Party in the UK

Now honestly, wouldn't a webcam have been much cheaper than THIS?? I'm SO glad our prez doesn't feel like HE has to cut back on expenses or perks or greenhouse gasses- only the rest of us in the country.

Hmmm... I wonder what the carbon footprint of THIS trip is...?


I want to cry.

Because I've been living in ignorance about Obama's Cap & Trade scheme. Until now. Holy CRAP. I knew a bit about Al Gore and him buying these ridiculous carbon credits from himself, all the while flying around on a private jet and touting himself as an environmentalist. Whatev... now I'm just learning about the Chicago Climate Exchange and how deeply Obama is involved in this global warming crap too... and I'm just seeing the tip of the iceberg here {the one that's not shrinking, at all}

Please read THIS.


and THIS.


Huh, why haven't we heard this on CNN? I wonder...


Idol Review.

Staci started it, so I'll continue with a review of Motown Week. Smoky Robinson could be a Stephenie Meyer vampire with that eye color, methinks... I won't mention the obvious plastic surgery... yikes.

It's getting painfully obvious who the judges like - and a little disgusting that America votes exactly how those four judges want them to. Sheesh!

Michael - BUMMER, dude. At least he still gets to go on the summer Idol tour. Does he have what it takes to get a record deal and create a singing career to support his cute little family? Dunno - but it will be QUITE sad if ends up on another oil rig again, though, don't you think?

Megan - DITTO on Staci's comment. She was, again, utterly painful to watch and listen to. What was with the Malibu Barbie outfit?? It's just plain WRONG that she wasn't in the bottom three.

Scott - SERIOUSLY. I'm so over him and his nasalicious voice. It so bugs me how the judges tiptoe around him - Let's not say anything bad about the "disabled", shall we? How is that equal treatment? And I know he'd visually impaired, but WHO THE HECK PICKED OUT THE PINK JEANS? Nick was thinking he could start doing Sunday evening firesides for the stakes around here... he IS from Scottsdale, you know. Somebody get that kid a Book of Mormon. In Braille.

Matt - Bottom TWO? What the ? I really need to start voting. Matt's got "mad skills", I must say. Sad, but I'm pretty sure that he won't last much longer.

Lil - total throwback to Motown. Loved her performance, and her outfit. But... was she wearing a wig? Odd... I guess it fit the theme...

Danny - Really need to turn it up a notch, my friend! I KNOW he has it in him to win this thing, or at least give Adam a run for his money.

Allison - I think she's awesome, but her youth plays against her a bit. Seems immature in interviews, etc. Can someone please work on her LOOK, and clean her up a bit? Maybe tone the hair down a little, just leave a little red highlight around the face... I don't know, that's what stylists are for.

Anoop - Speaking of stylists, can we get a little waxing of some eyebrows, please?? I love Anoop Dog's voice, I really do - and though the attractive factor isn't there for me, there's just something about him I like. Ugh, Could he have sang a more boring song, though?

Kris - yawn. I know, I know, people like him... he's just so VANILLA for me. I need a little rocky road or mocha or New York Super Fudge Chunk in my life...

Which brings me to...

Adam - *insert happy sigh* - like how he changed it UP this week, but I'm hoping this new, toned-down Adam doesn't become a habit. This week he totally had that Elvis - Roy Orbison vibe going on, but I miss the edginess, the hair, the dangerous, the sultry... I'm glad the judges like him too, which tells me he'll be around for a while. Do you think he took off the nail polish strictly for Randy Travis' benefit? He's the only one I truly look forward to hearing every week!


Powerball, here I come!

SO! My little 5-yr-old has four cavities, and my silly dentist wants four.hundred.smackaroos. to take care of them next Wednesday. Wednesday also happens to be the day I need to sign up for swim lessons. Ain't no chump change there, either. Wednesday is ALSO the day I need to sign up my girls for their Fun To Flip camp- - and those highway robbers want even more money from me than my dentist does. Yes, the goal is for the A team to raise money, but it can't happen in time for signups... so hopefully they'll raise enough to pay me back. Sheesh! Okay, lottery commercials, I guess you're right, "you can't win if you don't play..."


Fun to Flip & Conference Cinnamon Rolls

I'm starting a little project to teach my girls about work. They will be attending a gymnastics camp this July and be raising their OWN MONEY to do so. We will be making homemade cookies (complete with pastel M&Ms) and/or cinnamon rolls for Easter, which will be beautifully wrapped up and delivered to your door {or to the door of someone you choose} on the day of your choice between April 4th - April 11th! {Within a REASONABLE delivery area, that is - Amanda, you're out of luck.} Prices will be as follows:

1 plate Cinnamon Rolls (6-8 depending on size) $6
2 plates - $10
1 Dozen M&M cookies - $5
1 Dozen Homemade Oreos - $6

The girls will also be making phone calls to try and sell their goodies as well. I'm loving this idea!


A trip to Safford...

always includes the following:

Lots of Papa time:A makeover from Cassie:Jumping on the trampoline:and plenty of kid-spoiling-family-hanging-out-time:Including hanging out with Heath and his dirt bike {here the girls are, demonstrating how they DROVE the bike this time - YIKES!}:
and not pictured, but a trip to Safford also always includes many many hours of scrapbooking at Karen's house, the girls playing on the Wii, morning walks with Papa, finding yucca branches to make stick horses out of, usually a wood-cutting project or two, and lots of riding up and down the street on the big blue trikes at Papa's house.

And lastly, and most importantly, a trip to Safford ALWAYS includes at least one or two or three trips to this place:Where my children engage in this activity:
And where great amounts of these are consumed {yep those are corn AND FLOUR - I know you're salivating...}:{I should have taken a picture of my Caffeine free Diet Coke with Vanilla as well. Yummmmmm....}

I can't even explain my family's love affair with Casa. I can't even remember a trip when I went ANYWHERE ELSE first. Usually everyone just meets me at Casa on my way into town... sigh... anyone up for a road trip?


Motherhood is not for wimps.


My 7 1/2-yr-old is currently WAILING in her bedroom, after RUNNING up the stairs and STOMPING down the hall.


Ah, yes, tell me about it.


Yes, yes, I know - isn't it sad that I'm not making Easy Mac tonight??


Well geez, kid, you at least need to try this stuff that I slaved over a hot stove today to make {Jackie I think this "grown-up" m&c is great, really.}

HONESTLY, why do I even TRY to make home-cooked, nutritious, non-preservative filled foods, from scratch, when all my kids want is the FAKE STUFF?


Well, I got one out of three on my Idol prediction. Bummer, Alexis...

I'M SO SICK OF THE CONSTRUCTION AROUND HERE!!!! It's takes me 10 minutes longer to get anywhere, and to get home from anywhere! And at 7:30 in the morning, an extra ten minutes is enough to make us LATE! Even when I tell myself to remember on the way home, over and over, I still end up forgetting and then having to make a U-turn to come home a different way. Usually I'm pretty patient with road projects because I try to envision how much nicer stuff will be... well my patience is GONE!

HEY! Why don't I get to VOTE on whether Arizona gets any stimulus money?? I don't WANT IT, thank you very little! People are so SHORT-SIGHTED on this stuff! Hey, let's give the feds even MORE control! MORE money! Why NOT?? They've been so FREAKIN' responsible with all the money we've coughed up in the past!!!!!!!!!!!


Hey, you think SRP can get some bailout money too, then maybe WE could get a bonus this year? Sheesh!


In other news, Allison will most likely have to have one of her bottom teeth pulled soon to make room for one of her permanent teeth. Anybody know a good ortho in Laveen/South Phoenix??


Idol Review.

WOW - oh, how I loved "country week" - though most of the songs didn't even REMOTELY sound country.

Michael - Impressive! Loved the Garth vibe! Simon can be such an idiot, geez, can it be any more obvious that he just HATES country music??

Allison - eh, I THOUGHT she was good tonight, that is, until I heard everyone else...

Lil - I thought this would be GREAT but she was SO out of her element. Seemed to drag... It's like she's never heard the original by Martina. Which, actually, maybe she hasn't...

Alexis, Alexis - what was she thinking? HATED it. She could have ROCKED this week. Sigh.

Danny - strange song choice, I thought. He's still got that charisma I like so much, though... {does anyone else think he's gained weight? Or is white just SO NOT his color?}

Kris - Nice, but kind of weak. I'm more into powerhouse singers. What's with the girly spelling of his name, anyway?

Anoop - Ditto. Seems he and Kris took the same path this week.

Megan - I get it, she had the flu this week, but again, it was uncomfortable for me. The way she moves, her little shimmy, strange facial expressions, the way she has to strain to hit notes... ugh. Take your tat and go home.

Scott - I'm sorry, but it's also time to go home. I like his personality, he seems a cool guy, but really, the fireside is over.

Matt - LOVE HIM. He was fantastic this week. I miss his hat, though...








ADAM! WHAT THE HECK??? THIS GUY IS AMAZING! Nick and I seriously rewound his song (is that a word?) and watched it 3 times. I LOVE him. He's SO captivating, dramatic, with his bedroom eyes, the way he works the camera, and don't even get me STARTED on his vocal ability. I was telling Nick it was like Steven Tyler & the Cure had a love child - until Randy hit the nail on the HEAD with his "Nine Inch Nails does country" comment. Spot on.

My prediction for tomorrow night: Bottom Three: Alexis, Megan and Scott. How bout yours??

Boredom settling in.

Things happening around my house today:

One of our phones is off the hook. It also happens to be lost, so you won't have any luck reaching me at home.

Allison finally lost her other front tooth this morning. She insisted on taking it to school, though, so it will probably be lost and long gone by the time I see her this afternoon.

I made a lasagna at 9am. Why? No idea. Just happened to have all the ingredients in my fridge. At least now Nick can take his lunch the rest of the week.

Manda is watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A little scary for Josh? No, she assured me, he's fine. So glad that my 5-yr-old is looking out for his well-being.

Figuring out that Manda has 138 days until school starts. UGH. She is horrible about entertaining herself with anything other than the TV lately.

SO procrastinating cleaning my kitchen floor on my hands and knees. Still don't have a new mop.

Waiting for a bunch of Ebay auctions to end tonight. Anybody want some stamp sets?

Planning lessons, activities, etc. for the summer. Do I plan morning swim lessons, so we can have tired, sleepy afternoons? If so, I miss out on volleyball and any trips to the museum. Evening swim lessons mean more expense, and missing out on gymnastics for the summer...but would allow for summer movies on a day other than Fridays and perhaps a weekly trip to the Legacy. Hmmm... please share your plans for the summer!

I have ZERO to blog about. Can you tell??


Glenn Beck and the 9/12 Project

In 1754, when Benjamin Franklin first posted his political cartoon, titled "Join or Die", it was an attempt to rally the American people, to draw them from complacency and force them to realize that only in a unified body could they possibly survive the approaching threat posed by a foreign enemy. A decade later it was raised again and renamed "Unite or Die", this time calling for rebellion against Mother England whose forces already resided on American soil. On March 13th, Glenn Beck raised this banner once more as a call to Americans to unite against another internal threat to her freedom. The enemy at our door, and in our homes, Beck explains. But it is a smoke and shadow show, easily defeated, not by armies and armament, but by values and principles.
Read Glenn Beck's own words:
Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it? Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore? Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach…as if you’re completely alone? If so, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie.
While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull the curtain away you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all. We surround them. So, how do we show America what’s really behind the curtain? Below are nine simple principles. If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common. I urge you to read the instructions at the end for how to help make your voice heard.

The Nine Principles
1. America is good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
The Twelve Values:
Hard Work
Personal Responsibility

If you agree with at least seven of those principles, then you are not alone. Please send a digital version of your picture to: wesurroundthem@foxnews.com and then stay tuned to the radio and television shows over the coming weeks to see how we intend to pull back the curtain.
Latter-day Saints will recognize how closely these values coincide with President Hinckley's "Bees". Lovers of American history will recognize the nations founding principles embedded here. These are not new ideas. But new voices are reminding us to clean our house . . our inner house, and demand nothing less from those who govern and lead.
God, family, country . . . God, family country. . . Thump, thump, thump. . . That's the beat of the American heart. can you hear it?
Please forward this and/or the link to Beck's wesurroundthem@foxnews.com.


March Mini-Album Project

This is the album we will be doing at March's scrapbook night:How cute, right? Yours will look just like this, minus the reddish-brown inking around the edges... because I'm not crazy how that turned out. {Shocking, me not liking inking, but it's true...I think left white would be better.} It's 6"x6" and stands up, see? You'll notice how it says "Counting my blessings"... you'll have homework on this part... There are 12 page protectors inside, so we'll be working on this cover and then those 12 pages. Each page will have a different "blessing" listed. Mine will be "Love" "Family" "Friends" "Home" "Talents" "Church" "Health" "Laughter" "Stability" "Opportunities" and... I'm not quite sure yet. Think about what yours would include: Lastly, the ribbons! I put about 25 on here, and I feel it could use a lot more. If you have any lime green, chocolate, blue, or deep red- colored ribbons, or any combo of any of those colors, please, bring them.Cost is still TBD, but will probably range between $12 and $15. Money needs to be IN MY HANDS by March 18th. Leave me a comment if you want in, and get on that HOMEWORK! You'll need a SHORT block of text written about, or a photo representing, EACH of those blessings. Get busy!

11 Most Expensive Catastrophes in History

An interesting read...

# 11. Titanic - $150 Million
The sinking of the Titanic is possibly the most famous accident in the world. But it barely makes the list of top 11 most expensive. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage and was considered to be the most luxurious ocean liner ever built. Over 1,500 people lost their lives when the ship ran into an iceberg and sunk in frigid waters. The ship cost $7 million to build ($150 million in today ' s dollars).

# 10. Tanker Truck vs Bridge - $358 Million
On August 26, 2004, a car collided with a tanker truck containing 32,000 liters of fuel on the Wiehltal Bridge in Germany . The tanker crashed through the guardrail and fell 90 feet off the A4 Autobahn resulting in a huge explosion and fire which destroyed the load-bearing ability of the bridge. Temporary repairs cost $40 million and the cost to replace the bridge is estimated at $318 Million.

# 9. MetroLink Crash - $500 Million
On September 12, 2008, in what was one of the worst train crashes in California history, 25 people were killed when a Metrolink commuter train crashed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Los Angeles It is thought that the Metrolink train may have run through a red signal while the conductor was busy text messaging.. Wrongful death lawsuits are expected to cause $500 million in losses for Metrolink.

# 8. B-2 Bomber Crash - $1.4 Billion
Here we have our first billion dollar accident (and we ' re only #8 on the list). This B-2 stealth bomber crashed shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam on February 23, 2008. Investigators blamed distorted data in the flight control computers caused by moisture in the system. This resulted in the aircraft making a sudden nose-up move which made the B-2 stall and crash. This was 1 of only 21 ever built and was the most expensive aviation accident in history. Both pilots were able to eject to safety.

# 7. Exxon Valdez - $2.5 Billion
The Exxon Valdez oil spill was not a large one in relation to the world ' s biggest oil spills, but it was a costly one due to the remote location of Prince William Sound (accessible only by helicopter and boat). On March 24, 1989, 10.8 million gallons of oil was spilled when the ship ' s master, Joseph Hazelwood, left the controls and the ship crashed into a Reef. The cleanup cost Exxon $2.5 billion.

# 6. Piper Alpha Oil Rig - $3.4 Billion
The world ' s worst off-shore oil disaster. At one time, it was the world ' s single largest oil producer, spewing out 317,000 barrels of oil per day. On July 6, 1988, as part of routine maintenance, technicians removed and checked safety valves which were essential in preventing dangerous build-up of liquid gas. There were 100 identical safety valves which were checked. Unfortunately, the technicians made a mistake and forgot to replace one of them. At 10 PM that same night, a technician pressed a start button for the liquid gas pumps and the world ' s most expensive oil rig accident was set in motion.
Within 2 hours, the 300 foot platform was engulfed in flames. It eventually collapsed, killing 167 workers and resulting in $3.4 Billion in damages.

# 5. Challenger Explosion - $5.5 Billion
The Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed 73 seconds after takeoff due on January 28, 1986 due to a faulty O-ring. It failed to seal one of the joints, allowing pressurized gas to reach the outside. This in turn caused the external tank to dump its payload of liquid hydrogen causing a massive explosion. The cost of replacing the Space Shuttle was $2 billion in 1986 ($4.5 billion in today ' s dollars). The cost of investigation, problem correction, and replacement of lost equipment cost $450 million from 1986-1987 ($1 Billion in today ' s dollars).

# 4. Prestige Oil Spill - $12 Billion
On November 13, 2002, the Prestige oil tanker was carrying 77,000 tons of heavy fuel oil when one of its twelve tanks burst during a storm off Galicia , Spain . Fearing that the ship would sink, the captain called for help from Spanish rescue workers, expecting them to take the ship into harbour. However, pressure from local authorities forced the captain to steer the ship away from the coast. The captain tried to get help from the French and Portuguese authorities, but they too ordered the ship away from their shores. The storm eventually took its toll on the ship resulting in the tanker splitting in half and releasing 20 million gallons oil into the sea.
According to a report by the Pontevedra Economist Board, the total cleanup cost $12 billion.

# 3. Space Shuttle Columbia - $13 Billion
The Space Shuttle Columbia was the first space worthy shuttle in NASA ' s orbital fleet. It was destroyed during re-entry over Texas on February 1, 2003 after a hole was punctured in one of the wings during launch 16 days earlier. The original cost of the shuttle was $2 Billion in 1978. That comes out to $6.3 Billion in today ' s dollars. $500 million was spent on the investigation, making it the costliest aircraft accident investigation in history. The search and recovery of debris cost $300 million.
In the end, the total cost of the accident (not including replacement of the shuttle) came out to $13 Billion according to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics..

# 2. Chernobyl - $200 Billion
On April 26, 1986, the world witnessed the costliest accident in history. The Chernobyl disaster has been called the biggest socio-economic catastrophe in peacetime history. 50% of the area of Ukraine is in some way contaminated. Over 200,000 people had to be evacuated and resettled while 1.7 million people were directly affected by the disaster. The death toll attributed to Chernobyl , including people who died from cancer years later, is estimated at 125,000. The total costs including cleanup, resettlement, and compensation to victims has been estimated to be roughly $200 Billion. The cost of a new steel shelter for the Chernobyl nuclear plant will cost $2 billion alone. The accident was officially attributed to power plant operators who violated plant procedures and were ignorant of the safety requirements needed.

# 1. 2008 Presidential Election- $800 Billion in the first two months………..


I heart Ebay for a reason.

Today, I got a wild hair to go run some errands. With my two kids in tow. Whew. Every once in a while, I think I just need to be reminded how unpleasant it is to shop. We went to Marshall's - bought nothing. What a waste of a store. Josh tipped over the stroller, and broke a piece off the handle, making it difficult to collapse the thing. UGH. I hope it can be fixed. Actually, I hope it's still under warranty. Michael's - got a couple of things, but forgot my coupon. Dang. Old Navy - bought nothing. Manda couldn't figure out where the dog was, that you sit by and push a button for it to sing...(like the one they have in Avondale. That girl's memory is AMAZING - she's only been there once!) Succumbed to fast food. Gag. Joshy Josh actually did okay eating a roast beef sandwich, though, well, until he noticed the curly fries, that is. Trader Joe's - not too bad, with the little cart and a balloon for each kid upon checking out. I had to MAKE myself resist looking for the dark chocolate-covered salted almonds. It's a good thing I don't know my way around that place. Costco - quick return, during a kicking a screaming fit on the floor. Sears resulted in a new dress for Manda, and an oh-so-fun trip to the bathroom with both kids, where Josh touched EVERYTHING. The dress was cheap, and it looks it, but M LOVES it, so I guess it all worked out. Got gas. Josh only decided he needed to be held the last three stores, so my arms only slightly ache, but at least I got some "to-dos" marked off the list. It could have been worse. Manda whined about wanting to go to the museum all the way home. Yeah right. Josh went to bed upon arriving home, all to plan, and then it happened. My five-year-old told me she hated me. WHAT? Mind you, this was AFTER I took her to lunch AND bought her a new dress today. Which NEVER NEVER happens. Sheesh. I just can't win... again, I've proven to myself that I HATE shopping. It's just a fact. Paying for shipping is WAY EASIER than the drama, tiredness, and unplanned-food expenses I incur when trying to go shopping. I'm DONE. I may never leave the house again...



SIGH. I especially like the reference to "triage and life support", rather than "repair and recovery". Read THIS.

Why is it...

That Josh canNOT leave his blankets and pillow in his bed?? It's not like he carries them around with him wherever he goes; he usually just makes me hold them, or he ditches them downstairs, then he's off playing somewhere else.


That people are obsessed with riding the light rail here, just for fun? Is it really that big of a deal? I've ridden many a subway and train, and couldn't care much less about even getting on this one, let alone making it an "event".


That I can never find the clear coat spray when I want it? Sigh. Off to the store for another one, so I can put the final touches on my latest project and get it put away.


Only the beginning of March, yet my air conditioning has been turned on several times already this week? I fear for an early, hot summer...


That I cannot seem to make any headway on the laundry lately? Or actually plan any meals ahead of time? Or be productive whatsoever? I'm sure it has nothing to do with blogging, or TV, etc...


That my girls seem to be as scatterbrained and lazy as I am lately?

Reserving judgment...

Until the game actually comes out and I get a chance to play it. Hopefully it's more like the book than the movie.

Janna, you can buyTHIS and then I'll come play with you.


Photography Tips

1. Don’t be shutter-shy. Snap a lot. There’s no such thing as too many pictures in this digital age. Take multiple shots of the same scene. Sometimes a different angle or a fresh expression will make the difference between a decent picture and an amazing one. One more reason to keep snapping: people tend to relax after the first few pictures and act more naturally.

2. Speaking of acting naturally, engage your subject in conversation. “Say cheese” usually solicits a cheesy smile (hmmm….maybe that’s where the expression comes from!) but a good story or a joke will bring out the real thing. Take fewer posed shots and more candid/action shots. Try to capture life as it happens instead of making everyone stop for a picture.

3. Take your camera with you whenever you go out. If you don’t, you will frequently regret it. And don’t forget to pack an extra fully-charged battery. How many times have you been in the middle of taking great pictures when your battery has gone dead?

4. Move in closer to your subject. Rather than standing far away and zooming in, stand closer and zoom out. Fill up your frame with what’s important.

5. Open up those curtains, move towards the window, and let the natural light flood in. If you need to use the flash, have your subject move away from the wall or the background to reduce those annoying shadows.

6. Speaking of backgrounds, keep them plain! Eliminate the distractions by moving around (either you, the photographer, or your subject) until the background is less busy.

7. Change-up the composition. Move your subject off-center. See if the shot looks better in a different orientation (landscape vs portrait).

8. Get down on your subject’s level, or try a shot from above your subject, looking down. Get down on the floor (or up on a chair if you’re the short one). Try different angles.

9. Do a little studying. Read your camera’s manual and get to know how your camera works and why common problems happen.

10. Get out and try new things. Experiment. Stretch. Sometimes it’s the unconventional shots, or the ones you are sure aren’t going to turn out at all, that end up being your favorites. Get ideas from other people. If you see something you like, try to recreate the style.