How I was swindled out of 50 dollah in two hours ...

An adorable little blond girl showed up at my front porch yesterday afternoon {as I was frantically trying to put the final touches on a Relief Society training I was in charge of later that night}.

As soon as I saw her, I knew she wanted money from me {1. Why else would a kid show up at my door? And 2. I'd recognize those large white envelopes a mile away!}. For a split moment I thought, "I don't want to buy anything." But quickly realizing I really, really don't know how to say no to adorable little children. I figured, "What the heck?" 15 dollah is 15 dollah and it wouldn't break the bank to help make this girl's day.

I bought what is called a Liberty card, kinda popular in these parts. The middle school and high school kiddies sell the babies to community members, the money the raised goes to the school, the kiddies get prizes based on how much they raise and as a community member - I get silly little discounts at participating stores. Liiiike, a free drink at Taco Time when I purchase two tacos or something like that.

I watched her skip off {literally} and continued about my frantic preparation.

 Enter phone call. From Nephew 2 {who is nine-years of perfect kissable goodness and the most amazing fuzzy hair in the world}. "Hi, Min. We are doing a walkathon at my school. Have you ever heard of a walkathon?"

I informed him I did.

He asked me if I wanted to pledge monies for each lap he did.


I had immediate flashbacks of Michael G. Scott from The Office donating $25 dollars to a charity for Oscar's nephew. Little did Michael Scott know he was donating 25 dollah per mile that the little tike walked. And the previous year, the kid walked 14!!

I began asking questions like, "How many laps do you think you will do?" "How far is a lap?" "Are you sure it's that far?"

And not feeling too confident in the responses I was getting, I said I would just give 20 dollah regardless of how many laps he did.

He thanked me for being the best aunt in the world {I may or may not have just added in the "best aunt in the world" part}.

And I continued on my frantic preparation.

About two hours later I see an incoming phone call from Nephew 1.

"Uhm, Min ... we are selling these things at my school called Liberty cards. I was wondering if you wanted to buy one."


I doubted the use I'd get out of the first Liberty card I had purchased just hours before. There would clearly be no use of a second. But how on this green earth can I say yes to a complete stranger {even if she was adorable and skipping} and say no to my absolute, most favorite 11-year-old on the planet??

I could not.

So, as of today, I am going to the proud owner of two Liberty cards and have pledged 20 dollah for a fourth-grader to walk some laps at his school.


Fastest way, when not at H&M or shopping online at Forever21 that I have lost 50 dollah.

Anyone need a free drink at Taco Time ???


Water World

Jump into Summer Challenge # 15 - Rent a watercraft at the USU ORP


For my church calling I have get to plan monthly {ish} activities for my Relief Society girlies. As previously mentioned, these activities stress.me.out!

All I knew with this activity was that with 120 new girls in the ward, I wanted our first activity to be stellar. I wanted them to think, "Wow, this ward does fun things!" Which eliminates any activity with casseroles, quilting, recipes, getting to know you games or anything syruplishly sweet.

And I don't know if it was because of this looming challenge or not, but canoeing eventually came to mind. Canoeing and a bonfire.

I envisioned myself attending a church for the first time ever and having them announce, "We are going to canoeing and going to start things on fire! You should come!" and responding with a resounding, "YES! I will come!"

And then it was settled.

Killing two birds with one stone.

Relief Society activity. Final summer challenge.

Done. And done.

My biggest concern was getting the canoes on the cars and actually getting them to stay on.

The ORP people cannot assist you due to liability issues.

But I think they had pity on us.

The ORP workers asked us where we were going. I told them Second Dam. He asked, "What are you going to do there?"

"Uh ... canoe?"

I didn't think he understood that I had some girls who were actually afraid to get into the canoes, so if paddling around in a pond is what it takes, I am fine with that.

Three canoes loaded up {we actually had four though, God bless JaredHonda}.

Wilson has never been more proud to be a SUV. It is the most SUVish thing he has ever done.

It was a slow and cautious drive up the canyon. :)

But we got there.

I even started the bonfire.

Pyro much?

And we cooked things like s'mores and hot dogos*.

This was our view.

And here are the canoes out and about!

We focused a lot on safety. Stay away from the dam. Don't get beached. Only three people per canoe. Life jackets a must. Plus, they make for cute canoeing photos.

This is Summer. How fitting for her to be in one of my Summer Challenge posts. :) She is one of my counselors. I adore her. 

AND! Here I am actually accomplishing the last task on my challenge!

We tried to get a photo of all the girls.


The girls who really put it all together.

Sarah, Summer and Emilee. Love.them. Love them somethin' fierce.

And I would totally be amiss if I didn't give a shout-out to JaredHonda {I say his name like it is one word}.

He helped us load the canoes, unload, kept the fire going, helped the gals get in and out of the canoes - everything! He was with us from 4:30pm to 9:00pm. He even came back the following day to help us return the canoes to the ORP!!


Literally though. He was the only one tall enough to help me put a canoe on Wilson. :)

And with that, folks - I am done!

And what a wonderful summer it was!

Now what? OH! I will post about skydiving - soon!
The Breakdown
Canoe Rental: $15 for a full day/24 hours {if you are a USU student you get $20 free from your student ID card}

 *Name that movie!


White trash at it's finest ...

Jump into Summer Challenge # 23 - Attend the County Fair

Can you believe this event did not actually make the list of the top 20 things to do in a Cache Valley summer? Naturally, I had to add it in as one of my additional events {I will be honest, I thought I would have more than three additional events. However, the list of 20 kept me busy enough!}.

I actually attended the fair four times this summer. And let me clarify, I attended just the Cache County Fair four times. I attended twice for work {with separate groups} and then once with my roommate and then again with my nephews.

The first and second times with work was so tough that I am surprised I made it a third and fourth time. Some clients were NOT happy campers. But don't worry, while you are carrying a person out of the fair {because they are refusing to walk}, who is the same size as you are, some vendors will still shove advertisements/fliers at you {and somehow be successful at giving them to you even though you had no hands available to hold them}.

Style and I have a tradition to take Nephew 1 and Nephew 2 to the fair every year. They willingly look at all the farm animals and other booths that Style so-much enjoys doing {he was a dairy farmer for the first 40 years of his life} so that afterwards they can get an unlimited pass on the rides.

My main job is to ride with them.


Here we are on the Tilt-A-Whirl

We also went on the Pharaoh's Fury.


And it must be said that I did make Style take these photos.

As well as hold my BWSA {bag with a string attached - I am too young and have no children, so I cannot own a "purse" yet} as well as keep track of my flower necklace. What a good style!

Did I mention it was over 100 blimey degrees? This is Mindy as a hot.mess.

P.s. Not too long ago at work I had to explain to several men what the term "hot mess" actually means. They described as, "Well, when our wives wake up with messy hair but still look attractive." I had to inform them that it just means the mess is hot as in extremely disastrous. Think ... Britney Spears.

But I digress.

We also rode on the Ferris Wheel.

This is me on the Ferris Wheel.

Nephew 1 took the photo. I include it because I would rather be a blurry mess than a hot mess. :) I still cannot figure out why the photograph turned out that way.

But back to being a hot mess ...

While at the fair the nephews ran into some friends. We then somehow were kinda left in charge of four children instead of two.

But they were all so adorable together that it didn't matter so much.

We also went on this baby ...

I about lost my dinner {which was a Navajo taco from the fair - yum! And also something I definitely wanted to keep in me!}.

We also had to do the Yo Yo, of course.

Unfortunately, we did not ride the Merry-Go-Round.

Seriously? I could have rode that ostrich? Dirty darn

The fair was fantastic, even if it was entirely too hot.

We ate good grub.

Rode fun rides.

And Style and I returned both children to their parents safe and sound, which sometimes can be a bigger feat than you would ever comprehend. :)

Word to the Cache County Fair!

One more Jump into Summer Challenge to post about!!! TOMORROW! And then I am free! I am free!

The Breakdown
Entrance Fee: FREE
Unlimited Ride Voucher: $15/rider {purchased at Macey's before the fair}
Carnival Snacks: $3+
Dinner from Vendors: $6+/person



I completed the the  Jump into Summer Challenge - tonight!

With only hours to spare before fall officially begins.


Final two posts will be appearing soon.

What on this green earth will I blog about now??


Welcome, Fall!

Fall is my favorite season of all!
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Colorful leaves.
Crisp air.
Sleeping with your window open.
Cross country.
My birthday.
With USU basketball and Halloween right around the corner. 

Really, how could this possibly go wrong?

And who are we kidding? I wear cardigans all the time.

But still.

Welcome, Fall!


Stole these photos from Claire, naturally.


Dating Advice

from Mindy M. Thornley

Now, I realize that most of you reading this blog are married. So, 1. You don't need dating advice and 2. Even if you weren't married, why would you take dating advice from an old spinster?

In my defense, while I may be an old spinster, I don't own any cats. So that automatically increases my credibility. Substantially.

This past week I have learned a lot  about how to catch your perfect man. I feel it would be completely and entirely selfish if I didn't spread this knowledge along to the world wide web.

So, hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen! Keep all arms and legs inside at all times and enjoy the ride!

How to ...

Catch Your Dream Man

1. Completely forget the notion that guys will ask out the girls they are interested in. That is just a crasy idea. Why would a guy ask out a girl he is actually interested in? Weird. Always remember, if they are interested in YOU, they will ask out OTHER girls.

2. Put him on the spot and declare your love for him. This may seem awkward to you, but trust me on this one. And if it doesn't seem weird to you, you're already a step ahead than the rest of us!

3. Before that, incessantly talk about how you need to find him a girl to date. He will have NO idea you mean YOU. But then you have him right where you want him for that awkward-putting him on the spot moment.

4. After you declare your love for him tell him to "think about it".  He will do just that and only that. So when he never does more you should just sit around and wait for him to respond {even if your gut instinct tells you he never will. Lest you forget, you said "think about" it}. And it helps if you make yourself feel like an idiot waiting around. BUT! Never feel like an idiot for professing your love awkwardly, feel like an idiot because he is doing exactly what you told him to do. Besides, it is not like we have any control over how we feel. Absolutely.not.

5. Complain incessantly to your BFF and be sure to tell her the name of this man. This is important so she, who the man does NOT know, can send him a Facebook message {so, it kinda helps for your BFF to be a wee a lot- bit crasy!}. In the SURPRISE ATTACK Facebook message she should harpoon him for him not asking you out and for not being madly in love with you. She should also question his manhood for not asking you out. And, because she does not know him at all, she should forsurely tell him that you would be worth it to him and you would make him happy - because she has telepathy and knows what this complete stranger wants and needs in a companion.

And, the final line she should reference male genitalia and the man's lack of it. Because that is not inappropriate and is totally becoming of any female.

6. THEN, when the drama spins out of control, don't worry! This is part of the plan so that you can make sure you blame the man for it. And be sure to use cuss words to get your point across.

And voila!

There you have it.

No need to thank me. Just throw money in my general direction.

Good luck!


Remembering the fallen ...

For the past few days {and through Sunday} a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, "Cost of Freedom," has been in Logan. It is a scaled-down replica of the monument in Washington, DC.

I have had the opportunity to attend the real monument in Washington, DC.

Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC - July 2009
And  I was very interested in seeing the replica.

I am not quite sure what I was expecting. But every bit of reverence I felt at the actual monument in DC was felt at the traveling memorial here in Logan.

The lawn was adorned with American flags.

I do not know any of the 58,264 people whose names appear on the wall.

It is sometimes difficult to understand the magnitude and devastation of the lives lost, as a number can just be unfathomable. Seeing name after name puts it a little more in perspective.

Also, the stories my father has told me.

My dad graduated high school in 1968. Upon graduation he had two things he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to be able to run track and field at Utah State, for which he had received a scholarship. He also wanted to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Due to the war, each ward was only allowed to have two missionaries out from their boundaries at any given time. Most wards did a raffle of sorts, drawing two names out of all the valiant young men who wanted to serve the Lord. Interestingly enough, not many young men wanted to serve from my dad's ward, so he was allowed to go without having to test his luck with the raffle.

While he was serving a mission in Arizona the draft lottery for the war came into place. My dad can remember picking up a paper while on his mission, as all the missionaries were allowed to see where they fell into place in the draft.

With the draft, each day of the year was randomly drawn out of the lottery. So when September 14th was chosen first all the men born on September 14th, were the first to be drafted. This process continued through all the days of the year {the last day chosen was June 8th}. The longer it took for your birth date to be drawn out of the lottery, the better chance you had of not being drafted.

My dad remembers his birth date was #143 in the draft lottery. He knew he would be able to return home and finish competing for Utah State without having to serve in the war.

His brother was not so lucky.

My father recalls the family dropping my uncle off at the Greyhound bus station in Logan. And even now, forty years later, tears begin to stream down his face as he says, "Dennis stepped onto the bus and turned back to us and said, 'You will never see me alive again.'"

"That was the reality of that moment," my father continued. His family genuinely thought that would be the last time they saw their son and brother.

23 of those men that loaded that bus with my uncle that day returned to the United States in a coffin.

My uncle was fortunate though. While in basic training in Texas he was tested at genius IQ levels, which resulted in the military not sending him to Vietnam. Instead, for his two year service, he remained in Texas doing other assignments from the military.

My father tells of how when the two years were up my uncle couldn't get in his car fast enough to drive back to Utah - to drive back home.

There were also memorials to be seen for every war. And the most touching experience I had while there took place at the memorial for the victims at Fort Hood. There were pictures of those who had lost their lives. And taped to the corner of one of the photos was a handwritten note that read, "I miss you with every breath of my heart. Love, Dad."

A father aching for the son he lost who diligently served in our military for your freedom - and mine.

May we remember always that freedom is not free. It has been paid with a price of the lives of hundreds of thousands ... who are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends whom for their loved ones miss with every breath of their hearts.

My gratitude for their ultimate sacrifice knows no bounds and has no conclusion.

P.s. Claire took most of these photos. All but two.


Close to Nature

Jump into Summer Challenge #3 - Willow.Park.Zoo.Yo.

It is difficult to take photos at the zoo.

Really difficult to take photos at the zoo.

Too many fences/cages in the way.

At least Claire and I weren't in a cage ...

Have you ever been to the Willow Park Zoo?

If so, you will know they have a lot of ... empty cages.

And a lot of birds. And even more ducks.

With not a whole lots of other things.

The major high points are the monkeys.
I cannot tell you how often they do not come out to play!

The bald eagle.

The creepy bobcat.

And that's about it.

The major fun at the zoo comes from throwing crud at the animals.

We paid 10 cents for the fish/duck/bird food.

And that ran out pretty quickly.

But no fear, Clairence had Cheez Its.

But the ducks didn't understand. They just looked at it completely baffled.

We decided to give the ducks a demonstration on how to eat Cheez Its.

It was unsuccessful.

And then somehow Clairence ended up doing this:

Yes, she did chase the peacock.

And then other than some more birds and more ducks and a snake here and some filthy beasts {read as deer} and some ants, that's all we saw.

Oh, we also saw a couple on a first-date at the zoo. And if I learned anything from the zoo besides the ducks don't like Cheez Its, I learned that the zoo just might not be a fantastic place for a first date. It may be awkward. For you. Your date. And those who have to watch you and your date.

That's all. :)

The Breakdown
 Entrance Fee: FREE!  Although they do accept donations and prefer donations of a couple dollah
Fish Food: 10 cents for one half-handful
Hours: Dawn to dusk


Eat Up

Jump into Summer Challenge #6 - Attend the wildly successful Farmer's Market

Let me just say I loooove the Farmer's Market {it might actually be called the Garden or Gardener's Market, but everyone who is anyone calls it the Farmer's Market - mmk?}. And having said that, it's strange that I think I have been only two times in my life.

You see, it's Saturday morning. And I apparently have a Saturday morning ritual that evidently cannot be interrupted {unless I am going to liiiike the Festival of Colors or Minnetonka Cave}. What is my ritual? Go on a morning run {if the Angry Mr. Achilles is playing nice} and then head over to my parents' house to read the newspaper while eating a piece of toast and drinking chocolate milk.

Thrilling, I know.

So if I learned anything while at the Farmer's Market it was, don't let my thrilling Saturday ritual cancel out so many other Saturday-morning festivities. Yes, I am that lame - and I am not even a senior citizen - yet.

The Farmer's Market takes place at the beautiful Central Park of Logan, Utah.

And just has the most adorable stand, with VEGGIES!


And non-farmer things like flip-flops!

And jewelry - like this pink ring I bought for six dollah - love it!

And owl hats and fresh raspberries and more veggies and flowers!

Plus, did I mention there was like one kjillion free food samples? Because there was.

Needlessly to say, the Farmer's Market also has happy campers!

Because who wouldn't be happy with all this amazing goodness?! 

And I would say I would be going back next week, but that might be a semi-lie because the Top of Utah Marathon takes place Saturday morning and it has always been something I will interrupt my strict Saturday-morning routine for. :)

The Breakdown
Totally and completely FREE!
Other $$ Items: Bring the moola if you want to buy anything from the vendors
Saturday Mornings. Merlin Olsen Park. Summer-early Fall.
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