I went on vacation and took 3 pictures. That means I was having a great vacation!

I went on vacation and haven't updated my blog properly in a week. That means I'm having a hard time recovering from said vacation.

I went on vacation and realized I love cruising. I already knew that before this cruise vacation but it just totally reiterated the fact.

I went on vacation and now I find myself trying to plan cruise vacations for this fall.. even though I know we can't afford it. But I'm totally looking ahead for the next one just to make sure we don't miss a great deal.

I went on vacation and now I want to go on a cruise with so many people for so many different reasons. I have friends that I know would be SO much fun to cruise with. Mainly because they are super cool and have children too and Nikkos wouldn't be the littlest dude on board with no one to play with. But seriously, I think there are some folks that going on a cruise with would just make the cruise that much more fun - I have one friend in mind who would probably walk away from a cruise with people knowing his name, he's just memorable like that.. I have another family of friends who I would love to cruise with  because (they are awesome of course) but then I wouldn't be the only one ordering non-alcoholic drinks by myself all the time!  I have another family of friends I want to cruise with because we are all so much a like, it would be like cruising with our clones, which would make it double awesome squared! Ok.. enough of this I have so many friends I want to go cruising with I could dedicate an entire post to it (and I almost have...)

I went on vacation over a week ago and still can't get used to my 5:45 am alarm.

I went on vacation and now I just can't get out of vacation mode... the fact that I still have passports laying in the same spot I put them the night we got home and that I haven't cleaned the shower yet may or may not be proof of that (it could just prove I'm always lazy, I just have vacation to blame it on now)

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Driven To Kill
Driven To Kill by Gary C. King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a quick, page turning read that graphically told the tale of Wesley Allen Dodd's life of molestation and eventual murders of young boys. I enjoy reading True Crime and this was one of those stories that suck you in because it's hard to believe that people like this exist and it makes you want to understand what makes a person this way.
I think the author did a great job of telling this story and giving you a true feeling of who Wes Dodd was and unfortunately, his disgusting conquests.

View all my reviews

I've had this LDS Living article bookmarked for a while in my RSS reader and I finally got around to reading it at lunch today.

10 Ways to Support Your Bishop

I look at how much I've been supported by my Bishop (and his family) and to know if I could just do these 10 simple things, that it could possibly relieve him just a little, is that really too much to ask?

Let's take a looksie...

1. Pray for him specifically, just as you would the prophet. A prayer uttered on behalf of someone, by name, can yield great results.
How often do we pray? How hard would it be to just remember to pray for our/your Bishop? This  is something I'll be making sure to incorporate into mine and my family's daily prayers. It's the littlest effort but one I'm sure gives the biggest results.

2. Magnify your calling. When members anxiously go about serving as they are assigned, the Lord blesses not only them but the entire ward with an outpouring of inspiration and unity.
Okay I'm not going to lie, I've had a problem with this. I have two callings, as Relief Society Meeting Committee Member and Assistant Music Director in Primary (really the Nursery) - and is it sad that I had to go look on my LDS.org directory to get the "real" name of my Primary calling? Yes, it is. The Relief Society calling I feel great about. I have no problem making meetings and participating. The Primary/Nursery one - not so much.
But, as I type this I am making a commitment to magnify my calling. Both of them. I will make the effort as best I can. Not only for my Bishop but for myself.

3. The most difficult calling in the ward belongs to the bishop’s wife. Often times, my wife feels like the loneliest person in my ward. I am happy when my ward recognizes my wife’s (and my children’s) sacrifices.
I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a Bishop's wife. I need to remember her in my prayers not only because I consider her a great friend (no, not because she's the Bishop's wife, she's awesome!) but also because she's got a big load to haul as well and sometimes it's easy to forget that she's doing it while a lot of the time her husband is busy bearing the burden of others.

4. Earnestly prepare when asked to speak in Sacrament meeting. Teach with the Spirit.
I've only been asked to speak once in Sacrament and I prepared more for that than I did for my college entrance exam. I'm good here!

5. Never ask to be released. If circumstances change that are making it difficult for you to serve, inform your bishop and then allow him to seek inspiration. Don’t short-change yourself of heaven’s blessings because life gets a little hectic.
Oops. I admit. A while ago I did just this. I was counseled by my Bishop to give it a little while longer - and while it's been a lot longer than a little while and I haven't really done much better - I'm thinking that this council was for my own good, not for that of the calling. Because had I been released then I probably wouldn't be thinking this out right now.

6. Make temple attendance a priority. When you go to the temple often, you are able to be a more effective instrument in the Lord’s hands, and you have a greater resistance to temptation and sin. Every bishop wants his ward to be unified, charitable, obedient, and willing to sacrifice. The temple helps in all those areas.
I'm trying. This is a goal that I'm setting for myself but knowing that it helps to support my Bishop I'll make sure of it.

7. Don’t murmur or be contentious.

8. Be reverent, especially during the Sacrament.

9. Don’t just do your duty as a home or visiting teacher. Rather, truly minister to those you are called to serve. This is the first line of defense for a family, and an engaged home and visiting teacher can literally change a family’s life.
This is something I'm working on. I'm lacking in this area. Again, I need to make this a priority. I love the women that I Visiting Teach to and with.

10. Follow his counsel—even when you see things a little differently. There is power and protection in following your leaders. This isn't blind obedience, it is obedience founded on faith and trust. Those two things are very different.
This I can truly testify is true. I don't ignore my car mechanic when he advises me on my car why would I ignore my Bishop or other church leaders when they counsel on spiritual matters.

Ok people. We've got the pointers, they aren't that difficult. Let's get out there and support those that have been supporting us (because there are 100's of US and only a few of THEM!)

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I've spent the last week either getting to, getting on or getting off a cruise ship.
I'm still trying to get my land legs about me and get my head back into reality.

Highlights of the trip that I'll get more into later were:
My son being a contestant on the Carnival's Hasbro Family Game Night show
A day on a private island with beautiful clear water and white beaches
Getting to sleep past 7am most mornings
Finally getting a great picture of me and my husband!

But for now, I'm swamped trying to catch up at work so the details will have to wait.

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Not really an emergency message... but I had that whole annoying weather announcement hit my TV (of course right at a crucial point in a show that I love...)

I'm not sure what went toes up for my blog in Feedburner but something did. So this is just an FYI post to let everyone know that I'm not burning to Feedburner anymore.

If you want to follow me via RSS, you can just subscribe by putting my homepage URL in your reader and it should work!

Thank you and now please continue on with your weekend fun....

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I got invited to the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System BzzCampain through BzzAgent and was super excited because it's growing time!

The one thing this system has going for it is ease of use. I mean what could be easier than literally putting in the tablet, screwing it on to your hose and spraying?

The results are nice, however I think I was expecting more. I haven't seen any spectacular growth or more blooms compared to my normal "feeding routine" so in my experience I can say it works at least as good as some of the other feeders out there - just a heck of a lot easier to apply.

Now, the real plus side to all of this is that I received my Pennington Smart Feed System FREE from BzzAgent. In my BzzKit I got:

  • A FREE Pennington® Smart Feed Sprayer hose attachment that includes two Smart Feed All Purpose Fertilizer Tablets
  • A FREE tube of four Smart Feed Flowers & Blooms Fertilizer Tablets
  • Coupons to share with family and friends who spend a lot of time maintaining their yards
Yeah, it was super cool to get free garden swag and get to try it out and frankly, I probably will switch because it's just so much easier to apply! So if you're into gardening and such and want to try out a new product, I'd put this in my "Go get it!" category.

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I love reading and I love my Nook.

I had did my research and was an early adopter and had my Nook (1st gen) pre-ordered months before they were released. I went through the whole debacle of my case cracking and although I totally forgot to post about it, Barnes & Noble sent me a new one - badda bing badda boom. When the Nook Simple Touch came out, I was on it. I handed down my 1st gen Nook to my younger cousin and grabbed the first Simple Touch. Then they released the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. Boom! Sold my Simple Touch on CraigsList and grabbed my Simple Touch with GlowLight.

Yes. I've avoided the Nook Color and Nook Tablets because I have a full Android tablet. I don't need one. Plus, I love me some eInk!!

But all of that was really just background. The whole reason I wanted to share this post is because I've had my Nook Simple Touch GlowLight forever now and of course when I first got it, the first thing I wanted to do was change my screensaver from the weird looking authors pictures. My only other option was "nature" which was fine but seriously.. BORING.

So me being the savvy Nook user I plugged my Nook into my PC, hopped into the screensaver folder and... nothing. Um. Hello? How do I change it? I copied pictures into the screensaver folder and... nadda. Zip. Zilch. Still nature.

Finally, I was reading on the B&N Book club forums and someone mentioned that you had to create a folder for new screen savers, they couldn't be in the root of the screensaver's folder. So I created my new folder, copied a picture into it and when I went back to my "Screens" menu, BOOM.. there was my folder name!

Why this took me so long to figure out I have no idea.

So here's the run through for ya..

Plug your Nook into your computer and go to the screensavers folder
Inside the screensavers folder create a descriptive folder for your new screensaver

Inside of your new folder, copy a picture that you want to use for a screensaver (really any will do!)

Now, eject your Nook from the computer so you can access your Nook menus.

Go to your Nook's settings menu and select Screen (oops don't mind the flash!)

See that Settings down there... yeah touch that one.

Select Screen from the list

Touch the dropdown arrow next to Screensaver

See your new folder in there you created?
Yeah! Touch the radio button for your folder.

Now here's the fun part! Press the "N" button on your Nook to put it to sleep and...
VIOLA... your new screen saver!

There ya have it. If you can't follow those instructions then I don't know what to tell ya!

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So a few years back (you know, before a kid, school, little league, gym time, etc) my husband and I used to geocache.

What's geocaching?
It's basically a treasure hunt with a GPS. You find the treasure, you log that you found it and sometimes there are things inside of it that you can swap out for things that you bring with you. There are also sometimes traceable items like bugs or coins that you can grab and drop in another cache that you find. Most people use geocaching.com to play.

I used to have an active blog called Kiss My Cache. I haven't updated it in forever. I love the name of the blog so much that when I deleted all my other blogs I couldn't bare to press the delete button on that one. It's also my name (now, I've changed it a few times) on geocaching.com

android app screen cap
Ok. So we kind of stopped geocaching because life got busy and I never had enough forethought to bring our GPS with us and to print out cache information to do the hunt. Well, then a couple weekends ago while I was visiting my parents I happened to notice that geocaching.com has an Android app (and an Apple one too but I don't give too hoots about that lol).

The cool thing about the app is that I no longer needed my GPS - duh, my phone has one in it. But I also didn't need to print out cache information because I could look up the description, hints, maps, etc all from the app. HELLO.. genius! Why did it take me so long to find this!

So while I was down at my parents, me and the kiddo, my dad and my cousin all hopped into the swagger wagon and headed for a cache near their neighborhood. I'm just going to say, this was my first DNF (Did Not Find) in a long time. Frankly, I think that the cache was missing. Also, it was in a weird neighborhood. The area that the cache was in had signs saying "no public parking", so where the heck was I supposed to park? Well, I parked in front of a house of course. But apparently that backfired because I think the house that I parked in front of (which was directly next to the lake and where the cache was supposed to be) was occupied by probably the nosiest lady ever. She came out and stared at us... evil like.. until we finally
gave up and left. I'm pretty sure she was taking down my license plate as I drove away.

So.. we headed to another one, not on private property, and quickly found it. Nothing like logging a smiley face (the icon on the map of caches you find) so quickly!

Also, my son has been caching with us since he was young so I finally broke down and created his geocaching.com account. I can't believe he's old enough to log his own!

Anyhow.. this isn't a sponsored post (although it should be!) it's just a heads up for a great family-friendly, super fun activity that I've recently re-found. If you hop on geocaching.com add me as a friend!

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There is a girl that I absolutely love and adore. No, not like that ya'll. But if I were like that, she' probably be my crush. Her name is Bon and she has a fun blog called... Life of Bon. Really her name is Bonnie, but I like to call her Bon like I know her in real life or something.

She recently posted about her summer goals and because I want to wear her skin as a coat I thought that was such a good idea, I'm borrowing that idea from her! Thanks Bon.

So it's June 3rd, my son is at his first day of Summer Camp and I... I am at work. Nothing has changed for me other than wearing sandals every day in an attempt to skirt the "no flip flops" rule. And because I work, my summer goals aren't quite as foot-loose-and-fancy-free as some but hey, I'll take what I can get.

1. Vacation

mythical beach with no crowd
No problem! I'll be on a boat in a couple of weeks. A big one. In the ocean. Headed for a tropical destination. I plan on drinking drinks with little umbrellas and applying lots of sunscreen.

By the way, why don't the beaches I go to ever look like that? No, no why is the sand white and the ocean blue. But why is there NO ONE there! Do these beaches even exist?

2. Read
my nook.. and dog.
This is a 2-part goal. I really do plan on reading a lot more books in general but I want to get back to my "chapter-a-day" of scripture reading. That is a serious testimony builder right there. I really enjoyed the last time I did it and I just like having the scriptures as a daily part of my life.

But on the other books note, Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz was just released today!! SQUEEE! Downloading now! And seriously I can't wait for June 24th for the release of James Rollins The Eye of God, then later this summer the 3rd book of the Divergent series (Allegiant), Stephen King's Sleep Doctor (the sequeal to The Shining). Holy cow talk about summer reading!!

3. Go to the Temple, lots.
So this may not be so easy but I'm going to try. I'd really like to go at least once every 2 months if not once every month.

I can't explain the peace and beauty of the Temple. I want to go as much as I can while I can. I want to go to LOTS of Temples. I want to be the Temple-Runner (oh that's cheesy...) but I think it would be so fun to go visit as many Temples as I can.

4. Camp
Huntington Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach SC
I want to smell campfire! When it's burning, not when it's been put out and smells like stinky ash.

One place I really want to camp is at Huntington Beach State Park in Myrtle Beach. I'm thinking because we haven't made reservations and summer is almost on top of us - I may be out of luck. But I'm still going to try!!

But if I can't make it there, I just really want to get camping somewhere.

5. Blog
This is really harder than it sounds because when I get busy the ole' blog always seems to be the thing that takes the backseat.
Although I'm hoping I'll  have tons of fun adventures to blog about - I like to talk about real things too. Life. Not just the travels. I'm not fashion blogger (thank goodness, I spend enough money on clothes as it is) and plus, I've never bought (nor plan to) anything from J. Crew - so I'm automatically disqualified.

6. Take a photography class
There's a place here locally that offers some pretty cool photography classes. I know because a friend went to one and said... and I quote... it was pretty cool... so it must be. Plus, I have this awesome Nikon 5100 and I think I should know how to use all that awesomeness.

And I guess I should add to this that I'd like to take more pictures. Not just pictures of my son's baseball games, either. Not that I don't enjoy snapping off 200 or so cute little shots of them missing hitting the ball and all, but I want to get into a little more creative shots - that's why I bought it after all. That and because I used to love my photography class in high school, even if I did use it as a free period to go cruise the base.

7. Play golf
I had golf lessons given to me as a gift a couple years ago (maybe like 5 now?) and it was fantastic! I love going to the range (because I'm too chicken to go to a course, plus you have to play with friends and I don't really know anyone else that plays). So, I'm thinking I need to hit the range this summer and at least go hit a 3-par golf course in the fall.

Or at least lob some balls at the house. I mean jeez.

8. Keep the Work Out Thing Going
You know, there's no reason to slack in the summer.. in fact, I should be pushing during the summer so I don't fall into that same rut of gaining weight during the holidays.

Plus, I'm digging it. I like the way I feel - even if I'm not dropping back down to my 22-year old weight. HAH!

Oh and I love getting new workout clothes, so I might as well put the work in for them, right?

9. Relax
(No picture necessary) I really do need to take more "me time" to just chill. I find myself filling my calendar with anything and everything and then I wonder why I'm always a frantic mess.

So here's my goals. Any exciting goals for you this summer?

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Ever have a 5 minute moment in time that starts off feeling pretty normal but turns into something awesome?
This is one of those moments.

Today my son and I were riding home from church. Our typical riding-home-from-church-conversation is I ask him what he learned in Primary (the kids Sunday School like class) and he usually gives me a one sentence synopsis and then spends the next 5 minutes trying to avoid talking to me about it.

Today was a little different. Actually it was a lot different.

I asked the kiddo what he did in Primary and his reply was, "we talked about baptism and some other stuff" and then he went quiet. I figured this would be his normal moment of silence until I asked him something else and then he'd go about his avoidance by trying to change the subject.
But just as I was going to ask him what he learned about baptism he cut me off. He said he was lucky to have a great family, that he was happy to have his Papou (his Greek grandfather) live with us and that most kids don't have their grandparents live with them so that it was pretty neat. He talked about how cool it was that his Grammie & Grampie (my parents) were going to be living right across the street. Then he started talking all about how much he loved his family and that he wants to be a forever family. Us LDS folks call forever families, those families that have been sealed for all time an eternity in the Temple.

Then the conversation went from normal to awesome.

He said that as he was talking about this his heart felt really happy, that it was a great feeling but he couldn't really explain it. That when he talks about things like his family he gets a great feeling in his heart.

I explained to him that what he was feeling was Holy Ghost. I explained to him that the Holy Ghost will be with him and can give him messages to help him to understand things and even to give him warnings but that is how God can speak to our spirit to help us know things are true.

He was so happy to finally understand what the Holy Ghost feels like and why he feels that way.  And I was so happy to be able to not miss this moment to help him grow spiritually and share this testimony building experience with him. His joy and happiness was just amazing during this 20 minute ride home.

It's these moments.. these small moments that I hope will make eternal marks in his life.

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Yesterday we wrapped up 1st grade like last year's Christmas presents. Not only that but Nikkos brought home his report card with all fours. Which in this new-fangled way of grading is what I consider to be straight A's. Even though they said when they changed the grading from letters to numbers that 4's aren't equivalent to A's. But I digress because that's a whole different post.

Gosh. Between his grades and his awards this year. So proud.

I'm still a little shocked at how fast this year has flown by. I can't even communicate how fast it seems to have just whizzed by. Looking at the picture I took of him on the first day of 1st grade it brings back a flood of memories but it also has made me realize how much that little guy of mine can change within just 9 months.

So now all I can do is look forward. At my rising 2nd grader.


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