Friday, August 29, 2008

Word Verification

I may be going out on a limb here, BUT...I have a teeny tiny request:

Can we all disable word verification?

Yes, I know it is there to keep spam comments from getting through, but I have been doing a little experiment and turned mine off about a month or so ago and I haven't received one spam comment. NOT ONE.

I really HATE to have to decipher those crazy, hard to read letters whenever I want to leave a comment on someone's blog. I get frustrated when I have to do it over because I didn't get it right the first time. It takes more time and sometimes I just decide to bag it and not leave a comment because it is such a pain.


Anyone else been having these same thoughts???

I've noticed that a lot of veteran bloggers whose blogs I visit often do not have it enabled either, which is what gave me the courage to try my little experiment. I get almost giddy when I go to leave a comment and I don't have to translate any letters!
If you are worried about spam then you can moderate your comments and catch it before it is published. To do that just sign into your blogger account and go into the comments setting and scroll until you find the comment moderator. Click on NEVER.

To turn it off, go to comments, scroll down to word verification and click on NO.

Just my two cents. Take it or leave it...





Food 4 Thought Friday

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Since the Friday's Feast Chef has been out of the kitchen for quite some time (and may be for a while yet), I have decided to start my own version until he/she is able to return. I am calling it


Food 4 Thought Friday

It is generally the same idea, with just a little twist. Feel free to play along for some yummy fun! I will post a new one each Thursday afternoon for those that are on a different time zone. JOIN IN!!!

Food 4 Thought Friday


Breakfast
If you were given one extra hour everyday - how would you use that time?
I guess I would probably use it to read since that is what I am always searching for more time to do. Either that or get my photos organized in albums. I might be able to handle that for just one hour a day!

Lunch
What is your favorite season and why?
I love, love, love spring! I love the beautiful flowers (especially Lilacs - my fave!) and fresh smells after a long and dreary winter and the warmth of the sun that I have been deprived of for so long. I love the newness of everything. It is like an opportunity of re-birth for everything including me. I think New Years should be in the spring because that is when it feels right to set resolutions rather than in the dead of winter.


Dinner
Are you a tight squeezer, a delicate hugger, a back patter, a hand shaker, or a hands off completely person?
That depends on who I am with. For family and close friends, I am a tight squeezer. For friends and acquaintances, I am a delicate hugger. For those I don't know real well, a back patter, and for strangers I am just meeting, a hand shaker. I am very rarely a hands off person unless the other person's body language indicates they are.

Midnight Snack
Have you ever gone skinny dipping? If so where?
I'll never tell, but we did have an interesting experience at girl's camp this year. But to protect the innocent I will not write about that. If you want the story then you will have to ask me in person. ☺ However, I did go streaking when I was about 11 or 12. That was in the 70's when it was a huge fad. My friends and I had a slumber party and were outside running around during the night and decided to dare each other to streak down the street. Don't worry, it was pitch black, 1 o'clock in the morning, and I was 11!


Recipe for this Week (instead of your recipe for life - what is it for just this week?)
I think it would be to not always take people at face value. Sometimes certain people may come across as not really caring or very appreciative of what you do. Then in one moment, you discover you were totally and completely wrong. I think this has taught me to always let the people you care about know how you truly feel, so they will have no question in their mind. Praise costs us nothing to give to others, so we should give it freely.



PLEASE PLAY !!!! Come on you know you want to!


To play along go here ~ haha!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. When I'm sick I'm usually kind of grumpy and always want a milkshake because my Mom always made me one when I was sick.

2. When I take a walk, I think about anything and everything that is on my mind at the current moment. Sometimes I will take gratitude walks where I just try and focus only on what I am grateful for. I always return so happy after those!

3. Money can't buy happiness but it can make you happy for a little while!

4. Cotton makes me feel cool (temperature wise) and leather makes me feel cool (stylin' wise!).

5. The strangest person/character I've had lewd thoughts about was __________.Sorry can't think of an answer for this one!

6. My favorite color these days is (is this one REALLY necessary!) because it is the ONLY TRUE COLOR!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to attending my son Bryce's high school football game, tomorrow my plans include going on my first run in a week! I haven't run since the half marathon (trying to let my body recover), attending McKay's football game, and maybe go out to dinner with Dave or do something with friends and Sunday, I want to try and not cry for reasons I can't reveal until Sunday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Gold Medal For Mom (Parenting Pointers Post #10)

Parenting Pointers Post #10
Help for the Frazzled Mom!






Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

With the Olympics just behind us, I have been thinking how amazing those athletes were and what it must take to get their bodies and minds to a place where they can compete on such a level.

Then my thoughts turned to the everyday life of a mother. I have always felt mothers don't get the credit they deserve for all they do. In fact, moms go unrecognized and much of the time unappreciated.


Isn't it about time someone started awarding
Gold Medals to mothers for what they achieve on a daily basis? After all, each and every day is an Olympic event for mom!

Just participating in the following
field events qualifies you in the Motherhood Olympics and a Gold Medal....or better yet, a chocolate covered Gold Medal!



  • Diaper Derby Dash → Chasing un-diapered toddler in order to diaper said toddler before he does his "business" on the carpet.
  • Early Morning Relay Rush → Waking, bathing, dressing, feeding, carpooling, & hugging five children before school bell rings each morning. Rushing back to school to drop off forgotten lunch and homework. Rushing to store to get room mother treats. Rushing home to attempt Diaper Derby Dash on toddler. Rushing back to school to be spectacular room mother. Rushing home to put toddler down for nap. Rushing to clean up kitchen and do three loads of laundry. Rushing back to store for forgotten items for dinner. Rushing to dentist for twice missed appointment. Rushing home to attempt and once again train for Diaper Derby Dash. All before 10 a.m.

  • Nerves of Steel Tantrumathon→ Remaining completely calm while toddler throws self on filthy floor and begins to wail at top of lungs while in crowded store with many onlookers throwing dirty looks your way.

  • 100 yard Hurdle→ Hurdling high across the sandbox full of children to grab binky covered in sand before baby puts it in mouth.
  • 50 Yard Sprint→ Sprinting to the curb in a split second while in high heels to grab toddler before runs into busy intersection.

  • Weight Lifting→ Hoisting ten bags of groceries, one sleeping toddler, an infant in car seat, diaper bag, car keys, purse, one half eaten Happy Meal, and dry cleaning without dropping ...while carrying it all into house in one trip.

  • Wrestling Freestyle→ Leave busy restaurant with squirming child in arms with relaxed but firm body hold.

  • Balance Beam Routine → Balancing check book, three nutritious meals a day (plus snacks), laundry, house cleaning, carpooling, piano lessons, dance lessons, trumpet lessons, football practice, karate practice, soccer practice, Cub Scouts, Brownies, grocery shopping, holiday traditions, homework, dentist appts., doctor appts., recitals, school concerts, menu planning, PTA meetings, vacations, science fair projects, and many other things too numerous to mention.

    Parenting is the real test of all endurance sports, even without the worry of fellow competitors constantly sizing you up and getting scored by the many judges in the field. It tests you physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically. But no matter how much training or practicing, is this sport ever really mastered? Do we get called to a platform to stand proudly while the world looks upon us with admiration?


When it comes to the sport of parenting, perhaps just showing up each and every day to practice and train faster, higher, stronger, in order to improve and do better means you have earned that Gold Medal.



Besides, having those precious little arms wrapped around your neck is much better than having even an Olympic Gold Medal placed around it. And the victory is even sweeter...even if it was chocolate covered.☺

Go Moms!!!

YOU ROCK!!!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Airing my Dirty Laundry

Sock it to Dirty Socks!!!
Normally I don't talk about my dirty laundry, but there are just those times when I can no longer keep it in. Sometimes I have to air it all out and feel the cleansing power of the vent (no, not the dryer vent).

As a mother of ALL boys (lots of them), I have bought, sorted, picked up, pre-treated, washed, re-washed, dried, folded, and put away MANY MANY MANYpairs of sock. Not to mention many of the un-attached (or single) ones as well. I really do believe the dryer eats spare socks. But that is a whole other post.


From this ↑



To this ↓




I do have to admit, that is not an actual photo of my boys socks, because if they ever get that bad, I happily huck them in the trash.
I have come to one conclusion through all my years of "socking".
White socks are the bane of my existence!

And probably most of yours if you also have boys. Don't get me wrong. I actually LOVE white socks. Oh yes, very much. But once those white socks are purchased and living in my home, they are no longer white! At least not completely. There may be parts of them that are still white, but that actually makes the parts that aren't, look even worse. This, however, is NOT a reflection on my laundry prowess. Trust me, I have Clorox-ed, Biz-ed, Oxiclean-ed, Spray & Washed, Shouted, and Zouted until the cows come home, but I have never been able to get them completely white and stain free. Now interestingly enough, MY white socks and MY hubs white socks, enter as white socks and die as white socks. Not so with my boys. Theirs are always laid to rest as the color of dirt.

I have since found a solution that has made me one happy camper and laundress. This one little thing has saved me hours and hours of pre-treating and re-treating and worrying what the boys friend's mothers will think when they see my boys with imperfect stained socks. Yes, I admit, I do worry about that. Even though it is totally silly. I don't want them to think I am laundry retarded or something!

I now no longer get as upset as I used to when I see the boys outside in stocking feet. I no longer cringe when a real nasty one comes through the dirty clothes. I can honestly say I am at sock peace.
How did I come to this near impossible sock peace you ask? Do you want to know? Are you ready for this? The solution is as easy as...











BLACK SOCKS!!!

When I first noticed a couple of my boy's friends wearing them EVERY DAY, I thought WHY weren't my boys also wearing them and WHY didn't this style come in sooner? I mean really! Who in their right mind would have made wearing white socks the norm for so blasted long? No one that has boys, that I do know! I guess if I didn't want to buy new black ones, I could let them wear the real nasty ones that could almost pass as black. Unfortunately they still have to have white socks for certain things, so I can't totally eliminate all of them. But almost!

A little warning...keep in mind that they are only cool if they are the ankle (or below) socks. Wearing black socks that are calf length with shorts just might get your boys beat up. And I would not want to be responsible for that.

I am all for the black socks. But of course, if I had MY way, I would prefer they wore these ↓

But, I also know, that isn't going to happen any time soon. (unless your son's name is Donny Osmond!)

And if you really get overwhelmed with all those dirty smelly socks, there is a company now that will wash and dry all those stinkin' socks for you! How cool is that? For around $10.00 a pound, you can have someone else do your dirty laundry! My only question is, do they also sort, fold, and put them away? And if I tip them extra well, do you think they would come to my house and pick them up off the floor? Hmm...


If you want to check out the Dirty Socks Laundry Company go Here. It is for real!

I think I will stick to doing my own which is now much easier since I have found one other solution that I LOVE LOVE LOVE! I now buy each boy the same socks. Now that they are getting older, they can all wear pretty much the same size. This saves tons of time sorting and matching. Now I just wash them, mate them, (which is extremely easy when they are all the same) and then throw them in what I call our sock basket. No one gets their "own" socks anymore, they are all in a community basket so now they aren't always looking for their socks. They know the sock basket will always have a generous supply. I have a drawer where the strays go and when I get enough in the drawer I match them.

My only question now is, where were these black socks 23 years ago when I had my first son??? Never mind, I think I know the answer to that one. They were on those men "tourists" who wore them (almost always calf length) with shorts and sandals! Talk about having that GQ look! Ugh!


Dirty Socks

by Bruce Lansky

My socks are very dirty,
so I washed them in the lake.
It wasn’t long before I knew
I’d made a big mistake.
The water changed from clear to mud.
Then fumes began to rise.
And soon a cloud of air pollution
covered up the skies.
When bullfrogs started croaking
and ducks began to quack,
some campers started chanting,
“We want our clean lake back.”
I’ve got a pile of dirty socks.
I’m in an awful bind.
I guess I’ll have to bury them.
I hope the worms won’t mind.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

What does THIS...

And this...


And this...

And this....
And this....
And this...

And this...



And this... (any ideas yet?)
And of course this....

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Yes "AGED" is correct!
All have in common???

IF your inquiring mind wants to know then...

Go here











Friday, August 22, 2008

Food 4 Thought Friday, Friday Fill-In, Know and Tell Friday

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Since the Friday's Feast Chef has been out of the kitchen for quite some time (and may be for a while yet), I have decided to start my own version until he/she is able to return. I am calling it

Food 4 Thought Friday

It is generally the same idea, with just a little twist. Feel free to play along for some yummy fun! I will post a new one each Thursday afternoon for those that are on a different time zone. JOIN IN!!!

Food 4 Thought Friday

Breakfast
Are you a morning person or a night person?
I used to be totally a night person. That is when I would get most of the stuff done that I needed to. I could stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. and still function great the next day. Of course that was when my boys were little. Now days I am definitely a morning person. I have more energy in the a.m. and by about 10 pm I am ready to crash...now if I just would go to bed at that time instead of staying up! Some days though, I don't feel like either a morning OR night person. Does that mean I am not a person? Hmm....

Lunch
Do you like to shop? If yes, for what? Alone or with others?
This is an easy one. YES! I LOVE to shop! I don't particularly like to shop for groceries, but I do love shopping for pretty much everything else. I love a bargain and so I tend to buy things that I really don't need since it was such a good deal. I am working on that! Shopping for books and clothes are my weakness. I enjoy shopping with others if I don't have a list of things I must find, but if I have to get a lot done, I prefer to go it alone. I love shopping with friends for the social fun though.

Dinner
What is something that really motivates you?
That depends on what I am being motivated for! When it comes to house cleaning, if I have company coming then nothing can motivate me to clean like that can. As far as exercise, the biggest motivation is how I feel when I do it v.s. how I feel when I don't.

Midnight Snack

What is one thing you look forward to each day?
That has to be a toss up between finishing my run, (notice I didn't say "running" but "finishing"... I love that feeling after! ), or checking my blog and reading all your nice comments! And I also really look forward to time with my boys!

Recipe for this Week (instead of your recipe for life - what is it for just this week?)
I think it would have to be to follow your heart. I wanted to go to BYU Ed Week for just one day this week, but life was just too crazy and so I decided against going. Early Tuesday morning I just felt like I needed to go and so I got up and went without any doubting. I learned so many things I needed right now and I am so glad I went (even if it did cost me 50 bucks in gas money! UGH!). But it was well worth it. I learned that I just need to always do what I feel in my heart no matter the obstacles.

PLEASE PLAY !!!!
To play along go
here ~ haha!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~









1. Dancing to the beat while with friends makes me happy. (Well at least it used to! I haven't done that for so long now!)

2. The last time I ate out I nearly hurled (that is our term for puke around here -- all boys remember?) We ate at Chili's last night and the food was good but I OD'd on the blackberry lemonade {foolish but oooh so D-licious!!!} before dinner and it made me sicker than a dog!)

3. When I drive I like to use the time to ponder and think if I am alone so I turn off the radio. If I am with others, I like to chat away!

4. I saw many people standing in line at BYU Ed Week.

5. Give me love, give me friends and family, give me chocolate!!!

6. Next week I am looking forward to not much since the boys all go back to school. Waa-waa! I do NOT look forward to them returning each year. It is a hard adjustment for me having them gone all day. I guess I am looking forward to some quiet time to get things back in order though. It seems my house has really taken a dive this summer!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Football, football, and MORE football! My freshman son has a game at 8 a.m. (posting this after THAT game...my son got an interception and scored the only touchdown!!! WOO-HOO TAYLOR!!! I am the mom, I have bragging rights!!!) and my senior has one at 7 p.m. I need to give the boys hair cuts and attend a reception too, tomorrow my plans include getting up at 4 a.m. (ugh!) and running my second HALF MARATHON!!! Then I plan on attending my youngest son's little league football game, and possibly going to Seven Peaks Water Park after that, and welcome my oldest son Skyler home from working in Montana for the last month!!!!!! and Sunday, I want to
attend church and then attend a family birthday party BBQ for some of Dave's family...then hopefully get everything already for the boys to go back to school on Monday!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





















1. Are you right- or left-handed?
Right handed


2. Any nicknames you have (or have had) and the story behind them?
Mostly Jo, Jode, Jodi Mae, or Jo-Jo. In high school my friends called me VD. It was because my last name was VanDen...something or other. We even came up with a hand signal for it! Kinda funny!


3. Do you need to do laundry right now?
Are you kidding me? Is there really EVER a time when I don't? Even if it appears it's all done, it NEVER is! I see the clothes my family is currently wearing as laundry!


4. What CD is in your CD player/music on your iPod right now?
On my iPod I have the Mamma Mia songs! I LOVE that movie! I also have all my running music...including a lot of disco! In my SUV CD player I have a tape called "What is it like on the other side?" that I bought at Education Week.


5. How/when did you learn to ride a bicycle?
I was seven years old. We lived in Reno (Sparks) Nevada at the time and I still remember practicing back and forth on the sidewalk in front of our house.


6. What is your favorite weird food combination?
Carrots dipped in peanut butter. I also like roasted marshmellows dipped in peanut butter! French Fries dipped in sweet & sour sauce, BBQ chips and cottage cheese, pasta with ranch dressing, cucumber & mayo sandwich, and popcorn or Cheetos dipped in buttercream frosting! Mmm......


7. What is something you have that is of sentimental value?
Everything that belonged to my son Tyson.


To play go here

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heaven on Earth!



Chocolate...ahh....

What could be better than that? Not much, with maybe the exception of going to a chocolate factory and being surrounded by the heavenly stuff!!!

We took our Young Women to Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolate Factory in Salt Lake for a tour and a little sampling...mmm...mmm...mmmmmm!!!!


We were able to watch a live demo of the actual hands on process of making their delectable chocolates!
We saw this chocolate maker creating Haystacks with her bare hands.
We saw the enormous factory and even a chocolate waterfall. Sorry, no photo...they wouldn't let us out on the floor. Probably wise on their part considering I may have been tempted to jump in and bathe myself in the smooth, creamy, liquidy bliss.


We saw a lot of cool things...

And even though we were looking really hard, we didn't see any of these...







Maybe they were on strike or something...???






Now THIS statement HAS to be a real truth↓
Seriously...what else can even compare????

Seriously???



We got to see a video on The Story of Chocolate and another on Mrs. Cavanaugh's conversion story.

A few of us making ourselves right at home. This would be me and Stephanie thinking we are so smart taking our photo in front of the mirror.


FINALLY! Time to shop!!! Or drool...


I'll take one of EACH please...



So good it's simply sinful...

Click to enlarge

What can I say? Chocolate makes me crazy, silly, go wild, HAPPY!





As part of the tour we also got to watch the classic I LOVE LUCY clip of the Big Dipper episode. It doesn't matter how many times you have seen it, it still makes you almost wet your pants! If you want to challenge your bladder today, then click and watch away! You will have to turn down the sound on my music playlist first. Scroll down to the bottom of the blog (purple)...click on the far left button to pause it.





This is a great video clip (a little long but worth it!) of the History of Chocolate that we also got to watch while there. If you are interested at all in chocolate (in any form), you will find this very educational. So in the name of education...go grab some chocolate and enjoy the video. Afterall if you are going to be a consumer of chocolate you should know a little something about it's history and in order to really understand it you need to make sure the quality of it (in general) is still at least adequate. And we all know there is no better way to do that than actually eating it.






If you want your own chocolate factory tour, click on the link below. It is a news station doing a tour when the factory first opened.


http://www.mrscavanaughs.com/press.html or go HERE




After the chocolate factory tour, we went to the Humanitarian Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I will post that story next. Stay tuned...

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