Friday, February 26, 2010

I Announce the Rainbow Brite Winners

And it's all of you! They sent me a pack of CDs to give away and I have enough to give one to each of you. =)

So... if you're in my ward, I'll bring the CDs to church. Otherwise, e-mail me ( with your mailing address and I'll send the CD to you as soon as I can. =)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aaron Is Handy

Aaron often complains that he has no handyman skills, but a couple of weeks ago he very handily fixed a problem at our house and the solution is still working beautifully!

Brekken recently discovered the water and ice dispenser in the door of our fridge. He was very ingenious about it... he would use toys, cups or anything he found around the house to stretch up and push the lever to turn on the water. Or push a stool or toy over to the fridge to he could reach the lever with a hand. Then he would just let the water flow. He was always thrilled with the cascades of water all over himself, the fridge, and the floor. Aaron and I were less thrilled.

We love the water dispenser in the fridge, so we didn't want to disconnect it. We tried just putting cups and long toys and stools out of his reach so he couldn't get to the dispenser, but he was more creative than we were. He could always find something new to use.

We decided we had to figure out a way to babyproof the dispenser. My first reaction (as it often is) was to Google it. I was just sure that someplace like Babies R Us sold a little gadget to fix this problem. They don't. Instead, I read:

"Crushed ice and water dispensers on refrigerators: what a great convenience for us, not to mention energy savings as well by not having to open the refrigerator door. Most newer models have been introduced with a higher mounting location and are out of a toddler's reach. If fortune did not shine on you and an early model sits in your kitchen, good luck when your toddler takes an interest in this option and you still wish to keep it in use."
Great. Thanks. That's a lot of help.

But when I got home from work that day, I discovered that Aaron had already fixed the problem. And for a lot less than any gadget from Babies R Us!

That would be an ordinary piece of laminated paper. It was part of Haley's schoolwork that she didn't need anymore. Aaron just taped it over the water and ice dispenser area.

There's a handy tab of folded-over tape at the top (where only Aaron and I can reach it!). When we want to use the dispenser, we just use the tab to pull down the paper and access the water. Then we tape it right back up so Brekken can't get to the dispenser. Voila! No more watery messes on the floor!

It works for me! :) To see what's working for others this week, head over to for more Works for Me Wednesday ideas!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Haley & Preston Play Hide & Squeak

Last night, Preston came running out to the living room and told us they were playing "Hide and Squeak." He needed us to help him choose a hiding spot. We suggested that he hide behind the curtains, and off he went.

He kept wiggling around and making noise, and we told him he needed to be quiet so Haley couldn't find him easily. He kept making noises and we told him again to be quiet.

Finally, he told us indignantly "But I have to squeak!"

Oh. Well, he did tell us from the beginning that they were playing Hide and Squeak!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Haley Wears My Hand-Me-Downs

Last time we visited my parents, my mom gave me a couple of keepsakes to take home. One was my doll Dawna. I'll have to remember to take pictures of her for another blog post. The other thing she sent was a dress that I wore in kindergarten. My school picture from that year has me wearing that dress.

Now Haley is in kindergarten and she has decided she loves that dress. She wore it to church and I think she looks cuter in it than I ever did! :D

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We Celebrated Valentine's Day... you know, last week

For Valentines Day, the kids and I made candy... heart-shaped chocolates, because it seemed appropriate. =)

Actually, Haley and Preston made chocolates. I put the chocolate in some squeeze bottles and melted it, then handed over the squeeze bottles and chocolate to Haley and Preston. Brekken and I just waited impatiently to be able to eat the finished candy!

Haley and Preston had a grand time making the chocolates.

I didn't get the white and red candy melts mixed completely (because Haley and Preston were too impatient to get started). So we didn't get the pink color they requested. But the swirled red and white actually looked very cool. Almost like we did it on purpose.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Am the Only One There

"Morning, Tara."
"Good morning, Bill."
"Off to the big city again today?"
"As always!"

I give you this little snippet of my usual morning conversation with the bus driver to point out a couple of things.

1) The bus driver recognizes me because he sees me every day.
2) He remembers that I go all the way to Denver. Every day.

I'm the only one who gets on the bus at this first stop. For the first 5-10 minutes of the bus ride, I am the ONLY passenger on the bus. And again, he knows me and knows where I am headed.

Why, then, does he feel the need to fire up the PA system on the bus and announce every upcoming stop as we drive through the streets of Brighton on the way to the Park and Ride?

"South 50th and Pelican"
"South 50th and Southern"
"South 50th and Bridge"
"Bridge and 45th"
"Texas" (I swear that's what he said this morning... but I might not have been paying close attention...)

And on and on it goes. Announcing all of these potential stops... apparently just in case I suddenly decide that today, I'm NOT going to Denver after all. I'm getting off at Texas. =)

(BTW, it's just him. When a different driver takes the morning route or I catch a later bus, the other drivers don't do this. So it's not that it's a required RTD policy or something. Strange.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Give Away More Stuff

Remember Rainbow Brite?

I remember watching the cartoon when I was a kid and playing Rainbow Brite with my sibs. It's a fun memory. Now they're going to bring Rainbow Brite back again as a doll and probably a TV show.

Since I have fond memories of Rainbow Brite, when I was offered a new Rainbow Brite CD with games and songs and a couple of short Rainbow Brite cartoons, I thought my kids would enjoy it. I was right, they've had fun with the CD. Haley liked the cartoon episodes. Preston especially loves to play the song. Over and over. And over. And over.

I was also given a few extra copies of the Rainbow Brite CD to give away. If you want one for your kids, just post a comment to let me know you'd like to be entered. Contest ends on Wednesday, February 24 at 11:59 p.m.

Rainbow Brite CDs courtesy of MomSelect and BSM Media. I also received a copy of the CD. I was not paid for my review.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I love the Olympics

Aaron and I are obsessed with the Olympics. We love it all... from the mainstream sports like ice skating to the often overlooked sports like curling. We run short on sleep for a couple of weeks because we stay up for the late night coverage after the news. We check in on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, and Universal Sports to find all the televised coverage. We hate to have to go to work and miss the events they show during the day. (I have my laptop today... I wonder if I could watch online while I work?) Yep, definitely obsessed.

This is an obsession of long standing. In fact, it's part of how Aaron and I got together in the first place. When Aaron moved to Colorado, he didn't have a television. Since we were friends (we knew each other in college, and had recently reconnected when he moved to Colorado from Iowa), I made a friendly offer that he could come over and watch some Olympics at my place if he wanted.

In spite of the fact that it was a good 80 miles from his apartment to mine, he made that trip pretty darned often. We spent a lot of hours watching Olympic coverage and getting to know each other again. The large amounts of time we spent together quickly led my friends to ask me if we were dating. (My response: I have no idea! I'm confused.) But obviously something was clicking, because we were married only 6 months later. =)

So I love the Olympics because I love the sports and the competition. I get a tear in my eye for a particularly great moment (such as when Canada won it's first gold medal at home last night!). But I also love the Olympics because watching them with Aaron always stirs up fond memories for me about those early days together and how fun (and yes, confusing) that was. Ah, happy days!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Haley Writes and Reads

Last week at school, Haley wrote a little story. The teacher liked it enough that Haley got to read it to the whole class. Then she got to go to the office and read her story to the principal and all the office staff.

Her story:

<-- This is Cupid.

"I looked up and I saw him. And then I siad what are you doing here? And he siad Im here to spred love."
Pretty good for a kindergartener. I'm thinking we have a budding author in the family. =)

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Announce a Giftcard Winner

Congratulations to Dolphin Girl!! You won the $50 gift card!

Please e-mail me with your address and contact information and I will get the card sent right out to you. =)

(Just to make it fair to others, I have to put a limit on the time to respond. Please send me your information no later than Sunday, February 14 or I will have to pick another winner. Thanks!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Want to Win a New Stove

How about you, would you like to win a new stove? It's a pretty cool one - one of the ones that Kelly Ripa advertises on TV. The Induction Range from Electrolux. I know I've watched the commercial and wished fervently that I could boil water in 90 seconds! And that smooth cooktop looks so beautifully easy to clean... I'm dreaming of it right now. (As I picture my own cooktop, with all its nooks and crannies that is so annoying to clean. So annoying that I don't clean it nearly often enough!)

So when I found out that I could enter for a chance to win this new stove and support a good cause, I was all over that. I thought you might be, too.

The good cause is ovarian cancer research, through "Kelly's Cake Off for a Cause." Kelly Ripa and the baker and cake decorator Buddy Valastro (from TLC's "Cake Boss") recently joined forces at a fun event to bake lavishly decorated cakes in support of The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). To add to the excitement, five teams of baking enthusiasts were invited to take part in Kelly's Cake Off, where they used what they learned from Kelly and the Cake Boss, to decorate their own cakes. Although you might not get to taste these virtual masterpieces, you can still weigh in on the results! By visiting, you can cast a vote for your favorite cake from Kelly's Cake Off.

For every vote cast, Electrolux will donate $1 to OCRF as part of its $500,000 commitment to help fight ovarian cancer! And since love is on everyone's mind these days, you can even decorate and send a special virtual cake to a friend, family member or someone you love. For every cake sent, Electrolux will donate another $1 to OCRF. Plus, you can get cake decorating tips from Buddy.

Finally, if supporting a good cause is not enough to get you to click over, everyone who logs on to the site and sends a virtual cake will be automatically entered for a chance to win every baker's dream: a stylish new Induction Range from Electrolux. Oh yeah, that's the one I want!

To enter, go to and cast your vote. Send a virtual cake. Support ovarian cancer research and just maybe you'll get lucky and win that new stove! (Though, of course, I really hope it's me that wins. ;) )

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Love Swagbucks

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I love Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you with points (Swagbucks) when you do a search. The search engine is powered by Google, so it gets good results. When the points build up enough, you can redeem them for gift cards, music downloads, and other cool stuff.

My choice is always an gift card. I ALWAYS have a few (or more) books wishlisted on Amazon, so as soon as my points build up enough, I get myself another gift card. That results in happy moments like the one I just had...
  • A favorite author has a new book coming out next week. I decided to pre-order so it would show up on my doorstep ASAP.
  • I put it in my cart for a cost of $14.55.
  • I redeemed $14.50 in Amazon gift cards.
  • I paid five cents for the book I am so anxiously awaiting!

I can justify getting myself a new book instead of waiting to get it from the library when it only costs me five cents. =)

If you want to start earning points at Swagbucks, click here:

And don't forget to go here ( and leave a comment for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Safeway!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Read "Face of Betrayal" by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

Another book review for Thomas Nelson book review bloggers program (now called Booksneeze).This time around I'm reviewing Face of Betrayal by Lis Wiehl and April Henry.

Summary - If you recall the Chandra Levy case from back in 2001, you have the basic idea for this plot. A Senate page disappears and in the course of the investigation it comes out that she was involved with a Senator and suspicion falls on him. There is quite a twist from reality at the end!

Reaction - I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was entertaining and engaging. I read it in just over one day because I didn't want to put it down. Though parts of the plot are "ripped from the headlines" as the saying goes, I liked the twists that the author added to her fictionalization. I'm looking forward to reading her next book (released in April 2010).

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Watch Infomercials

I've already admitted that I watch kids' TV, so I might as well admit one of my other bad TV viewing habits... I watch infomercials. In fact, I'm a sucker for a good infomercial. And now that they sell all these things at Target and Walgreens, it's so easy to pick one up and give it a try. Which I do. Far too often!
The Turbo Cooker... I was going to save so much time cooking! Used it less than a dozen times.

Turbo Snake... We have some really slow drains. I haven't used it yet, but it's sitting on the counter. Maybe I'll give it a try this weekend.

Ped Egg... This actually works great! When I don't have time or money for a pedicure (which is most of the time) this is a great substitute.

Pancake Puffs... Haley was obsessed with this commercial and begged for it. We've used it maybe 5 times. Not because it doesn't work as advertised, it's just kind of a pain.

Mighty Mendit... Doesn't hold nearly as well as promised in the commercials.

The Gopher reaching tool... We use this in the van. It's great on long trips when I need to pass things to kids in the backseat without getting out of my seat!

Garden Claw... It really does dig out those stubborn weeds much better than pulling them or digging with shovel or trowel.
Button Mate... I love this thing! Our dryer is horrible about pulling off buttons, so I'm constantly having to replace them. So quick and easy to do using this little tool.
Bare Minerals... Great makeup! But too expensive. I got the sample kit and loved it, but could never afford to upgrade to the full makeup kit.

Six Week Body Makeover... Yeah, I think it lasted a week.

Big Top Cupcake pan... I don't have it yet, but I want it!

My kids have obviously inherited my tendencies. Right now, Haley really wants the Touch 'N' Brush toothpaste dispenser.

"Mom, it comes in two designer colors! We'll never waste toothpaste again! It's so simple even a child can operate it!"

And Preston wants the Twin Draft Guards.
Not for himself though. He's more generous than that. Whenever he sees the commercial he informs me that he needs to get that so he can give it to Sarah. Because "She would love that." (Sarah Sherman - Preston has a crush on her.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We're big fans of yogurt at our house. We go through a lot of it! Aaron takes a couple of cups to work every day, the kids eat it as a snack. I like to get the citrusy flavors and eat them as a treat. Since I am allergic to citrus, I can't eat the actual fruit, but the yogurt has that good citrus taste without enough of the allergens to make me sick. Good deal!

So with the popularity of yogurt at our house, we always like to learn about a new variety or a good deal. Here's some of both!

Best-selling author and food expert Lisa Lillien, AKA Hungry Girl, has given her “seal of approval” to the new Fiber One yogurt, the only leading nonfat yogurt with 50 calories and 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of the Recommended Daily Value). It is also a good source of calcium and vitamins A and D, making this a guilt-free and all-around great choice for dieters and those watching their weights. Each cup includes the creamy, delicious taste you expect from Yoplait, and you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying it. Fiber One is available in a variety of flavors including, Strawberry, Peach, Vanilla and Key Lime Pie (see what Hungry Girl thinks about the new yogurt here: !)

From January 13th through February 9th, the Safeway family of stores has a special deal where you can purchase two 4-packs of Fiber One yogurt for only $4! This is a great way to give the new yogurt a try.

Another great way to give it a try? How about winning this giveaway?

One lucky reader will win a Fiber One gift bag. It includes:
  • Fiber One yogurt VIP coupon (good for a free 4-pack of Fiber One yogurt)
  • Oops! Sorry about this! I mis-read the giveaway instructions from BlogSpark. They are not giving away the VIP coupon. But they are giving away the $50 giftcard, which is even better than a coupon!
  • $50 Safeway (also good at Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, Genuardi’s) gift card that you can use to stock up on Fiber One yogurt and enjoy the everyday values that Safeway has to offer.

To enter, leave a comment and tell me - Have you tried Fiber One yogurt? Would you like to? Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10.

Legal stuff:

The gift card and Fiber One information were given to me from Safeway (Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, Genuardi’s) and Fiber One through MyBlogSpark. I also received a Fiber One gift bag (coupon and gift card).

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Like Kids' Stuff

I love the Backyardigans. And Veggie Tales. And Phineas and Ferb. And iCarly is really growing on me. And the Wizards of Waverly Place is pretty good, too.

I find a lot of good books to read in the Juvenile Fiction and Young Adult areas of the library. Some of my all-time favorite books are technically intended for teenagers (even if you don't count Harry Potter).

And sometimes I listen to Radio Disney or the Veggie Tales CDs even when the kids aren't around.

I know it's all kids' stuff, but I like it anyway. Who says I have to grow up and dislike that stuff just because I'm 35 and supposedly an adult? All of these things are fun and entertaining and clean. I don't have to worry about suddenly skipping past an inappropriate scene or explaining the lyrics of the song that just played. It's nice.

So I'm not going to complain when my kids want to watch an iCarly marathon. After all, as someone pointed out the other day, it could be a lot worse. It could be Barney.