Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Has Happened To Faith?

     I read a story on the internet the other day about a little boy who had an after-life experience.  Apparently, little Colton Burpo had emergency surgery for an appendicitis and during the operation his spirit slipped away and he went to heaven.  When Colton woke up and told his parents about what he had experienced they humored him, but when he started talking about things he couldn't know about like a miscarriage his mother had had and the great-grandfather who had passed away thirty years before Colton was born, they began to wonder. They have written a book about Colton's experience.
     Now, I have not read the book, so I don't know if it is believable or not, nor am I endorsing that anyone read it. What I wanted to talk about was the comments that some people posted about the story.  I expected people to question whether or not it was true or to share their own after-life experience, what I didn't expect was the level of hostility towards people with Christian beliefs.  Post after post were down right hostile.  A few people called the parents liars who were only trying to make a buck, even though I read they were only keeping a small portion of the money they made and were using the rest to help their small church. Others attributed the boy's story to religious brainwashing.  I mean really, if it was that easy to brainwash kids, mine would be more obedient and less smart mouthy.  It is open season on anyone of the Christian faith.
     Since when did it become a bad thing to try and instill in our children a sense of morality and values? What's wrong with being honest and hardworking?  These are just a few of the traits that I associate with being a Christian.  It is okay and politically correct to be an atheist, a Muslim, a pagan, a Wiccan, to practice voodoo or Santeria, but heaven help you if you are a Christian.
     We are being bullied into buying holiday trees instead of Christmas trees, and we can no longer have manger scenes on public property, Christmas vacation and Easter break are now called winter recess and spring recess.  I have read accounts of businesses that have been forced to take down any kind of reference to any religious holiday and have forbidden employees to wear Christian jewelery.   What is up with that?!
   Well guess what people, I am a Christian woman and I don't care who knows it. I want Christmas trees, I want Easter vacation and if other Christians want to wear cross earrings as a sign of their faith let them.
     I can't believe that our country has fallen so far so fast. Anything and every thing goes except displays of faith.  How did this happen?  Their was a time when people embraced Christianity because, no matter what denomination you were, it made you a better person.  Their were standards to uphold.  We have lost that.  After 9/11, folks rushed back to church, I think to try and make sense of what happened, to mourn together and to feel as if we weren't alone. Will it take another 9/11 to wake people up again, or maybe a natural disaster? I wonder what awaits us if we don't stop and reevaluate where our country is headed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ten Reasons Why He Loves Me

     Well, it's Wednesday and I am off to the airport to pick up the hubby. Lucky for him I haven't had any arguments in my head, at least not yet.  Sunday night before he left for Cali, I told him that since I had done a blog on "Ten Reasons I Love My Husband," it would be nice if I could post ten reasons he loves me.  Of course, knowing him the way I do, I had already had the whole conversation in my head before the words ever left my mouth.  And right on cue he said, "Do I have to?"  And he was wearing that look, you know the one, like when you've gained a few pounds and you both know it and yet you ask, "Do I look fat in these pants."  and you can see him thinking, if I say no you look great, she'll know I'm a liar, but if I say, yeah, they're a little tight, she'll kill me in my sleep the first chance she gets.  There's no way out of this someone kill me now.  That look. He was a good sport though, and these are the reasons he gave.  I've included the translation just to make it easier for you.

You take care of me=I can't figure out the remotes and I can't find the basketball games without you.
You hold down the fort.=Without you the lights, gas, water, phone and cable wouldn't work and a foreclosure notice would be on the door. 
Your always( most of the time) positive.=He added the (most of the time) with fear in his eyes.
You smell good.=He tells me that a lot and I really like it.
I like the way you laugh=He has never told me that ever.
You're a good mom=That made me want to cry and be an even better mom.
You're honest and a good example for our family=This touched my heart.
You're my best friend=I was totally falling in love all over again.
If I got to runaway, you're the person I would want to run away with.=Let's go, we're outta here baby!
You sing good. haha.=Then he had to ruin it.
I want to die before you.=See 1 and 2.
You pick me up at the airport every week=Well who else in going to do it?
You're cute.=He redeemed himself with this last one.
     Did you notice that he actually came up with thirteen reasons why he loves me, all by himself.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Diet and Exercise the Way It Should Be

     Have you ever noticed that every woman's magazine on the face of the earth has a new diet for us to try every single month. Not to mention the "How does Kim keep her shape?" or "Carrie works hard to keep her size two body."  I mean really?  Are we all supposed to be a size two.  Do we have no worth if we're a size four, or heaven forbid a fourteen?  Their is a strong bias against women who are larger than what the media tells us is acceptable.  For instance, how many t.v. shows and movies have perfect and beautiful young women with chubby or old men.  What's up with that?! 
       I really don't understand, or enjoy, the whole diet and exercise thing.  I know it's good for you, and it's good for your heart, and it improves your quality of life, blah, blah, blah.  I mean I have tried so many different diets and exercise programs and routines in my life I would probably be a millionaire if I could get all my money back. I feel like that's what it's really all about. How much money can the diet and exercise folks make off of us. We all want the easy way and their is no easy way.  You have to work your butt off, literally, and you have to starve.  Is their anyone that doesn't know that?  And I don't need the government to force movie theaters to post the calorie count of a bucket of popcorn. I know it's about a weeks worth of calories, that's what makes it so fun.
      And if nature wanted us to exercise we should be able to run on the treadmill for thirty minutes and lose five pounds. Now that would be worth it. If you had to lose 25lbs. you could work out five days in a row and you're good to go.  Or you could skip a meal and lose 2-3lbs.  (I allotted more weight to the exercise because, after all, if you're going to get sweaty it should count a little more.)  So many more of us would do it if you could see the results that much sooner. Don't you think?
    Why doesn't someone invent a pill that you take before exercising and it makes you burn off 10 times the calories.  Now that would be worth the money.  Come on modern science, my soft and puffy self is waiting.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Sarah's House" From a HGTV Addict

     I have to admit it, I am an HGTV addict.  Their was a time I could watch it 24/7. I have learned so much.  I tiled my bathroom and my kitchen and patio room in Cali. from what I learned on that station.  I still love it, but they have too many real estate shows on for me now. Thanks goodness or I would never get anything done.
      One of my absolute favorite shows is "Sarah's House."  Sarah Richardson is too cute for words, and with her loyal sidekick Tommy, they buy houses and totally redo them.  It is fascinating to watch and what's more I just know Sarah and I would be the best of friends if ever we should meet. :)
     Seriously, I really love her design style.  She is not too cluttery (spell check is yelling at me and saying that is not a word, but today it is.) Cluttery, cluttery, cluttery. Take that spellcheck!  Back to Sarah, in season two Sarah remodeled what is called a back-split.  It is a house with four levels, including a basement, but from the outside of the house it looks like a one-story.  She is pregnant during that season and they finished just in time for her to deliver. It is fun watching her get bigger through the season. And I love, love, love the laundry room.
     In the third season Sarah redid a farm, including adding a 1500 sq. ft. addition.  It was so cool to see it progress.  I have my DVR set to record the show and as if that isn't enough I can go online to HGTV, type Sarah's house, into the search bar and it will pull up a window that says Full Episodes. I can click on that and watch the various episodes from both seasons.  I am in heaven.  If you have twenty-three minutes check it out.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 25, 2011

White Bean and Chicken Chili = Yummy!

     Here is the White Bean and Chicken Chili recipe that so many of you asked for.  It is yummy and really easy. Don't let the ingredient list scare you off.  You just toss it all in a pot, I even toss in my chicken breasts frozen right out of the freezer. I like that.  I tend to forget to defrost. 
White Bean Chicken Chili
6 cans of white navy beans, drained (or about 1 lb. dried white beans--soak them overnight or boil for 1 hour or until tender)
2 c. water or chicken broth (or more depending how thick you want it)
1 jar of salsa
1 can green chilies
2-4 chicken breasts
1/2 onion, diced (or you can use dried)
1 c. shredded colby or cheddar cheese
1-2 cloves garlic (or you can use powdered)
1 T. cumin (or more, I like a lot of cumin)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 T. McCormick Chicken Base (or you can use chicken bouillon)
Cayenne Pepper if you like more of a spicy soup
Garnish with fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocados, fresh lime squeezed & more shredded cheese.
Put all of the above ingredients into a large pot. Simmer until beans and chicken are tender and cooked through (I just throw my chicken breasts in raw and let them cook in the water. When they are cooked I take them out and chop them up. They give the broth more of a chicken flavor). Garnish with the above ingredients. Yum!!
      I had to go back and copy and paste this because for our crowd I always start with at least 12 cans of beans sometimes more.  Most of you won't need to feed the kind of crowd we have here.  In putting all of my recipes into my new computer program I smile to myself when the first ingredient is "One ten pound bag of potatoes." It makes it sound like I'm cooking for an army, which I am.  On behalf of my army, have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Few Things I Miss In California

     Our family went to In and Out last night for dinner.  That may not seem like a big deal to all of my Cali. friends, but to transplanted Californians who craved the taste of In and Out, and we're denied for so long, it is special.  You see the In and Out in Centerville only opened a few months ago.  Before that the only In and Out was way over in Draper.  And if you have read my blogs for any amount of time you know how we Utahans feel about leaving our neighborhoods for anything, even the delicious taste of a double-double, fries and a chocolate shake.  It was one of the things you take for granted when you live in Cali. and you can get it any time.
       A few of the other things I miss is the chicken salad and fried zucchini from Archibald's Burgers in good ole Ontario.  You just can't find good fried zucchini here. It is very disappointing.  And the chicken salads with sliced egg and a whole, chicken breast that was hot off the grill, on top of cold lettuce with ranch dressing. Yummm!  I'm sorry Utah, but cold chicken on lettuce, what is up with that? 
     And while I'm talking differences, the folks here in Utah seem to think that Root beer is a substitute for Dr. Pepper. Not! I can't tell you how many times we've gone to a restaurant and asked the server if they have Dr.Pepper and they say, "No, but we have root beer."  I can see if someone asked for Coke and they said we only have Pepsi, or Sprite for Sierra Mist, but root beer for Dr. Pepper.  Totally not the same.
     And I really miss Weinerschnitzel's chili-cheese dogs. We have a Weinerschinitzel, but it's way up in Ogden and if you've been reading my blog you know that...never mind. We have an El Pollo Loco here also, but it's way down in Lehi.  That is way out of the neighborhood.  And the lack of really good Mexican food is depressing. How I wish I could say we have a Carmen's here, but alas, Azusa, Cali. is the only one anywhere and it was worth having to face the owner, who still wears her hair in a beehive, who when she pointed you to your table, it felt like you were being sent to the naughty corner in grammar school.  "Yes, Mrs. Beehive I'll sit in the corner, but could you please, if it's not too much trouble, bring me some of the nachos covered in melted cheese and some of that to die for sour cream dressing? Please I won't ask for anything else, I promise."  Seriously, the hubby and I started eating there when we were dating and the first time she smiled at us was right before we moved out of state. I guess it takes some people longer to warm up than others.
     In case you are thinking that I (we) are obsessed with our food, let me tell you we are, totally, I wouldn't deny it.  Our family can feast on a ten course meal, and be so full that we can hardly move, and it is inevitable someone will say, "So what's for dinner tomorrow night?" 
     I suppose we should reel it in a little bit and every now and then we try, but then we get hungry again.  Speaking of being hungry, did I mention Northwoods Inn?  Oh my gosh, the green salad there is sooo good!!!  And the cheese toast!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Next?

     Have you ever stopped to think about what the future may be like?  I began to think about this when I read about new technology that is being developed in the computer world.  According to the article I read, our PC's will no longer have to have the capacity to store large amounts of stuff, ie. pictures, games, grocery lists, etc.  Whatever you store on your computer will be stored in what they are referring to as "the cloud," kind of like a cell phone signal, it will all be available at the touch of a button for instant recall.  No more downloading stuff onto DVDs for safekeeping.
     I have also heard that folks are working to make the CPUs a fraction of the size they are now and many times faster and more powerful.
     Can you imagine what technology will be like in fifty years?  I wonder if their will still be libraries, or will they be obsolete?  What about bookstores?  I love bookstores and I'm going to tell you all a little secret, at the risk of being labeled a total nerd.  When the hubby and I would sneak away for a night or two, when our kids were young, I didn't care where we went as long as their was a book store near by.  Some of our best weekends away were when he would sleep, or watch sports on t.v., and I would go to the book store.  I could spend hours there.  My heart beats faster when I enter a book store.  
     I wonder if future generations will know the thrill of picking up a book made out of paper and ink and thumbing through it or will we be giving them e-readers in their stockings at Christmas time?
      I have to admit that I have a Kindle from amazon, for those of you that don't know what that is, it is an e-reader.  I can go on Amazon and find a book I want to read and with one click and less than 30 seconds I have that book on my Kindle.  It is very convenient when you want to go on a trip and you don't want to pack ten pounds worth of books.  However, I still love picking up a real book and reading it.  It is something I don't ever want to do away with completely.  There is something magical about books and I have felt that way since I was ten and I saved my babysitting money to buy the complete series of Little House On The Prairie books, one at a time.
     I embrace advancements in technology, most of them anyway, but I hope we don't lose a part of our history as humans along the way.  The printed word has done more to advance humanity than any other invention I can think of.  Lets not let that slip away.  If your child or grandchild has a birthday coming up or some other kind of celebration, may I humbly suggest a book as a gift.  Or a gift certificate to a book store.  Remember "when you give a child a book you give them the world."   

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It Always Snows On the Tulips

     I woke up this morning to about an inch of snow on the ground and with the white stuff still falling.  I know it won't last long because it's already about 38 degrees outside and the snow isn't sticking to the streets.  Winter time is a funny thing.  It starts to sink and then comes back up to the surface, bobs a few times and then goes down for the count.
     Having lived in California all my life until we moved to Utah, I find the change in seasons here fascinating and every year is different.  This year for example we were having an amazing display of fall leaves and I had been waiting and watching for the ornamental pear trees to change colors.  Their leaves turn the most beautiful colors, it is one of my favorite things to look forward to in the fall.  However, they are one of the last trees to change.  Just when they started we had an cold spell that lasted for over a week.  It came before Thanksgiving even. It ended our beautiful fall.  After that, the leaves that had frozen turned brown and fell off.  I was so disappointed.
     Now here we are waiting on spring time, waiting for those one hundred tulips I planted and we have snow again.  When I first moved here a dear friend told me, "It always snows on the tulips."  I have thought about those words of wisdom a lot since then and I realize how much of life is like that.  Just when you think you know exactly how things are going to go everything changes.  Sometimes it's big things like a job loss, or an unexpected pregnancy, or a death in the family.  Sometimes it is little things like a broken down car, or an illness.  Life can be hard and feel down right hostile sometimes, but the days pass and wounds heal and when you just can't take anymore something wonderful happens and it gives us hope that things will get better. 
     Remember my dear friends, "It always snows on the tulips," but the tulips do come.  Sooner or later, springtime will be here and the grass will turn green and the trees will bud with little leaves, the air will be warm and sweet.  We will know that we made it through another dark and cold winter when the tulips are here and the snow has past and we have sunny days ahead.  You really can't ask for more than that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Deals to Meals fixation

     Today I'm once again headed to Walmart to stock up on a few things.  Mainly boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  I love chicken.  I could eat it every night, but the family would complain.
      This week a local store has their 3lbs bag of b/s chicken breasts on sale for $3.99.  That is a huge savings from the $6.97 that I usually pay.  Walmart has that price matching policy so I can go there and I don't have to drive all over town.  I subscribe to a web site called "Deals to Meals."  It is really cool and I've been doing it for almost two years now.  I pay $4.95 a month and the girl that does the web site goes over all the ads weekly and posts what the best deals are.  She even does a weekly menu, wherein she takes the sale items and makes meals with them so you can feed your family at a fraction of the cost.  I don't follow her menu always because she likes things that I would never cook with like fresh ginger, not going there.  But I do use some of her recipes quite often, White Bean and Chicken Chili.  It is delicious.  The family loves it.  Another of our favs is Cheesy  Manicotti. The homemade Cinnamon Roll recipe is to die for and I can use my new mixer when I make them. Yippy.
     I am not a big fan of signing up for monthly things because I lose my enthusiasm and money goes to waste (don't bring up my gym membership in front of the hubby.  It's a sore subject.) However, I use this every single week and every week I save the monthly membership fee and then some. For example last week we bought a ton of small Yoplait yogurts, we eat them like crazy. I think in all we bought about 70 yogurts and we saved 11 cents on each one. That's a savings of $7.70 on only one item. This week we have already bought 9 bags of the b/s chicken breasts and saved $26.82 and I"m going back to get 25 more bags. That means a total savings of $101.32.  And that's just on the chicken.  I also buy sour cream like crazy and produce and soda and tons of other things when they are on sale and save big time. So I figure it is worth the $4.95 a month to save so much more.
     Deals to Meals is now in all of the western states from Texas to Washington from Montana to So. Cal. Check it out if you're interested in saving and trying some new meals.  Let me know what you think.  Just so you know I do not get a kick back. haha. I just wanted to share a money saving tip with my friends.  Facebook me or leave a comment if you are interested in the White Bean and Chili recipe, sooo good!
I know I'm obsessed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Madness

     In case you didn't know March Madness has begun.  At our house that's not a big deal. It's HUGE!!!  It means the adult kids are here almost every night, with all the grandkids and spouses.  We even have a few friends stop by just to catch up on all the action. Their is hooting and hollering and everyone is comparing their brackets.
      Of course that means we have to come up with some March Madness worthy meals.  That's really the hard part because we have gone way past cheap pizza in this house.  Not that the kids are against it, but the adults have moved on. I think some homemade chili may be in order, but then we all have to suffer the consequences of that meal, if you know what I mean.
     It's crazy here, their could be between 10 to 20 people vying for space on the couch. Their is yelling and screaming and cheering. All in all, it's a great time. Loud, but great.  This brings our family closer.  They are still talking about how well or how badly they did last year with their brackets.  
      I don't mind watching the games, but I can get in some okay reading time too. I say okay because it can be hard to concentrate with all the hooting and hollering going on. So lets give a cheer for good old March Madness. Yippy! and bring on the hot wings. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


     Do you ever have those times when your mind wanders and you start to think of the 'what if's' of life?  Like what if their was a natural disaster here, what would I do?  Or what if my family was in a bad car accident?  Or what if my house caught fire?  The last one has been on my mind lately, don't ask me why.  In my imagination my family is always outside safe and sound, so I am left to try and cull my many prized possessions down to a manageable and portable amount of stuff.  After all, I can't see myself trying to get the piano out the door.  As you can see I've thought about this for awhile.
     First would be my laptop because, well, because I'm secretly in love with it.  It is my best friend, it always agrees with me and with the stroke of a few keys it tells me I'm wonderful. I like that. And it has all my stories on it and if those ever got lost I would freak out. I have heart palpitations just thinking about it. 
     Second would be a painting done by my hubby's grandfather, we all called him Pa.  He was a gentle and kind man who would bounce the grandkids on his knee and sing a silly song that went "Whoopsy doodidly doodidly day whoopsy doodidly day," while he was doing it. How could you not love a man who would do that.  At some point in his life he took up painting and I was given one of them.  The painting is of a pathway between some trees with a slightly open gate leading somewhere special.  It reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost called "The Road Not Taken."  I always loved that poem because I took the road not taken and it has made all the difference in my life, so the painting is very special to me.
     The third thing I would take is actually a collection of pictures that my daughter gave me for Christmas a year ago.  It touched my heart that she would go to so much trouble to take pictures without me knowing and frame them for me as a gift.  There is one of each of my ten kids and the pictures themselves are beautiful.
     Most of what I have is replaceable and when it comes right down to it, other than my family and these few sentimental items, I would be okay.   What would you save if you had to?

        "The Road Not Taken"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

By Robert Frost

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Arguments In My Head

     This morning I will make my weekly trip to the airport to pick up the hubby.  He works out of state and so every Wednesday morning I rush through my daily routine and try to time my arrival just right.  I enjoy the drive to the airport most of the time.  I get to listen to my music without anyone complaining.  It's a pretty nice drive no matter what time of year, and it gives me time to gather my thoughts.  This is where the trouble starts. 
     I start making a mental list of all the things I want to tell my husband. Sometimes I have to tell him things that he doesn't want to hear.  And because we have been married for so long and I know him so well, I know exactly what he is going to say in response.   Here's what it's like.
     Hubby: Hey, how's it going.
     Me: Great, except I forgot to pay a bill and now we have a late fee.
     Hubby: Ugh, I don't like paying late fees! Why didn't you pay it on time?
     Me:  Because you told me not to pay anymore bills until we got that check.
     Hubby: But not if we were going to get charged a late fee. Sheesh!
     Me: Anytime you want to take over paying the bills let me know. I've been doing it for thirty years and I'm  tired of it.
     Hubby: I knew that was coming.
     Me: Okay, you big jerk!
      About this time I actually get to the airport and I'm ticked.  The hubby gets in and says, "How's it going?"
      And I say angrily, "fine, and if you want to pay all the bills from now on go ahead."
      The hubby looks at me with that deer-in-the-headlights-look and says, "Okay." In a tone that says he has no intention of asking what the heck I'm talking about.
     After a few minutes of silence he says, "Olive Garden on the way home?"
     When you think about it, it's a lot easier this way, at least for him. He doesn't have to participate in the arguments in my head.  He only has to make up for what he doesn't know he's done to make me mad in the first place and he's really good at that.  All in all it works for us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seinfeld Lives On, At Least At Our House

     As anyone who read my blog from yesterday can tell we are Seinfeld fans.  "No Soup For You!"  The funny thing about that is the hubby and I never once watched it while it was on TV.  Can you believe it?  Not once the whole nine years that it ran, did we watch it.  When the show ended it felt like the whole country was in mourning.  My mom and dad and my sister and her husband talked about it a lot.  The hubby and I looked at each other and said "What have we been doing for the last nine years?" He shrugged and said, "I don't know."  That's what he says for everything so I'm pretty sure I've got that right.
      I'll tell you what we were doing, he was working and I was taking care of kids.  In 1989 I had five kids nine and under and if you've ever tried to wrestle five kids into bed on a nightly basis you know what that is like. It is never ending potty runs and last minute sips of water.  By the time the show had run its course in 1998 I had eight kids.  You can see why we never sat down to watch the show.
     Thank heaven for syndication.  We were able to catch up after the fact and we came to realize something, life is a Seinfeld episode.  My mother-in-law was sharing an experience the other day and I told my husband,  it's the big salad episode!  You remember when George was mad because he didn't get the credit for buying the big salad.  One of our favorite episodes is, "The Fire," when Kramer reenacts the fight he has on the bus while driving Toby's baby toe to the hospital.  Jerry says, "You kept making the stops!?" and Kramer says, "They kept ringing the bell."  We have laughed so hard we cried.  And one of our most mimicked lines is the famous, "You've got to see the baby," said in that nerve-grating New Yorker accent.  We've said that a lot this year since we have added three new grandbabies.  At least once a week we refer something we said, did or heard to the show.  It makes us happy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

No Tulips For You!!!

     As I mentioned before my hubby and I laboriously planted about one hundred tulip bulbs last fall.  It was hard work.  The soil here in Utah is clay and very hard and in November it is cold and gooey. We had to divide it up into about two weeks worth of work because we have bark covered with thick landscape fabric which we, for each bulb planted, had to cut a hole and then dig out the earth to a depth of about six or eight inches, plant the bulb and then put the dirt back in the hole.  It is exhausting, dirty work.
     Planting tulips was my idea and the hubster was a rather unwilling helpmate.  I kept telling him how great it would be when spring time came and we had a mass of bright red tulips bursting forth like little fairies ushering in a new season.  I didn't really say that because he would have just looked at me with that look, the one that says 'I can't believe you just said that, out loud.' I did talk it up though.  It gave me another reason to look forward to spring. 
     So here we are the middle of March and there is absolutely no sign of any tulips, not one.  What's up with that!? We worked so hard. We deserve to see the fruits of our labor.  Where are they? Did we do something wrong?  How can all of them not come up? Is it some kind of tulip conspiracy?  I need some answers!  WHERE ARE MY TULIPS?!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yaaayyy!!! It's Time to Spring Ahead

     This Sunday in the time change everyone set your clocks ahead one hour.  That means that we will be getting up earlier and the sun will stay up later.  It is a sure sign that spring is here and summer is just around the corner. 
     I've been dreading this coming Sunday since we turned the clocks back last fall.  I don't know why.  It's not the hour of sleep we lose in the morning, well, okay, it is a little bit.  Why would anyone want to get up earlier than normal, but that's not it entirely.  After giving it a lot of thought I think it is because when we change the clocks it makes me realize that time is flying by way too fast for me.  Next week is the end of third term for the kids at school. That means we have only ten weeks or so until summer vacation.  That means I will have all the kids home all day long, everyday, all day for the whole stinking summer.  Not that their is anything wrong with that, but I want to give you a sample of what my day in going to be like. "Their is nothing to eat in this whole stupid house!" Their is nothing to do." "I'm sooo board!" "Why can't we go to the Roy Pool everyday?" "Their is nothing to eat in this whole dumb house!" "Can we get Taco Bell for lunch?" Why can't all ten of my friends come in the house and play all day long?"  "It's too hot to go outside."  "Why don't you buy some good food for once?!"  You get the picture.
     I wish I was one of those mothers that can't wait for summer so I can spend every waking moment with my sweet, wonderful, obedient, kind, non-nagging, always happy children, but I'm not.  So, there it is.  I love my kids, but I like them better when they're in school. That probably makes me sound like a bad mom. I don't think so.  I think it makes me honest.     

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Call Me Rachel, or Not!

     As a mother and a wife, I have spent many hours and a lot of money seeking a state of perfection in a multitude of areas such as a smooth running system for laundry, keeping things of invaluable worth where I can find them when I need them, for example tape, scissors, a pen that works, band-aids, the tiny travel packs of tissues for your purse and tweezers.  I have also struggled to find a way to keep all of our bathrooms clean at all times (preferably without me having to clean them) but none of the above has happened.
    And yet, I am bound and determined to find a way to make my grocery shopping and meal preparation a seamless and exact science.  I want to be like Rachel Ray, go to my fridge and open it to find every single ingredient that I could possibly need to make a meal. Inside would be meat already defrosted, crisp heads of lettuce, not the wilty kind I usually find in the back of the crisper in my fridge.  I would have cheeses that I never heard of and vegies that are the proper color and don't smell funny.  In my vision, I would never be in the middle of making dinner and discover that I am missing one major ingredient.  I can't understand it when that happens because I spend my life at Walmart, but it seems to happen all the time.  That's why I was excited when I found a computer program where you can input all your recipes then select the meals you want to eat for the week, hit shopping list and print out a list with everything you need.  My dream of organized meals was within my grasp!  Their was one small hiccup however, you need to have a computer science degree to operate it.  I have figured out how to add recipes to 'My Cookbook' but I haven't figured out how to get what I select to the shopping list.  Nor have I figured out how to select meals for the week and put them in the menu planner.  I have to tell you that the reason I bought this particular program was because of the "easiest to use" rating it had been given and all I have to say to that is THEY LIE!!!   In all fairness I am not that computer savvy but sheesh it should be easier than this.  I feel like I'm breaking into the Pentagon's Main Frame.  I can feel my dream of organized shopping and complete meals slipping away, but I'm not giving up yet.  I vow to conquer this somehow, someway if it's the last thing I do. I will achieve perfection in at least one aspect of my crazy, hectic life.  I'll let you know next week how many time we got fast food.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Few Of Jeff Foxworthy's Utah Jokes with Disclaimers

     I wish I could claim these, but alas, they are the work of Jeff Foxworthy. There were many more but these were the funniest.
     If 'vacation' means going anywhere south of Salt Lake City for the weekend, you live in Utah.

     This makes me laugh. When we moved here we were so surprised when people would say things like "that is all the way in Salt Lake."  Or "that is way up in Ogden." When we lived in Cali. we would drive forever on crowded freeways just to go to dinner or the mall.  It was just a part of life there.  Here is feels like we have everything we need within minutes so when someone in our family wants to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Roy, lately I have to admit to thinking, but that is so far.  It takes about 15 minutes.  I guess I'm becoming a true Utahan. :)
     If you install security lights on your house and garage but leave both unlocked, you live in Utah.

     Everyone knows you only install those security lights so that when you take out the trash at night you don't have to mess with the outside light switch when your hands are full. Duh!

     If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Utah.

     I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone offered to go home with you and help with what ever project you are working on.  That is just the kind of place this is.

     If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in Utah.

     This is soooo true. Since we moved here their has been major road construction every where.  On the 15 freeway they have been widening it. I think it is a century long project. Got to keep folks working.  And for those of us that lived through the Antelope street widening project, hurray, it is done.  Why they chose to widen Antelope and tear up Gordon at the same time, when those are the two main streets to Walmart, I'll never know.

     If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly' you live in Utah.

     Ten degrees is a 'little chilly' but you have to understand that the air in Utah is so dry, that unless the wind is blowing anything 20 degrees or over feels good.  We sleep with our bedroom window open even in the winter.  If it got really cold, say 6 degrees we only leave it open a crack but still.  To us anything over sixty is air conditioning weather.
      I guess this means we have become true Utahans except in the way we drive, but that is a whole other blog.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


     I have to say that I am nervous and afraid when it comes to politics these days.  I don't understand how we could have gotten so far off track from where we should be.  I am beginning to think that all of our elected officials for the last fifty years have blown it big time and I'm mean Dems and Repubs equally.  And I think we as the citizens have let it slip by without saying a word.
     I read some statistics yesterday that said since 2001 we (the U.S.) have lost almost 50,000 manufacturing plants that employed over 500 people each.  Think about that, and that is just since 2001. Now Dell  and Ford are closing plants and sending the jobs to China. Manufacturing is what has given America its edge since the Industrial Revolution.  Manufacturing is one of the reasons the North won the Civil War.  It is something that should never should have been allowed to slip through our fingers.  Our money is now being exported to China at a rate never before seen in our history.  It is almost a four to one ratio. For every dollar we bring in four are going out.
      In California, their is a faction of people that want to abolish saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school every morning because it is offending to the Latino students. What's up with that!? If I moved to Mexico I would not be offended at the sight of a Mexican flag. And if I was there illegally, I sure as heck would keep my mouth shut and not be demanding my "rights" because I wouldn't want to spend any time in a Mexican jail.  I am all for treating people with respect and dignity but this political correctness thing has gone too far. That being said, we should have changed the immigration laws years ago to make it fair for those who wanted to come to our country for a better life.  How can our country charge such exorbitant fees to file paper work when some of the people in Mexico only make 500 dollars a year. It is elitist and wrong for us to only let in the very wealthy and well connected.  We have left them no choice but to over run our borders.
     And about our borders, if our elected officials refuse to secure them, you can bet that our enemies know that, and sooner or later the Taliban or Al Qaeda are going to come across with some kind of dirty bomb.  While we are all being molested at the airports, terrorists will have free reign.
     And if you want to talk about elitist, just look at our elected officials and I mean all of them.  Our founding fathers would never have given themselves a top-notch health care plan and let the rest of us suffer with mediocre health care that we can not afford.  They have forgotten that they work for us.
     All of this and so many other things make me want to step out onto our back deck and scream at the top of my lungs, "IS THERE ANY SIGN OF INTELLIGENT LIFE LEFT OUT THERE!?"
     I apologize if this isn't what you all were expecting this morning, but sometimes I just have to get it off of my chest.      

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Things I Think When I Should Be Sleeping.

     Do you ever have a hard time sleeping at night?  I do.  No matter how tired my body is, their are times I just can't get my mind to shut down.  I come from a long line of women that have the same problem and it seems I've passed it on to my children.  We don't even have to be facing a crisis to have these kinds of nights.  Here's a sample of what goes through my mind.
    Did I lock the front door? Did I feed the fish?  When was the electric bill due? Did I book Gary's flight for the following Wednesday?  I really need to clean out the fridge in the basement. I should do the one in the kitchen first. What if someone comes to visit and they decide they want a sandwich and I can't make it for them and they open the fridge and accidentally grab the leftover spaghetti that is turning green in the very back of the fridge and they call Child Protection Services and they take the kids away. Ummm, long, uninterrupted naps, a lot less laundry, I could clean stuff and it would stay clean. No, no kids would be bad.
     Did I say my prayers or was that last night? I wonder if the boys have clean jeans for school tomorrow?  Did I leave the towels in the washer? If I did they are going to be really musty tomorrow and I'll have to rewash them.  That would be a waste of water and laundry soap. Am I out of laundry soap? I better put that on my list for Walmart.  Where is my list? I need to make a new list. A permanent list.  I'll make one on my computer tomorrow then I just have to mark what I need.  Before I go I should clean the pantry and see what I'm low on.  I think I might be out of refried beans. I should make an inventory list for the pantry. I should make an inventory list of the food storage stuff in the basement.  It would really be cool if every time I took something out of the food storage room it would automatically go on a list and- I know I can find someone to develop software that keeps track of that kind of stuff.  I could make a fortune.  What would I do with all that money?  I would build a new house with a bigger family room, kitchen and a play room for the grandkids.  That would be cool.  We could have an indoor swimming pool.  I don't want to have to clean a pool. I know I could hire a pool service.  I could hire a landscaper and not have to do all that work again.  What time is it? I should really be sleeping.  I'm going to be so tired tomorrow.
     And so it goes until the wee hours and even though not much sleep was had, I still have to get up and get everyone out the door and then I have to find that darned Walmart list. I know I'll make a permanent list and...      

Friday, March 4, 2011

OOOtah oh OOOtah

     Utah is a unique place. Their are a lot of Mormons here, just in case you didn't know.  You have to live here for a while to get the real feel for how things work.  For instance the Department of Motor Vehicles or the DMV, in Cali. you have to wait in line for an hour just to get a number then you have to wait in line for at least another hour to get verbally abused by someone you would never let into your home.  My last visit to the DMV here in Utah, my number was called before I could sit down and the the lady working the counter said to me, "You've cut your hair since the last time you were here."  Now, that is service.
     Utah is the only place I know where if your car brakes down you have to draw straws amongst the volunteers to see who gets to help push your car to the gas station.   I'm not kidding, we saw a car run out of gas and before my husband could get our car in park three people were running to help push.  When our car broke down, in the space of twenty minutes we must have had seven different cars stop to offer assistance.
     A few years ago, my daughter dropped her brand new iphone in the Walmart parking lot.  I got a call from the man who found it telling me that he was on his way back into the store to give it to customer service and was their anyway of reaching her to let her know.  I called my son-in-law, they were still inside Walmart and were able to get it back within minutes.
     I don't think their are too many places where that would still happen.
     The school bike racks usually have more bikes not locked, than locked.  The kids here leave their bikes, rip-sticks and scooters out and the next day they are right where they left them. Yes, Utah is an unusual place. 
     Their is an innocence here, a feeling of trust in your fellow beings that someday will probably be gone but for now I'm going to enjoy it for all it's worth.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


     The other day I blogged about when we landscaped our yard.  It was a learning experience.  I discovered that men and women see things, like landscaping, very differently.  While my daughters and I discussed, pondered, agonized and argued about the placement of almost every sprinkler, every rock, every tree, the men just wanted to get it done.
     After a long day, we were sitting on the couch exhausted once again when my son said, "Why are we doing this?"
     To which I replied, "So the yard will look nice."
     "It looked fine the way it was."
      My daughters and I looked at each other like, is he serious? 
     "The weeds were two feet high!" I said.
     "So, if this was my house, I'd let them get four feet high."
     "I just bet you would.  Someone should build a neighborhood and let only men live in it."
     All the men smiled and looked as if that would be the greatest thing ever. And then the truth was revealed.
     "That would be so cool. No mowing or watering the lawn. Just hack down the weeds once a year," one of them said.
     "With a machete!" my son-in-law added.
     "Or we could light it all on fire."
     "Yeah!!!"  All four of the men chimed in on that.
     "We could have a bar-b-que in every yard."
     "The front yard.  And we could have old sofas too, so we could kick back after a game of football."
     "We could have ice chests with Mountain Dew too."
     "What would you do if that football broke a window?" I asked.
     "Cardboard and duct tape."
     "You would live in a house with a window covered in cardboard and duct tape?!"  I couldn't believe they were serious.  Who were these men? 
     They all looked at me confused and my son said, "Duct tape fixes everything."
     I looked at each one in turn and I realized that deep down, they were totally serious.  All that time teaching, and training them in the finer points of how civilized people live was a complete waste of time.  If they didn't have us to stay on top of them they would revert to swinging from the trees and scratching themselves in no time. 
     I couldn't take anymore.  "You're all fired!"
     To which they all whooped and yollered, high-fived and congratulated each other on their instant release from hard labor. Then I thought about all the work left to do in the yard and quickly added, "As soon as the yard is finished." and I added, "and you're not allowed to make any decisions on your own.
     Needless to say the vision of their "Manland," has haunted me ever since.  And all I can say is my neighbors better pray for my good health because if anything happens to me watch out.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ten Reasons I love My Hubby

     Sometimes life can get so crazy that it seems we go day to day or even minute to minute without really taking a step back and looking at our lives.  When I do take a minute, I realize how lucky I am.  I have a great husband and I probably should tell him that more often so today I am going to. Here are ten reasons I love my husband.

     1. He is one of the hardest working people I have ever seen.  For years he worked seven days a week,   sometimes sixteen hour days to support his ever growing family.
     2. He would drop everything to help one of his kids and I have seen him do so hundreds of times.
     3. He has a great laugh.  We have been married for over thirty years and it still makes me feel good inside  to hear him really laugh.
     4. He is generous to a fault.  Years ago we had been scrimping and saving to get him a new suit, which he needed desperately.  Instead, he took that money and bought a new suit for our son.  It took us a couple years before we were able to get him the new suit he needed, but I never once heard him complain.
     5. He almost always lets me have my way. In fact it's one of his best qualities.  Of course, I usually am right, but none the less he gives in. I really like that. :)
     6. He has deep faith that never waivers.  I have drawn strength from him so many times over the years that I can't even begin to count them.
     7. I still think he's cute.  I can hear my children gagging, coughing and saying "that is so gross" right now.
     8. We really are a team.  When things get crazy around here, and that happens a lot, sometimes I say, "I don't want to live here anymore."  He'll say, "Okay, let's go. Wherever you go, I go."  Of course we would never actually leave, but it's nice to know we have options.
     9. This last Christmas I really wanted only one thing, a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  I have wanted one for twenty years or more.  I even borrowed one from my friend Katie, to see if I would love it as much as I thought I would. I did.  And even though money was tight, it's always tight when you are buying gifts for so many people, he got me my mixer.  It's black, and pretty and shiny and I love seeing it every time I go into my kitchen.  It makes me happy everyday.
    10. And last but not least. I love my hubby because he loves me. I'm not really sure why, but he does.  I know he does because he puts gas in my car for me.  And he doesn't like me to go out by myself after dark, just in case the car might break down.  And he goes to Walmart with me to grocery shop, even though he hates it. And he tells me I'm the most valuable player around here and they would all be lost without me. And he tells me I smell good.  If that's not love I don't know what is.
      Disclaimer: When I PMS, I totally claim the right to change my mind about all of the above for at least three days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Family That Landscapes Together Stays Together

    A year ago last summer my family took on the gargantuan task of landscaping our yard. No big deal, right?  WRONG!!!  Our lot is about half an acre. It looked huge when we bought it, but after the house was built my hubby complained that all the land was gone and the yard was too small. HA!  Now I know why all of our native Utahan friends in California would just smile when we told them our yard wasn't landscaped.  A few of them said, "We wouldn't buy a house that wasn't landscaped."  I thought, how hard could it be? If I had only known.
     Did you know that Utah's soil is clay?  Which means it's like trying to dig through cement.  Brutal.  Then their is the stickers, they were cast out of Hell by Satan for being too heinous. If I never see one again it will be too soon.  Those little suckers were so sharp they would draw blood when you pulled them out.  And to make matters, worse they were the exact same color as our carpet. I always knew when someone "found" one by the blood curdling scream.
     Yes, their were obstacles, but we prevailed.  We had a team of six for the most part.  My hubby, me, two of my daughters, one son and a son-in-law.  With part time help from another son, a son-in-law and a few friends.  We had to work around work schedules, the extremely wet spring weather, my two youngest sons and four grand kids.
     In one summer we installed sprinklers, moved mounds of dirt, placed eight tons of rocks, some weighing three or four hundred pounds. (We rented a Bobcat for the bigger ones, the men loved that.  They were like kids fighting over a new toy.)  We built berms, eight of them, and covered them with thick weed fabric. (Smartest thing we did.) Then covered the weed fabric with load after load of bark.  We also built a play area and brought in load after load of playground bark. We had curbing laid.  My daughter and I, with a lot of help from the hubby, put down a cobblestone walkway.  And after all of this we got to the fun part.  We laid out sixteen pallets of sod.  We did eight the first time and then four and four.  It was the only way we survived it.
      And speaking of surviving we had blisters on our hands and feet the size of nickles and quarters.  Strained muscles, smashed and dislocated fingers and a stress fracture.  We also worked in the blazing summer sun and so we were a permanent shade of pink. Ouch!  We drank water by the gallon and lost over a hundred pounds collectively.
     In November we finally poured the cement that made our basketball court. It was our crowning glory, the Mount Everest of our summer, the culmination of months of backbreaking work.  Of course we're still working on the finishing touches.  We are still planting trees, shrubs, and flowers, did I mention the one hundred tulip bulbs we planted.   
     Despite all the blood, sweat and tears, I think we grew closer as a family that summer.  We sometimes laughed until their were tears in our eyes.  We felt good about all that we accomplished and all I can say about it now, after it is all said and done is, I don't ever want to do that again!