a zebra relieve himself. It would be much more exciting if the animals actually moved around and did things. Of course I don't think there's any PETA-acceptable way to make them do this for eight hours a day, seven days a week. The only animal we could humanely expect to entertain us for that long is a human. Thus leading to my suggestion. We get rid of all the lazy, do-nothing animals, and replace them with people in well-made animal costumes. The animals, or what we'd call "humanils," would be employees. They would be hired and paid just like any other job. Thus creating more jobs for people, thus stimulating the economy. They would be part time, so the zoo wouldn't have to take care of their medical needs. They would bring their own food and ta…

Maybe I'm Part of the Problem

You've heard it so many times it's become a cliche, boys love potty humor. I'm constantly asking my kids to stop with all the potty talk and my pleas generally go unheeded, but now I think I know why. In fact, I think a lot of it is probably my own fault.

They say that in the land of the blind, the one eye man is king. Well, likewise, I'm finding that in my house, where the funniest thing is to add the words "fart" "toot" or "burp" to the end of a sentence, I can be king. And all it takes, is some well-timed, basic, elementary fart jokes. No where else would this be the case. It's hard to resist the easy laughs. Now before you rush to judge me, consider the following example. Yesterday, Ryder was super excited and proud to tell us that he had just completed the following: he jumped from the chair, to the couch, then to the floor, and then, for the big finish, he tooted. I mean really, if they're going to set me up like that, how c…

DEAR BIG FAT HUMAN,

YOU THINK BUILDIN A HOUSE ON THE DIRT MAKE IT YOURS? GET REAL LADY. ITS US SNAKES WHO LET YOU LIVE HERE, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND. SNAKES HERE LONG FOR YOU WERE AND WILL BE HERE WAY AFTA ALL YOU BIG FAT HUMANS DISAPPEAR. SO GET OVER YOURSELF.THE OTHER SNAKE HAS A NAME BY THE WAY ITS SHEILA AND NOT THAT ITS ANY OF YOUR BIDNESS BUT SHEILA IS JUS A FRIEND. YOU CANT TELL ME WHO I CAN OR CAN'T HANG WIT. AND TELL THOSE THREE SMALLER HUMANS TO LEAVE US ALONE. NEXT TIME I SEE ONE OF EM COMIN AT ME WIT A SHOVEL THINGS GONNA GET MESSY. WE GONNA MAKE THAT SCENE IN INDIANA JONES LOOK LIKE A KIDS SHOW. I AINT LEAVIN. SHEILA AINT LEAVIN. YOURE BIG AND FAT AND HUMAN. FATTY FATTY HUMAN. YOURE FAT.
--GARDEN SNAKE "BUDDY"

Dear Garden Snake Buddy,

There is no delicate way to put this, so I'll be direct; it's time for you to leave. I'm sorry it's come to this, but after what I saw on Sunday, you've given me no choice.

We've had some good times over the past year or two. In a way, you've been like a pet to me. I remember last summer how you used to slither out of the crack under our porch and scare me in the morning. And last fall, when the kids cried because they thought the snake smashed in the middle of the road was you...what a relief it was to find you safe and sound in your little crack.

I think I've been very gracious letting you stay here all this time considering that you're a snake and all (no offense, but you know what I mean) Now I think you've taken advantage of my hospitality. I saw that other snake with you on Sunday. We thought we were looking at you, when you suddenly slid past us into the crack to join your "friend." No part of the understanding we had included yo…

I'm Giving Up Carrot Sticks for Candy Bars

I was at the Super Target and needed a snack for the ride home. I was going to buy candy, but at the last minute decided on a bag of "baby" carrots.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I opened the bag and started eating. I ate one, then another, then another. No surprises. Then in went the fourth carrot. Huge surprise. Huge unpleasant surprise. It had the texture of a rubber mat and the flavor of bark with an unpalatable mossy slime coating. Blech. I couldn't even choke it down, so I had to sideline it. I didn't want to eat anymore, but was starving, and I paid $1.89 for them so was going to eat my fill. On carrot #7, another unpleasant surprise. This one was identical to an old dried-out stick. Apparently, the Jolly Green Giant was using the term "baby" in the Benjamin Button sort of way. That was it. I was finished. Why didn't I buy candy? Candy rarely has surprises. But when it does have surprises, it's usually pleasant ones. I'm forever del…

Little Guy Turns 4---Faces Chuck E Cheese Fear

Ryder turned four on Saturday! He had a cousin birthday party at the local Chuck E Cheese (why didn't I open that franchise in Layton---I'd be swimming in money right now!). Chuck E was at the party, but you'll have to take my word for it, because as you may have noticed, he is suspiciously absent from the pictures. At no point was our little guy closer than 50 feet to the giant grotesque rodent. However, he did manage to be in the same room as Chuck E without shedding a single tear---major progress considering his once crippling phobia to people in oversized animal costumes.

Sweet New Bike! Check out the bow...courtesy of Daddy. Who knew he had bow making skills?
Here's the Autobot Cake! Okay, I cheated, that's a plastic toy on top.


Ryder had a blast and loved all the presents everyone brought!
Ryder is so excited to be four, because according to him, now he'll be able to take on four bullies at a time! That's my boy!

Legacy Parkway Trail Rocks!

Do you know where this picture was taken? Do you know who the person standing it it is? If you guessed Legacy Parkway Trail/Complete Stranger, then you were right on both counts.

We biked on the Legacy Parkway Trail the other day. I've wanted to take a ride on it since I first noticed its existence. Can I just say, it did not disappoint. It's a paved trail made for pedestrians and bikes and in some spots horses (blech). For the most part, it parallels the Legacy Parkway (what is a parkway anyway? Why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?) It is as flat as any road/trail I've ever been on in Utah. It doesn't have any drinking fountains or bathrooms. It's evidently 14 miles long. We wanted to bike the whole thing, but were headed into a ridiculous head-wind going south, so only went 10 miles each way. I had a bear of a time figuring out how to get on the dang thing, so I've included a list of accessibility points for your reading pleasure:
Farmington -…

What's Your Gender?

I always thought it was fairly obvious I was female until I donated blood last week. That's right I donated blood. Some lucky person who was in a transfusion-requiring accident last week had two cups of my special, secret formula of A+ blood. It must be good because the blood bank calls me constantly wanting more. (I shouldn't say anything, but just between us kids, the secret ingredients are Diet Pepsi and a surprisingly high level of carbohydrates).

So I was sitting behind the black curtains next to the phlebotomist, an older man with white hair, black-rimmed glasses and at least one missing tooth. He had to have been in his 70s. He was asking me all the routine questions, what's your name, your address, etc., when he asked me the oddest question. He asked me my gender. I stared at him for a moment, I thought it was a joke and waited for him to laugh. He just kept looking me in the eye, so I answered, "female." But for some reason when I answered, I posed it …

My One True Talent?

I may have discovered my one true talent. I believe everyone is born with at least one innate skill that they are just crazy good at, and that they just love doing (well, I'm still debating on the loving part, maybe they don't have to love it, in fact, perhaps it could be a talent they would hate doing).

I think it's my social and moral responsibility to discover what my true talent is. After all, I couldn't well deprive the world of me. I've been looking a good long time, and have had many false alarms, as my discovery yesterday may well turn out to be. Be that as it may, here it comes: it turns out I'm really good at pulling out loose teeth! Granted, I've only pulled out two, but if I do say so myself, I was amazing. It was similar to picking a flower. Just a firm grasp then, 'plick', tooth out...pain-free. Zero tears, zero tugging...just one single 'plick'. If you want, I will come over and pull out your kids' teeth. Just give me a…

Daylight Savings Can Kiss It

I hate daylight savings. Daylight savings is the dumbest invention since the Steam Buggy. It was impossible to sleep on Sunday night and even more impossible to wake up this morning. Even inebriated on a ridiculous amount of Diet Pepsi, I'm still ornery as all get out and looking for someone to blame.

Despite what all the crooked politicians tell you, messing with the clock twice a year isn't doing anybody any good. Please don't tell me it's saving energy; that's a myth. I woke up an hour earlier today and had to turn on all my lights, crank the space heater and fire up all the other appliances. So now instead of using all that energy an extra hour each night, I'm just using it an extra hour each morning.

Also, don't give me that milarky about how now with an extra hour of daylight you can work on your farm or play hide-and-seek outside an extra hour at night. Face it, you don't have a farm, and if you did, everyone knows farmers do their work in the morn…

Thirteen is Such a Fun Age

Stella turned 13 years old on Tuesday. She doesn't look a day over 12. I told her she was 91 in human years, but she didn't seem to care. In fact, she's really taking the whole 13th birthday thing in stride. I thought she'd be a bit more reactionary, but no.

For her birthday, we took her to Petsmart and let her pick out anything she wanted. Well, not anything. Those rawhide bones you see on the bottom shelf were like $30, so we had to limit her to selections from items on the middle shelf.

After that, we went up to the mountains for a cold windy hike. She loved it! She was like a pup again. It's amazing what a little fresh air and $78 dollars worth of medication can do!

The boys collected armfulls and coatfulls of rocks. When I asked them to stop, they claimed they were gathering them for Stella for her birthday. How could I argue with that? The car is still full of rocks; if anybody needs some let me know.

After the walk, Stella continued the celebration with a long n…

One Down Nineteen to Go!

Despite all our protests, our little guy is growing up; he lost his first tooth yesterday. He discovered it was loose in his usual dramatic fashion. He bumped it with the toothbrush, noticed it was not behaving as a tooth should, and assumed he'd damaged it. Then he freaked out. He was sobbing hysterically and kept asking me when it would stand up again. I finally realized he had a loose tooth--duh! Then all it took was one small comment about the tooth fairy bringing money, and the tears instantly turned off. He was excited. Of course the next few days were interesting. He was extremely sensitive about what he would eat or even try to eat. I had no idea you could cut a McDonald's hamburger into so many tiny pieces. I had no idea someone would consider a McDonald's hamburger softer than bread. Well, maybe I should have known that; those kid burgers are disturbingly soft.

The first night he asked me if I was excited about his loose tooth. I answered, "Yes and no. Yes,…

My Upcoming Midlife Crisis

Last week I was watching TV and a commercial for wrinkle cream came on. My 5 year old turned to me and said, "Mom, you need that."

I guess it's obvious, even to a five year old, that I'm not getting any younger.

I figure a midlife crisis could strike at anytime. Instead of waiting around for it, I've decided to buckle down and get it over with. Like all great crises, I'm going to take my time and really plan this one out.

I could trade in my44 year old man for two 22 year olds. But if I did, I would actually have to start doing stuff. Like pretending to be interested in boring work stories and going wake boarding every Saturday. One 22 year old would be exhausting, let alone two. And I'm not even sure what wake boarding is. Scratch that one.

Maybe I'll start using words like "dude" and "redonculous". Oh wait, I'm already saying those things. Maybe I'll start dying my hair, oh yeah, I do that too.

Hmmm, this is tougher than I th…

Why Add Brown to a Rainbow?

Is it me or are rainbow sprinkles not as pretty as they used to be? When did they add brown sprinkles to the rainbow mix? When I hear the word 'rainbow' I think of a traditional rainbow, which includes red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. I have never seen a rainbow that included brown.

It's not that I'm against the color brown. I think brown sprinkles look lovely by themselves. I'm not saying they can't be paired with other colors either, like other shades of brown, or white, or pink, or even turquoise. But in the rainbow mix, blech. It doesn't work. All the other colors are light and bright and then you have this dark chocolate brown thrown in. It clashes. I've looked everywhere for sprinkles without brown and can't find any. I can find other types of shakable candy confections without brown, like the nonpareils, candy confetti, and colored sugar, but not in the traditional 'jimmy' style sprinkle.

I was about to the point of skippi…

Throw out Your Kid's Art Projects

Are you debating what to do with all the art projects your precious little ones make at school and bring home to show you? Do you go into fits of guilt at the thought of throwing them away? Do you think you're doing your kids a favor by saving them? If so, I hope the following will enlighten you.

When I was in third grade, we were given an assignment to do a water color picture. Having recently read the novel, Bambi, I chose him as my model. I painstakingly sketched Bambi amongst a dense forested backdrop. Then I carefully, oh so carefully, painted him and the rest of the page. I don't remember ever taking so much time or making so much of an effort on any other art project before or since. I knew that this picture would be the one. This would be the one that would make everyone realize what a talented artist I truly was. I seriously thought about sending it into a book publisher so they could put it on the cover of the Bambi book.

After it dried and I received my grade I broug…

I'm Going to Fake It

I've never been a fan of housework. When I was a kid, after running out of ways to avoid it, I conjured little fantasies in order to endure my Saturday chore list. While I was dusting the living room, I used to pretend I was Alice from the Brady Bunch. It helped pass the time and made it more bearable, but made the chore last twice as long. Part-way into my cleaning, Mrs. Brady would usually die (ah, the tragedy). Then, one night after the funeral, Mr. Brady would see me with my hair down and fall madly in love with me...at long last! (I always thought Mike Brady was hot---pre-perm of course.) While we'd dated, he made the kids do most of the cleaning. After the wedding, we hired a new maid. She looked a lot like the former Mrs. Brady, but surly and not as attractive. With all this drama going on, my cleaning rate was of course extremely slow. Maybe that's why my mom seldom asked me to do much cleaning.

The Alice fantasies don't really help me endure housework anymore.…