Sunday, August 31, 2008

"How do we fight off a bear with a baby on our back?!!"

My last post of Sarah Palin jogging in front of the Mendenhall glacier reminded me of the day my husband and I hiked there.

This was the glacier by my sister’s house when we lived in Juneau.

It is a massive beautiful piece of ice so big and cold it is blue. This is a very old picture so you can't see the color. You can hike next to it without a jacket in the summer.

There is a trail to hike up the mountain next to the glacier. My husband, our 1 year old on his back, and I headed up for a nice day activity. It rained almost everyday but this day it was 70 degrees and sunny . There was a nice trail to follow with signs pointing to the 3 mile or the 7 mile hike. We thought the signs were a little confusing but thought we picked the right way. Pretty soon we noticed that the trails that we had been following were branching out, taking us crazy places and we knew somewhere along the path we had taken a wrong turn. At one point it was so muddy there were no more trails.

After 6 or 7 hours, finding ourselves lost in Alaska’s wilderness, we both started to panic a little. We started talking about bears. What if we run into one? We started being really quiet. We found out later this is the opposite of what you should do. If you come upon a bear and frighten him, he might kill you. We were suppose to yell and make as much noise as possible to scare wildlife away.
We were climbing over fallen trees and falling down ourselves because of the muddy ground. I suggested an idea and we would go with it until we exhausted that idea, then we would go with my husbands idea until it didn't work. It was getting dark and we knew it would be cold at night, probably rain and we didn’t even bring jackets. We didn't know if anyone even know where to look for us. The worst and scariest part was having our baby with us. How could we fight off a bear with a baby on our back?!!

I remembered going one direction and getting excited because we thought we recognized it. We were walking and walking feeling quite optimistic when we came to a dead end, a cliff that had a 300 foot drop off to a river below. We were stumped. We had been walking for hours and didn’t have a clue where we were. I asked Kyle which way he thought it was and he pointed to the right and I said I think it is to the left.

We had no one to ask except the Lord. I said a prayer and as soon as I finished, I immediately knew exactly the way home. It was clear and I was confident. I told Kyle I know how to get home! We went the direction of my prompting and we came to a deserted log cabin that we had passed earlier in the day. In front of it we could see the paths and we saw where we had taken the wrong turn.

We made it home safe that night. Besides our daughter getting a sunburn she thought it was just another fun day.
I have no doubt in my mind that my prayer was answered that day and I am very grateful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My High School Friends

The picture to the left was taken in high school. Top to bottom, Lorna, Colette, Davina, and me.

This is Colette, Me, and Lisa on a high school ski trip.
We have been friends since we were 15. We have gone through the same stages in life together. For sanity sake, when our kids were little, we would meet every week at a park in the winter and a pizza place in the summer. (Seems backwards I know but I live in Arizona). As the kids got older we would meet for lunch once a week. We found that once a week was just what we needed to get advice, get things off our mind and catch up with each other. We also made sure we fit in one girl trip each year, usually to Calif. This was always the highlight of my year.
You all know that a vacation with the husband and the kids is really not much of a vacation for the mom. In fact, I just ran into a young mom of 5 and she said she just got home from a vacation. She said she needed a vacation from her vacation! I can relate. The reason girl trips are so great is that you are only responsible for getting yourself packed. The agenda is shopping, movies, out to eat and of course lots and lots of talking. If you have never been on a girl trip you should try it. We have even gone an hour away and got a $100.00 hotel room and split it 4 ways, so cost doesn't have to be an issue.

Here are my friends as they look today. Lisa, Colette, Lorna and Me. Do we look better now or with the Olivia Newton John headbands?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Travel Tip

I have basically been out of town the whole summer. It has been quite the challenge to keep up with this blog. I'm excited to get home and get back to normal.
I spent 7 hours in the Salt Lake airport yesterday. I won't go into ALL of the gory details..... Ok I will mention a few.....3 airplanes got cancelled, I was on and off of 2, there was a woman shoving match next to me on the plane in the isle, I had to go to the ticket counter 4 times to get new boarding passes, was personally escorted by a TSA agent through security, and they called in 4 police officers to keep peace because there were 200 people in line.
I thought it was interesting to watch how different people handled the same problem. Some freaked, some thought of better ideas, some were bullies, some had to complain to people even when they knew those people couldn't do anything to remedy the problem.
I thought to myself, since everything was handled at home and it wouldn't be a problem if I didn't get home that day so I used it as a good excuse to catch up on my to do lists, blog ideas, Christmas lists, and I wrote an hour seminar. After being out of town for 4 days I knew when I got home I would have to cook, clean, unpack etc. This was 7 hours of bonus time for myself. I watched CNN, read a good magazine, met a new friend and made plans for the next 3 months.
I did learn a great travel tip during this fiasco. We were on the first plane and the pilot stood up front and announced that the door wasn't closing properly so they were calling maintenance. We sat on the plane while they were fixing it for an hour. All of a sudden the lady next to me said they cancelled the flight! She saw the first class passengers standing up to get their luggage. She got out her itinerary with the 800 number on it and called the airline with her cell phone. She said "I am on Flight 5 and it has just been cancelled, can you put me on the next flight to Phoenix." By the time she was off the plane she was set. She didn't have to stand in line for hours. (This was the 3rd flight cancelled.) It was a brilliant move on her part and one I will do next time. Me and about 5 others ran out though security and got our tickets changed to the next flight before our planes passengers got up to the front in line.
The airlines are cutting back on flights so this scenario is going to happen more and more. My son just spent 3 hours in one of those lines in Boston when his flight was cancelled 2 weeks ago. I didn't know how to help him then.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reba McEntire-Is There Life Out There

This video is from 1991. If you can get past the hairstyles and clothes this video is pretty inspiring.

My favorite part of the song is about trying something foolish, doing something crazy, getting away and doing something for herself. She loves her family and doesn't want to leave them but she wants more.

She's always lived for tomorrow
She's never learned how
To live for today
She's dyin' to try something foolish
Do something crazy
Or just get away
Something for herself for a change

Is there life out there
So much she hasn't done
Is there life beyond
Her family and her home
She's done what she should
Should she do what she dares
She doesn't want to leave
She's just wonderin
Is there life out there

It is smart to do some of your dreams while still raising your children, like going to school and getting a degree. When you take care of you, you're happier and better able to take care of others.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman

In the book The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman you can find out what ways help you feel loved. At the end of the book there is a quiz that you and your spouse can take. These are the answers.
Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch
Different people feel love in different ways. One might feel love from compliments, one from gifts, one from doing nice things for the other. Everyone interprets love a different way. Once we find out the way our spouse feels love, we can be more effective. Instead of giving them love the way we would want it, we give them love how they want it.
For instance, one of my love languages is acts of service. I would love it if someone cleaned the kitchen, cleaned my car or ran an errand for me. This would show me that I was really loved. If I were given a gift it wouldn't mean as much to me. My other love language is words of affirmation. If I get a card that says really nice things I keep forever. This might be the complete opposite of someone else.
A clue to finding out what someone's love language is to see how they show love to you. I have a daughter that loves to throw parties, decorate and buy gifts. I can assume that is how she would like to be treated in return.
The book is to help you find out what the other person's love language is, so you can show them love in their language not yours. My husband's language is quality time. He just likes to hang out with me. He doesn't care if I am serving him or buying him stuff. Because I know his love language I make sure that I don't get too busy and ignore him.
When we are not showing others love their way we are just spinning our wheels.

For those of you who's love language is words of affirmation you are going to love this idea. I gathered up all the cards and notes that people have written me and I put them in a scrapbook. Now whenever I need a little boost I can go to this book and see all the nice things people have said about me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

I make this when I have leftover chicken and potatoes. These are the ingredients pie crust(pillsbury is better than the store brand.), cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup and evaporated milk. (If you use beef instead of chicken, use cream of mushroom soup.)

Add cut up chicken, mixed vegetables and potatoes.

Mix 1 can cream soup with 1/2 can evaporated milk. I was making 2 pies so I did 2 soups and 1 milk. Stir together. (You can stir the potatoes, chicken and veggies so you know how juicy it will be.)

Pour on soup mixture and sprinkle with lots of Laury's seasoning salt.

Cover with the other crust. Smooth milk on top of crust and salt it generously. Cut a hole in the middle of crust.

Cook at 350 for an hour and 10 minutes. If the top is getting too brown I move it to the bottom shelf or cover the top with foil. You don't want to undercook it or you will have a raw crust.

You can basically put any meat and vegetables inside this pie. It is a hit no matter what combination I do. I got this recipe from my sister in law. It is yummy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Water Storage

What if you had to go without water for a few days? I live in the desert and wonder what would happen if something went wrong with our water supply.
I just received a pamphlet in the mail from my city. It says that FEMA recommends every family in America have a 2 week supply of water.
This is from the pamphlet-
Rule of thumb: One gallon of water is needed per person per day. With careful rationing, this amount would be sufficient for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth etc. An additional 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon per person per day would allow for hygiene care.
They recommend cleaned and sanitized two-liter soda bottles or heavy opaque plastic. Do not use milk jugs or juice bottles. They cannot be cleaned well enough and can crack and leak after a year or two.
I have saved some 2 liter pop bottles. I have them in the back of storage room shelves and in the back of cabinets. I also refill bleach bottles for washing hands. I know I couldn't live with myself if my children were hungry or thirsty.
My sister was without water for 2 days in N.C. She had water stored in pop bottles too. She was the only one in her neighborhood that had water and could use a toilet because she was able to pour water in the back of the tank. She went through 60 bottles before the water was turned back on.
With the world as crazy as it is right now, a little water stored away sounds like a reasonable thing to have on hand.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dove Beauty

When I first started coaching I assumed that I was the only one that was unsure of myself. The people that were in my first class were 2 MBA's, 1 PHD, 1 President of a well known company, a motivational trainer, and a professional speaker that traveled the world speaking. Then there was me, a housewife and mother.
Was I ever intimidated. These women were the people I had always dreamed of becoming but because I wanted to stay home with my children, I hadn't done all of those grandiose things.
When I started coaching, I found one thing in common, no matter how beautiful, no matter how successful, no matter how confident on the outside, when you speak to people heart to heart, everyone has insecurities and doubts on the inside, some people just hide it better than others. This was eye opening to me.
When I see this photoshopped billboard it makes me sad. There are so many women who feel bad about themselves because they look at fake perfect people in magazines and on TV and know they don't look like that. They compare their morning face with no make up and hair done, to this billboard model that isn't even a real person.
Why do we continue to read magazines with airbrushed faces and photo shopped bodies? It only makes us feel less confident.
As I skim through fashion magazines, I unconsciously ponder on what qualities I can fix with myself. For a few hours, after looking at the glamorous pictures of celebrities and cover girl models, I become much more aware of my flaws. My sense of self may be dampened for a few hours, until I hit reality.

What I and billions of other females around the world are being fed is a lie.

Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman said, "The big success story of our entertainment industry is our ability to export insecurity: We can make any woman anywhere feel perfectly rotten about her shape."

I wholeheartedly believe this. Research conducted by Stanford University and University of Massachusetts found that 70 percent of college women say they feel worse about their own looks after reading women's magazines. Another study by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that the more frequently girls read magazines, the more likely they were to diet and feel bad about their body shape.

Ladies, these magazines are ruining our self-esteem. I won't go out on a limb by being so broad as to say that everyone is affected, but ... This was written by a college age girl.

Let's quit buying the magazines that make us feel inferior.
The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is our self.
Are you being the best you, you can be? Not perfect, but a good version of yourself?
Are you following your dreams? What have you been putting off that you would love to do and would make you feel fulfilled?
Are you being authentic? Do you follow the crowd or are you being your true self?
Are you doing a little better than you did last month? Baby steps are great!
Are you taking care of yourself? Are you in need of a haircut or color, new outfit, gym membership, massage, pedicure, nap, lunch with a friend, movie, an hour at the library, a song from Itunes?
Do something nice for you. You deserve it!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Complications of Lasik

When I had Lasik it consisted of cutting a flap with a laser, lifting the flap and using another laser to shave off some of my eyeball so I would be able to see 20/20. I had the surgery and it was the easiest procedure ever. The only problem was that I still couldn't see very well. They checked my vision and scheduled me for an enhancement. The enhancement is the same as Lasik except they don't have to cut a new flap they just lift it.
I was still pretty satisfied until 2 years later a white spot appeared on my pupil. I started wondering what if I was going blind? What if they can't fix this? That is a pretty scary thought. I went in and they told me that cells were growing under the flap. This only happens to 10% of patients. I went in and had the procedure again. They were able to rip the flap back and wash my eye and the flap to remove the cells. Sorry to gross you out. (They do give me Valium so I didn't really care what they were doing to me.)
I went in for my last appointment and they said the cells had come back. This only happens to 3% of patients. So tomorrow I go in for my 4th surgery. They give me Valium, painkillers, sleeping pills and I sleep for 24 hours straight.
The doctor did give me some comforting information. He said if the cells come back again he either has to glue or stitch my flap down. Yikes!!
After contemplating having no sight. A few surgerys are no big deal. I am thankful for my eyes. I am thankful I can see. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Be grateful for the things that are going well in your life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pink Berry

While I was in California I got to try Pink Berry. It is a very natural tasting frozen yogurt. We went there with friends and absolutely couldn't get over the stuff. We each ordered a medium and then had to go back and get a large. We could have eaten it all night. Needless to say we went back the next day and the next day. We spent more at Pink Berry than we would have spent on Disneyland tickets.
We think it tastes like either frozen Dannonactive or Kiefer. It is something you have to try to believe. It is 70 calories per half cup.
Since we have been home in Arizona we are bummed that they don't have one here. They only have them in California and New York.

This is one of the large yogurts with mango and shaved ice on the bottom. They are huge but don't fill you up at all.
Who knows what's in these that makes them so addicting?!

Monday, August 11, 2008

California Trip

We went to California on our annual trip with 8 families. Most of us stayed at the Marriott New Port Coast Villas timeshare. We ended up going to the beach 4 days, shopping and movie 2 days. My kids have a blast because they can hang out with kids their age.

Here is our group around the fire pit. We met there several nights.
Going to California is about making memories and having traditions. We have been going with the same families for years. Newport Beach, California is our favorite place to vacation; Great weather, shopping, the ocean, Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, Lego Land, Los Angeles is close and has the garment district, Jay Leno, and China Town.
Plenty of choices to keep everyone happy.
My husband brings his bike and the husbands (and Kimberly) all ride 1-3 hours a day. They are training for 2 big races coming up.

Friday, August 8, 2008

John Edwards and My Husband

Since John Edwards is all over the news, I thought I would show you a picture of him with my husband. Last year Kyle did a bike ride called Ragbrai. It is a 7 day ride across Iowa. When he got to Hampton to spend the night at his aunts house, guess who was also staying there? John, his wife, kids and entourage. John had come to ride a few miles of the race for publicity. Kyle wasn’t a supporter of John Edwards but thought is was fun hanging out with them. He gave John the bracelet he is wearing and told him how the bike ride worked. It was funny because Kyle’s aunt and uncle had to leave to go pick up their son in law at the airport, who was coming home from the Iraq. Kyle was left there by himself with the Edwards group all morning.
Kyle was on the computer working and Edward’s little boy Jack age 7 came up and said that he needed the computer. Kyle said I’m using it right now but he could use it when he was done. A few minutes later the little boy came back and said I NEED the computer. Kyle said hold on…..Jack’s dad was running for the President. There were yes men all over that jumped when John or the kids said anything. The kid wasn’t used to someone saying no to him. Finally Kyle finished up and let Edwards son on the computer and guess what he did? He got on webkins and started playing. Can you believe that?
Lance Armstrong was riding Ragbrai, so Trek, Lance's sponsor brought over new bikes for the whole family. John was scheduled to ride with Lance that afternoon.
The kids were so excited to try out their new bikes that they kept asking Kyle if he would take them for a ride. Their dad was too busy so Kyle ended up taking the kids for a ride around the neighborhood.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

A few years ago when these first came out, my sister Amy was so excited after using a magic eraser that she bought and mailed each of our sisters one. When I got it I started cleaning door handles, door jams, baseboards, scuff marks, dirty walls etc. I think I cleaned with it for a couple of hours.
My kids like using them so much that they ask me to buy them at the grocery store so they can clean walls and baseboards with them. If you haven't tried them you have know idea how fun it is. You actually go around hoping to find more grime.
My sister said that she discovered them when she was getting ready to move. She assumed she would have to repaint most of the walls in her home. She said after washing the walls with the eraser almost all of the rooms looked as good as new. It even erases crayon.
I told my friend about them and she bought the heavy duty ones and cleaned all the grout in her kitchen. I won't tell you how many hours she spent but she said it turned out beautiful.
Have I convinced you?? Thanks Amy!! I love it when I get turned on to new ideas that are inexpensive and practical, don't you? If you haven't tried one, it is DEFINITELY worth $2.99. They are in grocery stores, home depot, drugstores etc.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Homework Packets

I made 45 homework packets each at the beginning of the summer. My daughters still have one left. I thought I didn't make enough but the number worked out about right. Some summers are busier than others. Here they are working on the packets on the airplane. I have hopes that it keeps their mind in a learning mode.
At one time in my life I thought it would be fun to homeschool each child, one year each. I thought it would be a good time to bond and teach them all the things I love and believe.
I did a semester with my oldest. It wasn't what I had hoped. I did learn something from those months though. Instead of me teaching them during the school year, I decided I could teach them in the summer. The best of both worlds. This is how my homework packet idea started.
When the kids were little we would do gymnastics, piano, read and memorize poems. I taught them to read and memorize math facts. Two kids were doable. After 3 it got to be too time consuming for me so I created the packets.
I made packets appropriate for their ages. We could still read stories, do gymnastics, and learn songs together but they could do their packets alone.
I only have two kids left in school. Their summer routine is 15 min. piano, 15 min. packet, 15 min. cleaning job (clean anything they want in the house), and their bedroom and bath clean. When all of this is done they can do whatever they want the rest of the day. It sounds like a lot but it is only 1 out of 12 hours each day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Packing for a Trip

It feels like I have been traveling all summer. I am getting pretty good at packing and thought I would share my method. I get all my clothes and lay them on my bed usually biggest to smallest. I don't fold them I just lay the shirts flat with the arms outstretched. After all the pants, shirts and sweaters are laid on top of each other, I pile the things that can get wrinkled, swimsuit, coverup, pj's, underwear, socks etc. at the top of the pile.

I fold the sleeves around the bundle.

Then I fold the clothes packet in half.

Here is the suitcase opened after getting to my destination. Some of the clothes are actually less wrinkled than when I put them in.

Here is how I pack my carry ons. I use a rolling carry on bag. I used to get so tired carrying my bag and purse through 2 airports, that I would be cranky by the time I got through.

You are allowed to bring on 1 bag plus one personal item. They never say how big your purse can be. I bring the biggest purse I own. I put my regular size purse inside the big purse and can take way more stuff. I pack magazines, ipod, homework packets for the kids, notebook, snacks, beach hat etc.

This reminds me of my worst trip ever! Kyle and I took our 5 kids to Hawaii, at the time they were 15, 11, 8, 2 and 1. We flew from Arizona to California to fly out there. The plane was delayed 6 hours. After waking up early, a 6 hour delay, a 5 1/2 hour fight to Hawaii, carrying 2 babies and diaper bags through 3 airports. I was literally wiped out for days.
I learned a huge lesson, #1 to rent the carts that hold all your bags and #2 have rollers on everything. This includes each child with their own rolling carry on.
Had I planned better and taken care of myself, it could have been a great trip. Instead I tried to be superwoman and leave the house perfectly clean, pack the kids, load the car, carry the luggage, not rent the cart for $2.00, pack the kids and bags in the rental car and go to the hotel for a complete breakdown. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Why do we try to do so much?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Branson, Missouri-Silver Dollar City

I just got back from a family reunion in Branson, Missouri. It is kind of like Las Vegas for those of you who aren't familiar with it. There are magic shows, a circus, impersonators, variety shows. comedians, Spirit of the Dance etc. There are a lot of hillbilly type billboards on the way into town. It is middle America at it's best; clean shows and entertainment for families.
I grew up in Oklahoma and have been to Branson 4 times. We love it.

Just like Las Vegas the whole town is lit up and the buildings have themes.

My favorite part of Branson is going to their theme park, Silver Dollar City. It is similar to Knott's Berry Farm in California if you have been there.

It is very clean, pretty and has the best food of any Theme park I have been to. The other nice thing about the park is that there are mature shade trees all over the entire park. We were in the shade most of the day.
These flowers were all over the park.

Another bonus of Silver Dollar City is that inside you can go down into Marvel Cave. It is a wet limestone cave under the Ozark Mountains.

My mother, four of my 5 siblings and some of the kids met in Branson and had 4 days of fun together. When I told people where I was going I got blank stares. I don't know anybody that has ever been there. It is a shame that more people aren't familiar with the town. It has more things to do than you can do in a month and the people are great too:)