Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hung Over

I saw something on Pinterest today that said it was a list of "15 book titles to help you get over your Hunger Games hangover" (or something like that-- I paraphrase...). It occurred to me that I've been suffering all week from said "Hunger Games" hangover! I saw the film on Monday, wrote about it on Tuesday (read all about it here) and have spent the rest of the week thinking about it. Weirdness! I have been known to get a little bit obsessed... when I first read the "Wheel of Time" books, I searched up everything I could find on the web about them and I talked about them, thought about them, dreamed about them... it was silly... and I have a certain ongoing fondness for the last handful of awesome Superhero movies-- I read about them, I watch trailers, my kids and I discuss them, but I'm not obsessed with "The Hunger Games"! I swear I'm not. I only mildly liked the books, for one thing, and for another, although I really enjoyed the movie, it wasn't that good... well, maybe it was.

I think my hangover stems from the eye candy link from Liam Hemsworth to his Thor-playing brother, Chris Hemsworth, who I have a bit of a celebrity crush on. For the moment. I learned today that he (along with Josh Hutcherson, oddly) will be in the remake of one of the worst films I've ever seen, "Red Dawn". Ugh... hopefully he'll redeem himself in "The Avengers" and the "Snow White and the Huntsman".

David Archuleta

Yesterday, David Archuleta left for his 2-year LDS mission to Chile. I really admire a young man who loves the Lord enough to put his career on hold; who is willing to sacrifice and dedicate two years of his time and talents to serving others, to teaching what we believe and to prayer and communion with God.

Last night, KSL news flashed photos of three other LDS celebrities who chose to serve "in their profession" instead of leaving on a 2-year mission. While I respect their decisions, I also think it's a shame they missed the opportunity to truly devote two whole years to God.
Archuleta is a shining example to all the young men of the church who aren't sure they want to serve. I'm so proud of him, even though I've never met him. I wish him all the best and I expect his career will be waiting for him when he gets back. I appreciate that he's 22, not the standard 19. In his profession, in his situation, that is totally understandable, and frankly, makes it all the more commendable that he's going! I imagine that he has taken the time to really ponder this decision, to really be prepared.

So good for David! I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this genuine, kind, talented young man.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ode to My iPod

I realized last week that I'm nearly at my first anniversary with my iPod Touch. It's only a second generation, I think. It has no camera, and I can't talk to it without the goofy headphones-with-mic-attached. But I sure do love it. I have enjoyed every minute of music, audiobooks, Angry Birds and Bookworm. I love playing Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends, and I get a kick out of looking up the weather or the constellations visible tonight in just a matter of seconds. I especially like that (assuming I'm within range of Wifi), I can text or message my kids on their iPod Touches anytime I want to. It really is a blessing in the age of instant communication and instant entertainment. It's basically a more portable computer, and I love it. LOVE it...
So happy anniversary, iPod! Thanks for getting me through long visits to the hospital with my son, and for keeping my daughter distracted at the orthodontist's office. Thanks for playing my audiobooks faithfully as I drive around town, and for holding a charge longer than I expected you could. Here's to many more good years.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


What do I have to do to get people to follow my blogs? Giveaways? Okay, for the next week, everyone who clicks "follow" will be entered to win a shiny new... um... 

an exciting once-in-a-lifetime... uh... 


how about this: You'll forever have my undying devotion and admiration. I don't know what to give away. I don't have time to make anything, nor money to purchase anything, but I do have lots to say and insatiable curiosity about who is lurking around the internet, reading my blogs.

 Come along, duckies! Follow me...

Quick Easy Healthy Smoothie

I've been making lots of smoothies lately-- mostly with honey or sugar, frozen strawberries and tropical fruit that I buy in big bags at Costco, yogurt and milk. However, in an effort to add a little secret veggie goodness, I did this last week and it worked great! I took my husband's juicer and made carrot/spinach/apple juice, and froze it in these cute ice cube trays I got at the DI. I would like some normal trays, too, but they didn't have any that day. I toss a few in each batch of smoothie and you can't see, smell, or taste the veggies, but it does my heart good to think my family is getting a little extra something...

Organization Class

Last night I went with my sisters to a nice lady named Ann's house for a class she teaches on organizing your home. It was informative and interesting, and I was silently pleased to find that I already do a handful of things that she recommended. I love to organize things, I have an unhealthy "thing" for boxes and containers, such that sometimes I own a stack that I don't know what I want to do with.

I learned a few things, too, such as that Ann has a way with antiques-- her house is very decorated, and much of it is vintage or antique pieces, most of which I coveted from the moment I got there. This photo is the decor atop a smallish hutch in her kitchen. I dream of decorating with antiques, so I would like to take another tour of her home and just take photos of that.

 Here are some pics I took of some organizational things Ann does that I will be incorporating in my home. I am not OCD, nor do I have super-cooperative kids now that I work full-time, but having a place for everything makes it so much easier to ask that everything be put in its place. Rereading this, I realized I captioned all the photos above instead of below. I hope that doesn't confuse you, dear reader.

First, in the kitchen, drawers organized thusly. My drawers are fairly small, and I have already done some of this, but I like her use of matching containers. Mine are a mish-mash of cardboard, canvas and plastic. I will be sorting through the drawers and getting rid of things we haven't used in years.
 Another kitchen drawer, the gadgets. I think my drawers are a lot smaller than hers... mine would never fit horizontally...
 I liked the medicine cabinet with the notes and information taped to the inside of the door. I have a box up high that holds most of ours, but I've also got about half our dish cupboard where I keep the daily and weekly stuff. It would help a lot to have it all in one place. Just a note here, Ann recommends not keeping any prescription drugs in a public area, such as the bathroom or kitchen, because some teens are having drug parties where they just mix together random prescriptions they've stolen and then everyone takes a handful??! Yikes.
 I LOVED this idea. Buy the flat, long totes and store the sheets under the bed. I already do this with smashed, flimsy cardboard boxes. Why didn't I think of this? DUH!
I also do this, again, not as well as she does, though:
 I thought this was great- they roll their pjs together! I wonder if I could get my kids to do this with sweats and tees, too... since the boys don't sleep in pjs anymore...
I would love for my daughter to have a shelf such as this in her room for all her stuffed animals. Anyone who doesn't fit on the shelf gets donated to a child who needs it more than she does. Since she (seriously) owns about 60, that would make me very happy...
 This idea is one I will absolutely be doing. It's a file box, each child has one, and in it are stored their school journals, important papers, etc. It's like a big scrapbook keeper! I need this. Now.
See the hardware store tiny-drawer thingy? She keeps her earrings in it. Brilliant! I don't own enough earrings to justify such a thing, I just think it's a great idea. Also lots of cup hooks on a board to hang necklaces from. I need to do that for my daughter!
 This is a quick pic of the box in which she stores all the bandaids, neosporin, etc. for boo-boos and owies. Again, I don't know why this never occurred to me! I will be doing this one for sure, as well. She mentioned that it's a good idea to tear the top flaps off the cardboard boxes to make the bandaids more accessible. Smart!
 Can't read the labels? The top box holds her "Lost and Found" items. Small things that would go into a junk drawer in most homes. After a year, they get tossed.
 Their basement is unfinished, but they use it anyway. I've tried this, but mine isn't nearly as big, nor as functional as hers. These are all down there:
 Kids toys and books
 Rockband and Wii storage. Can't do this in my family room, but I still like it.
An old file cabinet, puzzles stored sideways.
Food storage, under the stairs
I just like the shelves that are built to hold large totes so much. I want some for all my holiday stuff. Now. I need to convince my hubby that he can do this:
Canning supplies, including stored spices, I think:
Overall, it was a good class. I learned some stuff and we got to admire her lovely home. It was a wee bit too much for me (information overload?) and I felt like we didn't actually need to see every nook and cranny of her house. It kind of became a "see what I've done" instead of "ideas for organizing", but that's easily forgiven, since much of what she does is really fantastic stuff. I just ran out of steam after the first hour, I think, and would have liked to finish sooner. It took about 2 1/2 hours. I've got a lot going on right now, plus I live 45 minutes away from her house, so... less would have been more. But it was worthwhile.

I wish I had time, money and space to do some serious home organizing, but I'm thinking I will figure out better techniques for the space, money and time that I do have.

Monday, March 19, 2012

As a Mormon girl, I have a pretty strict level of tolerance for comedic naughtiness and crudity. Well, the latter may be more due to having been raised by a very classy Dad more than the Mormonism, but the point is, I don't care for nasty, dirty, potty or base humor. I love to laugh, however, and I'm completely tickled by the random funny stuff on the internet that gets posted here: Very Clean Funny Pics, all of which is mercifully, hilariously clean! Here are a handful of my favorites:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peanut Butter and Secret Snackiness

Following my post about healthy food, this may seem odd, but I'm going to share with you my secret favorite sneaky snack. First, you have to buy good stuff like quality peanut butter, only the best milk chocolate chips (I use the Guittard brand... so good... and so large...) and your favorite graham crackers. Can you guess where I'm going with this? Good.

This week, in the interest of healthier eating and not so much preservative-nastiness, I picked up some Kirkland brand natural peanut butter at Costco. It's ingredients list is mercifully short: peanuts and salt. Good enough for me! It has to be refrigerated, because of the said lack of preservatives.

Tonight I made my favorite snack and put it on a plate that had only recently exited the dishwasher, and to my amusement, the pb has slowly started oozing over the edges of the crackers. This is in large part due to the fact that I love me some pb and took a nice thick layer.  So good, though I will have to adjust to the flavor of the new peanut butter. My favorite brand is Jif, which is kind of costy for a budget-crazy family, so I've been settling for the WalMart store brand. It's probably a good thing to shift to a healthier brand, but it does taste a bit different.

Our dishwasher should like it, though. For about a year, many a finished load of dishes has included an unclean butter knife with nasty, crusty, baked-on peanut butter that the hottest hot water and soapiest soap couldn't manage to dislodge. I always have to wash my pb knives by hand; the poor dishwasher can't seem to win the battle of the peanut butter. My husband pointed out that if it doesn't dissolve in the dishwasher, what is it doing to our insides? Good point...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I have been researching healthier eating recently and the online advice is all over the place! There is no right answer, just lie down and give up. And hand me the Oreos.

I love it when a blogger, writer, know-it-all or other food commentator says something like, "our ancestors never ate sugar or refined blah blah blah". True. I agree. There are many things in the modern diet that are so not good for us, and the vast majority of it came about in the last 70 years or so. What gets me is that three paragraphs later these same opinion-sharers say something like, "The body gets its healthy fats from unsaturated oils, nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish like salmon and tuna." Okay, but what if your ancestors didn't have things like avocado, nuts or salmon? What if they were from inland somewhere and ate potatoes and sheep? And for the record, many of our ancestors ate breads. Even "leavened" bread... but bread is now considered an enemy to the healthy.

I lean more toward a logical approach. If it's been highly processed in a factory, it's probably not good for you. Don't eat very much. If it leans more toward "natural" (a tag word that's starting to drive me up the wall), it's probably okay. Obviously fruit, veggies, eggs and meat are okay. People choose not to eat meat, but really, it's not bad for you, and has health benefits.

I'm starting with two universally accepted modern baddies:
  1. Soda pop. I really think soda is the devil. I don't drink it very often, but my family loves it. The children only have it every few weeks, but hubby drinks it daily. It's vile, nasty, wicked stuff that destroys you from the inside... so the war begins with soda.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup. It's in nearly everything, so this will be an uphill battle, but I think I can win, one drop at a time... I can make homemade bbq sauce, salad dressing and even mayonnaise (maybe those backyard chickens are a good thing after all), and labels? I'll be watching you... 
After that, who knows? Maybe I'll take on Big Twinkie.

Nah, don't worry, no lawsuits from me. This is a private war. I promise not to try and take your Girl Scout Cookies. If you promise not to take mine. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Skulls, Science and Sci-Fi

Not to make light of sciencey discoveries, but it looks like they've found the remains of Darth Vader...

The real story is here:
Possible new species of human discovered in China |

I remain skeptical...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goin' Nuculur

One of the things I pride myself on is being pretty good with words. I like to use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. I like to pronounce foreign words with the correct accents, whenever possible, though this makes me look like a smartie-pants-know-it-all sometimes (croissant, anyone?) and my husband teases me about it. I am also quite precise about word pronunciation, I hold myself to a pretty high standard and when I realize I've been saying a word wrong (for example, I kept pronouncing "endoscopy" as end-o-scopey, and learned yesterday that it is, in fact, end-AH-scopy, with the accent on the middle syllable. So... where was I? oh yeah) I will immediately correct it, even rehearsing it in my mind our aloud for a while to make sure I know how to say it correctly.

I don't hold the general public to the same standard, of course. I mean, how could I? I would have no friends or even acquaintances if I was constantly correcting people. But I do expect that people who are in broadcasting, on the radio, where the medium is language, to know how to pronounce every word they use accurately!

Today on the way home from work, I heard a reporter on the radio pronounce that infamous word "nuclear" as "nuculer". I know, this is a common mispronunciation and that I should just get over it, but this one is the proverbial nails-on-the-blackboard for me. So please, spread the word. The word is "NU-CLEEE-UR". No exceptions. If I hear it mispronounced on the radio again, I might just GO nuclear on them... well... I'll problee just go back to the libary and cry a little.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Laundry Tip

When I was a teenager, my step-mom made us tear the dryer sheets in half, using only half at a time in our laundry. This was smarter than I realized at the time. She also told me, some years later, that she re-uses them ("They're good for two dryer cycles", I think she said). I hadn't ever thought of that, and since then I've tried to make it very easy for my family to save them and use them a second time.

Here's what I do now: I have a plastic basket/crate container sitting above the dryer on a shelf. It looks like this:

 The goal is to collect the sheets as they exit the dryer. Most days, though, I find them on the sofa where the laundry gets dumped, on the floor, and sometimes on top of the laundry room trash. Or tangled up in a shirt.

Once the basket is full and the dryer sheet box is empty, we reuse them until they're gone! Sometimes I put two used sheets in a load, especially if it's a large load or something like blankets or towels. It saves money!!

Love It!

Sadly, I don't get to eat dinner with my family, I'm at work during dinner time, but I like to make sure they have something healthy and yummy to eat most nights, and my slow cookers are my absolute best kitchen tools. I own two large Crock Pots, one oval and one round, and one smallish one for things like dips and nacho cheese. I truly don't know how large families with working moms even eat dinner without them. We use ours at least once a week, usually 2 or 3 times. And I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. My favorite recipe site is Allrecipes. I love that you can search and then sort by rating. Genius! They have some really good slow cooker recipes, too.

What is your favorite dinnertime tip, trick or device?

Car Repairs

On my way to drive a couple of children to school on this very cold morning, I noticed that a couple of people's turn signals seem to be broken. This is sad. So I wrote them a eulogy.

Ode to a Turn Signal

Around the bends and turns of life,
You flickered and clicked and blinked.
Without speech, without sight,
You read my thoughts and
Proclaiming them with flashing lights.

Turning now, without you,
I think fondly back.
Wishing to hear, just once more,
Your Clicky-click song
As you flashed on and off.
On and off.

Good, right? Yeah, I know. I wax poetic when my pet peeves get all prickly...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Curly Hair Tips and Tricks

I have naturally curly hair. I can't ever say that without hearing the Peanuts character, Frieda, saying it... but I digress. Sometimes, I have really curly hair. Sometimes frizzy, non-compliant hair that wishes it was straight but isn't willing to commit. Over the years, I've learned a few tips and tricks that seem to be helping my argumentative curls to conform a bit more to what I want them to look like. I thought I would share them here for anyone else trying to figure out how to tame their locks. These tips and products may not work on all hair types, but I think they are valuable to anyone with curly hair. This is me on a decent hair day. Don't laugh, I hate photos of myself, but I liked my hair that day enough to let my son shoot one.

To maximize the curl in your hair, you need to buy good quality products, but that doesn't mean high-end, break-the-bank products. I have had some luck with the Suave line, but have recently decided they were flaking in my hair, making me look like I have dandruff, and I don't. So I switched to the Tresemme Flawless Curls line. There are pics below of all the products I use. They aren't terribly expensive-- I'm on a tight budget, and I can't afford the better brands, but I like these better than Suave by far.

These are the tips. Most of them come from THIS BOOK, but I've adapted them to work for me. First, only wash once or twice a week with shampoo. The other days, just condition your hair generously. I recently bought a wide-tooth comb, which I use in the shower to help the conditioner get to all my hair. Rinse your hair in the coolest water you can stand. The book says that cold water helps the curls "fuse" (my word, not hers) together and helps have less frizz. I don't always do this step, because I'm a wimp.

Curly hair requires lots of scrunching and if you have the patience, a hair dryer with diffuser helps the scrunching be more effective. I don't have patience for this, because my hair is super thick and my time is always short, so I just scrunch with my hands.

Immediately after showering, I towel scrunch the majority of the water out of my hair, then apply the Tresemme creme, smoothing it over and under my hair. Using the wide-tooth comb again here is a good idea, but not necessary.

Then scrunch with a t-shirt. It's soft and kinder to your hair than terrycloth. Good tip, right? Same book.  I think. In fact, maybe you should just go buy that book. Now. Run.

Okay, after the creme sits on my hair for a few minutes, I apply the Tresemme mousse, one section at a time-- left side, back, then right side, scrunching all the way. I let that sit for a short time, then lightly spray on some gel, scrunching with the t-shirt again.

And that's about it! Here are pics of the products I recommend:

Introducing... me.

I am starting this blog as a fun place to share all sorts of miscellany that I think you might like, such as tips and tricks I find useful, ideas, funny things, oddities, off-beat stories and observations of the world around me. I have a few other blogs that I use for more specific blogging, but this one is more of a general catch-all for items and tidbits that don't fit anywhere else. Hence, the subtitle: "All that is Awesome".

A little about me: I'm a mom of four kids, a wife of one husband, and a true-no-kidding Librarian at a little, rural public library. I live in Utah, and yes, I am a Mormon. I sing soprano, but love learning alto because it's more challenging. Some of my favorite things include: Disneyland, baking goodies, and watching movies and TV (check out my blog Film Critic's Daughter). I want to travel the world, publish a novel, spend a month in Hawaii, and sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir before I die. I have naturally curly brunette hair, pale skin, blue eyes and big feet. I have ancestors from Ireland. I love giving advice and have long thought it would be fun to have an advice column like "Dear Abby".  I consider myself an expert on very few things, but I do know some stuff about a wide variety of topics. I love being a mom more than any of the other hats I wear.

I have two other blogs besides the one mentioned above. One is private, and the other public one is Eventual Author. I really enjoy writing, and blogging works to fill that need for the moment, since I'm so crazy busy that I don't have time to really sit down and write a story or book.

This looks a lot like me:

The New Blogger Sucketh

Today I spent 45 minutes trying to customize my blog, here, to make it look interesting and classy and for it to be functional for what I want to do and I am left feeling a mixture of emotions.

  1. Tired. I don't have time to spend doing useless clickery on my computer, and staring at the screen as I try to figure out what I'm supposed to be clicking is tiring to my baby blues.
  2. Frustrated. I can't find the links I want to add and move and remove so-called "gadgets" or "widgets" or whatever the heck they are called. I wanted to shrink and move the soup can a bit, but I accidentally left the page for that kind of editing and couldn't find it again. I also don't care for these fonts, but every time I change them and click something else, it reformats to this basic crappy stuff. 
  3. Teeeeed off. The new Blogger is not better. It sucks. I can't find what I need. I wish they would make one single page for all your editing needs. Ick.
So, if anyone out there in the internet world can suggest a more user-friendly blog-server-thing, I would whole-heartedly appreciate it. In the meantime, it looks stupid, but I'm stuck with it, because I'm out of time and patience with editing it. Gah. 

And I'm actually quite computer literate for a non-code-monkey-type person!

*** UPDATE: I found my way back, purely by chance, and fixed a little bit of what was bothering me. Hopefully, little by little, I will figure out what else to do to customize this blog so it will live up to my dreams of awesomeness. ***