Here is what I learned today: If you pour ammonia on a live scorpion, it will NOT sting itself to death.

I learned that today because I tried it.  I tried it on a scorpion I discovered on my daughter’s apartment patio…while I was here alone…moving things around…with bare feet.

The ladies who told my daughter, Huh, that a scorpion will sting itself to death if sprayed with ammonia were WRONG!  All that the nasty little critter did was crawl to safety under the wall.  And THEN, a little later, he (she) (it) crawled UP the wall.

Perhaps the trick didn’t work because I poured ammonia on the ugly creature instead of spritzing it nicely with a spray bottle???  But, one would think that if a little spray would make it sting itself to death, having a downpour of ammonia on top of it would make it not only sting itself, but also make it do a dance, perhaps some squirming, maybe even a few flips.  Wouldn’t it?  Nada.  I think all I accomplished was to make it mad…and maybe even vengeful.  I should probably watch my step tonight.

Sooo, an update, sort of.  Mack and I used this memorial weekend to make the 12 hour drive to Huh’s apartment in Phoenix to take her bedroom furniture to her.  She decided not to come home from school for the summer, got herself an apartment, bought a couch, got a full-time job and a DOG.  She’s been sleeping on the couch, which causes her back to hurt, so being the Mommy that I am…I drove her bedroom furniture from our home down to her.  Mack came with me to switch off driving.  Since my ex lives in Phoenix, the girls went to visit their father this afternoon, which is how I came to be all alone at my daughter’s apartment with a monster scorpion.

Since the girls haven’t returned from visiting their father yet, I have decided to spend some time in Blogland.  School put me far behind on posts about our blended family, and there is so much I could have posted about, but it will be too hard to catch it all up.  I will, however, post a few pics here and there from the months I was absent from Blogland.  Here are a few from our family vacation in California in August:

Dance off in the two vehicles on the way to California!

Stuck in traffic

Still stuck in traffic

Trying to keep us as anonymous as possible creates problems when choosing pics for my blog, some of the best pics don’t get posted, but maybe the pics posted will give an idea of the “flavor” of our vacation.

Until next time…

…I’m off to peak at the patio and see if the scorpion has recruited friends in his vengeance…


Life has been too crazy lately for me to blog about our spring break trip that we took a month and a half ago.  I still don’t have time to do the trip justice.  This short post will have to do.  I polled the family members who went on the trip (Juju didn’t go because she had school and work, and Shroom didn’t go because he opted to go with a friend’s family to Las Vegas) on their top three favorites on the trip.  Here are their results (with a few pics from each top choice carefully chosen to preserve our anonymity):


1.  Scorpion hunting! (We stayed with my sister who happened to be experiencing a scorpion infestation.  We learned that scorpions glow in the dark when you shine a black light on them.  Hub loved going in the backyard after dark and hunting for the little nasties).

2.  Making Japanese food.  (Hub made some of his yummy Japanese food for all of us one night)

3.  Going to Oreganos for pizzookies.  (Oreganos is an Arizona original with the best dessert in the world–the pizzookie is a partially baked cookie topped with ice cream.  Yum!  I want one right now!)

Actual glowing scorpion

Huh (joined us on some of our activities since she just happened to be attending college in Phoenix at the time).

1.  Visiting the Phoenix Zoo.  Especially feeding the random squirrel on the trail, and going into the monkey enclosure.

2.  Taking pictures.

3.  Playing games with the family

Our squirrel friend



1.  All day Thursday.  (The day consisted of kayaking at Tempe Town Lake, a picnic, renting tandem bikes and riding trails at Tempe Town lake, and then later that evening seeing the movie “Rio.”

2.  The warm weather.

3.  Phoenix Zoo.




1.  Feeding sting rays at Phoenix Zoo.

2.  Oreganos

3.  Riding the tandem bikes.




1.  The Arizona Science Center.  (My scientific little boy loved all of the interactive exhibits here).

2.  The Tandem bikes.

3.  A tie.  Oreganos and spending time with family.


Me combined with Mack


Me combined with Hoob.


Me combined with Yawlin











1.  Seeing family.  Namely my daughter who had been living away from home at college and seeing my sister and her family.

2.  The tandem bikes.

3.  Relaxing….

My nieces' pet baby turtles


Huh showing her siblings around her campus


It was a great trip!  I wish I had time to write more about it, but life keeps getting in the way…

…at least we have the memories!



National No TV Week begins on Sunday.  There are some who call for people to “unplug” completely during that week, which means not only unplugging from the tv, but from the computer and computer games as well.  I’ve had my family participate in unplugging in years past and have posted about our results on my blog. 

This year the unplugging happens to fall during our spring break–a spring break that we have actually decided to take a trip during.  So, unplugging for us will be much easier this year. 

 We leave tomorrow.

I will post about our unplugging…

…and our trip…

…when we get back.

Gotta love spring break!

For a Christmas/birthday present this year Hub gave me tickets to see Wicked in New York City!  We went last month, had a total blast, and I am just now getting around to posting about it.  Sorry, but when you have a blended family with seven very busy kids, blogging often times gets put on the back burner.

Here, in a totally random order, are some ways we’ve found over the years to enjoy a trip together without the kids (and not feel guilty about it!):

*Be flexible! In order to save money (and SkyMiles) Hub booked us on a red-eye flight to NYC.  A representative at the hotel had told him that if the hotel wasn’t completely booked we would be able to get into a room as soon as we arrived in the early morning hours, even thought check-in wasn’t until noon.  We hoped it would work out for us so that we could sleep for a few hours in a bed after arriving, but as luck would have it, the hotel was booked and we had six hours to kill before we could check-in.  We didn’t have a rental car, we were pretty tired after the over-night flight, and we had luggage, but no room.  So what did we do?

The hotel staff, being used to such situations, let us leave our luggage in a secure room near the lobby.  We relaxed in the hotel dining area and watched the morning news programs while eating the free breakfast provided by the hotel.  Once we were full, we decided to kill some time by visiting the Empire State Building.  Apparently the morning hours in February are a good time to do so because we didn’t wait in line at all to go to the top.

And the view?


*Pictures! Take pictures for memories.  Send pictures to your kids.  Camera phones are perfect for this!  We sent a couple of the pictures from the Empire State Building to our kids with the message, “Good-morning from the Empire State Building!”  It was the first text message of the day for all of them.  And yes, they responded enthusiastically once they woke up for the day and saw the picture texts.

All during our trip we sent occasional pictures to let the kids know what we were doing in real time.  Some of the photos that got the most response:

And after returning home and posting the pictures on our family website and on Facebook the kids had even more comments.  Our kids seem to get a kick out of odd-ball photo ops such as the signs in this previous post and these pictures:

King Kong cookie sold in the gift shop at the top of the Empire State Building

Street scene--count the taxis!

Window display with balloons

McDonald's in China Town

New York City cops standing on the corner

And there was the artwork:

*Be a tourist! Since neither of us had ever been to New York City before, and since we have no idea when, or if, we will ever return, we made sure to see the common tourist sites:

The museum of Natural History

Times Square

A broadway Musical--the reason we were there!

Memorial in Central Park for John Lennon

New Tower being built at Ground Zero

*Get off the beaten path! Although we made sure to hit all the tourist spots–and they were exciting–we also enjoyed looking for experiences that had personal meaning to us.  For instance, the fire station that has a tribute painted on its door to the firefighters from that location that lost their lives on 9/11 has meaning to me as the daughter of a retired fire chief.

Finding the Manhattan Temple of our church had special meaning to us.

I loved taking pictures of street scenes.

And one of my favorite “off the beaten path” moments was when Hub and I found a lower level Italian restaurant on a side street that had food to die for at a great price (a much better price than the Brazilian Barbecue that we went to the next evening).  I wish I had thought to take a picture of the quaint entrance and the decor inside.  We enjoyed that meal and the walk back to our hotel afterward.

*Be a couple! Hold hands.  Have others take your pictures together in front of favorite sites.  Shop together for souvenirs.  Celebrate your relationship.  One of my favorite memories from our trip is the night we returned to our hotel after exploring the main streets of Manhattan.  We were chilly and ready to relax in our room.  Before getting on the elevator we each grabbed a cup of free cocoa offered in our hotel lobby.  We sipped the cocoa while cuddling and watching a movie in our room.  It was simple, yet nice to just be us.

Our last evening there we took a walk to Rockefeller Center and went to the ” Top of the Rock” for some final pictures.  Some nice couple time!

The trip was fantastic!  We talk of taking our kids to New York some day.  We know they would enjoy it.  But, we also talk of our next trip together…just the two of us.

While on our recent extended family trip to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho I took the opportunity to wander outside our inn and poll various family members as I encountered them.  There were 44 of us in all.  I only polled those I happened to run into on that particular night so, no, this poll will not have 44 entries.  I give you their answers in the order that I encountered them.

The question?

What has been the weirdest, quirkiest, oddest thing you have seen on this trip:

*Hoob – “Guymon’s” face.  “Guymon” is my sister’s (sis #3) husband.  He and Hoob teased each other the entire trip.  And the lady with the purple hair and the manly armpits.  Yes, that lady was something to behold.

*Juju – That offspring of the bug that mated with a zebra!  Juju apparently saw a black and white striped bug that freaked her out.

*Hub – Sis #3’s ex-husband saying hi to me.  Yes, sis #3’s ex-husband was in Lava Hot Springs for a family reunion the same time we were!

*Shroom – Hoob swimming.  He claims this is an inside joke between Hoob and himself.  And I’m sure everyone can say that the best thing they saw was my backflip!  Shroom attempted a double back flip off of the highest tower at the swimming pool.  He only made it around 1 1/2 times and landed on his back in the water.  Most people who witnessed it groaned.  And, yes, Shroom says that it hurt when he hit the water.  Teenagers!  Sometimes you wonder if there is a brain in their head!

*Bro #1 – That boxer going down the river!  There was a boy tubing the river who had his dog on the tube with him.  The dog did NOT look happy to be having the experience!

*Plumber (Huh’s boyfriend) – I saw a dog riding on the back of a motorcycle.  He was loving it!

*Huh – A group of four people floating down the river on an air mattress!

*Yawlin – The stores.  Yawlin thought that some of the items in the gift shops were a little strange.  Afterall, who WOULD come all the way to Idaho to purchase Chinese Stars and other Asian weaponry?

*Mack – The drunk man on the horse.  Our second night there the entire family had gathered in  front of the inn to visit and adorn ourselves with glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets (the plan was to play glow-in-the-dark tag, which never happened).  Some guy who had obviously had too much too drink came riding his horse down the street singing at the top of his lungs.  He had another horse in tow.  When he saw our glowing group he stopped and asked if he could have some “glow sticks” for his horses.  Some family members gave him some necklaces which he promptly draped over his horses ears.  The horse he was riding didn’t mind the necklaces, but the horse in tow didn’t like them too much.  She kept trying to flick them off.

*“Marty” (Bro # 1 fiancée) – The not-so-skinny woman at the pool who purposely bent down in front of me so that I had a full view of her behind.  Ick!

*”NA” (Bro #4 girlfriend) – Some guy that offered to buy my kids.  Apparently he offered her $12,000 for her three girls.  What a creeper!

*”Guymon” (Sis #3 husband) – Hoob violently pulling up her pants.  A long inside joke story that would take too long to type up.  It is not as perverted as it sounds.

*Sis #3 – Seeing “Collector” (Sis #2 husband) kiss Guymon at the pool.  It was done in the spirit of goofing off.  Um.  Ya.  Let’s move on to the next answer…

*”JJ” (a nephew–son of sis #1) – The cat that fell out of the tree and landed on Barbara’s (the aunt who owns the inn) car.  The cat clearly had not meant to do it.

*Bro #4 – The people who live here.

*My parents – The chickie poo at the pool who had obviously had breast enhancement surgery and was quite proud of her new look.  She kept swinging them from side-to-side and looking at them. 

*Kweenmama – The lady running down the street wearing a cow apron.

So, there is the Weird, quirky, and odd from our trip.  The next time you travel look for the oddities, it can make the trip that much more interesting!

I must admit, I had concerns.  Not just concerns…full-blown worries.  It’s that “mom” part of me.   But, I am happy to report that the kids all did fine while Hub and I went to St. Maarten for our 5th wedding anniversary.

*The house was still standing.  Nothing had been burned.  Nothing was broken.  I DID learn that Huh decided to take care of an ant problem on the patio by pouring gasoline on them and lighting them on fire.  WHAT THE ???!?!  She has resigned herself to the fact that I am tattling on her to her retired fire chief grandfather this weekend and she will get to hear his lecture about fire safety and NOT using gasoline to burn ANYTHING…EVER!  And Huh has learned that younger siblings will tattle. 

*The kids all did their chores–with the exception of Juju who chose to stay at her mother’s house so she wouldn’t have to do chores.  Such a teenage thing to do!

*Everybody got to where they needed to be (Webelos camps, work, birthday party, church).

*The kids didn’t starve, like they were sure they were going to do.  In fact, some of the food I got for them hadn’t even been touched when we got home:

“Hey, why didn’t you guys eat any of the bananas?”

“Oh sorry mom, we forgot they were here.”

“How can you forget they are here when they are sitting right there on the table?”

Silence.  And a sigh from me.

“We forgot about the limes for Brazilian Limeade too.  Oh, and the Cups O’ Noodles.”

Double sigh.

*My ex was in town for the weekend and took three of the kids swimming one afternoon.  Yawlin ended up getting sunburned and was quite miserable by the evening.  When I called home to check on the kids Mack was applying cold wash cloths to the burn while she waited for Huh to get back from the store with Aloe to put on the burn.  I was proud of my girls for taking care of their little brother.

*We had put the word out to neighbors that we were leaving the kids home under Huh’s care and boy did our neighbors step up and “keep watch.”  Some checked on the kids and made sure things were okay.  One even used Facebook to ask how things were going.  One couple brought the kids cookie dough to bake up and some other neighbors invited the kids to Sunday dinner.  And one “cool” neighbor took Hoob driving since she has recently received her Learner’s Permit.

*The dog got fed.  The garden got watered.  The laundry got done.

*No one died!

Yup, I guess our kids have shown us that they can survive while we are gone.  They appreciated the souvenirs we brought back for them.  And then this is what we heard:

“We missed you, but…we want you to go on another trip.  We had so much fun while you were gone!”

So there you have it folks, we have permission from our kids to take another trip! 

Here are a few lingering images from St. Maarten:

A mini story from St. Maarten:

On my first morning in St. Maarten I enjoyed the view from my window…

View from our bedroom

It was a lazy morning of breakfast on the deck and lounging on the deck…

Looking out at the deck

One view from the deck

Another view from the deck

Lounging on the deck

It was wonderful to be lazy and not worry about grocery shopping, leaking appliances (we have three appliances back home that decided to start leaking all at the same time just days before we left), phone calls about shirt orders with melted zippers and holes in hoodies, and the dog barking at all the wrong times.

I read on the deck.  I snoozed on the deck.  I took pictures from the deck (all the while hoping the sun will come out at least one of the days we are here so that I can get pictures of how blue the water looks when the sun is out). 

After awhile, though, I got a little restless on the deck.  I wandered inside and saw that Hub and his parents were still trying to fix something on one of the computers. 

See…we are staying in St. Maarten with Hub’s parents who are serving a mission for our church here.  Hey, the lodging is FREE.  Who wouldn’t take advantage of such a situation??!?

Since the computer was still the main focus of attention of the other three occupants of the house I decided to explore the yard.

I took a picture of the street…

…and some pictures of the house…

The view behind the house

Coconut tree in the yard

Since lounging seemed to be my lot for the day I decided to do some lounging in the chair I found in the yard…

Chair in the yard (redundant, yes?)

I took a couple of pics of the view from the chair…

As I lounged in the chair down below in the yard and took pictures I saw a coconut on the ground.  Now, finding a coconut on the ground is not something one can do in Utah so, naturally, I thought it was pretty cool.  In fact, I said out loud, “Cool!”

I scooped up the coconut and carried it into the house where I found Hub and his parents still staring at the computer in rapt attention.  I plopped my finding in Hub’s lap.  Hub made a sound that sounded like, “huhooomph!”  And then he laughed when he saw what I had plopped in his lap.

That caught the attention of the others and my father-in-law jumped up and said, “Come with me.  I’ll show you where you can find more of those.”  He took me back out to the yard and proceeded to show me how to get coconuts from the tree in the yard.

A few minutes later Hub came out and decided to give it a try.

I took cover because I needed to! 

We went from this…

To this…

Hub and Father-in-law broke a couple of them open and poured for a drink!

We poured it over ice and added sugar and banana flavoring for a yummy drink we sipped on…the deck. 

I had come full circle! 

But, the coconut adventure seemed to break the spell of the computer and after enjoying our refreshing coconut-banana drinks on the deck we all decided to take a walk.

We got barked at by two dogs who could have jumped the stone wall and chased after us, but thankfully, they didn’t.

We ended up walking along the beach, which was now too dark to take pictures.  We wandered past diners at seaside restaurants, and couples in lounge chairs, we cut through a hotel area and ended up at a French restaurant (on the Dutch side of the island)  where I got to try a three-cheese quiche and some ratatouille.  It was delicious and our server, Patrick, got the best tip from Hub that he has ever given, because he felt he was that good!

The breeze was pleasant as we walked back “home” and we settled in for the night.

And so, my dear friends, here is the moral of the story…

If you are ever on vacation with your husband for your 5th wedding anniversary and he gets stuck doing what he does every normal day of his life (i.e. computer stuff), then go on the hunt for a coconut and drop it on his…coconuts…and see if you can scare up an adventure!