Friday, December 21, 2012

Mystery Shopping

So I've started mystery shopping as a way to supplement our household budget and have an excuse to eat out every few weeks.

Mystery shoppers are independent contractors who will purchase goods or use services and then report back on their experiences to mystery shopping companies, who in turn have contracts with the stores and restaurants themselves. They are frequently reimbursed for their expenses and paid a fee as well for performing the job.

Some of my favorite jobs so far have been having food delivered to my house, checking gift card displays, and going to fast casual restaurants on somebody else's dime. It's been a way to earn some extra money and have fun.

Many mystery shopping companies also look for auditors, and I have done several audits for different firms. They might include checking a store's inventory or taking pictures of an office space and asking questions of the person who works there.

If this sounds interesting, a few caveats:
Never answer an e-mail from a company that you haven't contacted first.
Never accept any job that sounds like a scam from a Nigerian prince (you'd be surprised).
Before you sign up with a company, check with the BBB.
Another place to find out about worthwhile (and poor) companies is the forum over at
Find out whether the website is secure and encrypted before sending any sensitive information.
To avoid giving out your SSN, you can sign up to get an Employee Identification Number from the IRS.
Pay attention to your actual wage per hour. It can be quite low, especially if you read or type slowly.

It can be difficult to make a lot of money mystery shopping, but you can certainly have some fun and get a little extra cash if you want. As with everything in your life, make sure that the time you spend is reaping a worthwhile investment.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why the Lord Ordained Prayer

Josh and I have been studying what it means to pray with real intent of heart, and I came across this AWESOME conference talk from none other than Elder Bruce R. McConkie.

By the way, I've discovered that praying with real intent of heart means at least two things: first, having the intent to do our best, second, having faith that the Lord will follow through. Interesting, no? I never thought about the second part as being as important as being willing to do our part to achieve what we desire, like not being a jerk while praying to forgive someone who hurt us.

Anyway, here's the link for anybody who could use a boost this morning.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Priesthood Session

I haven't done well with the last few sessions of General Conference. I always have the idea that somehow I'll get around to reading all of the conference talks. Josh reads one every day when he sits down at his desk to work, but I don't have a desk. So I need to be more creative. Instead, while Guy is eating breakfast every morning, my plan is to read a conference talk while he reads his scriptures. Brethren, We Have Work To Do was given by Elder Christofferson, and the first few paragraphs shook me up a bit. Go take a look and read them, and then come back. I am the primary caregiver for my children; while I want them to learn as much as they can from their father and the other men in their lives, they have primarily female teachers and leaders. I need to support my boys becoming men. And that means teaching them the value of work. I am more than happy to do all the work for my kids, because it means no whining, no unacceptable executions, and my kids get to play--which they love. I'm becoming more convinced that I'm a clown for thinking that's anything other than a lousy idea. So please tell me how you teach your children the value of work. Because I'm thinking that emptying the silverware from the dishwasher just isn't enough real work for a 6-year-old.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A message of hope

Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail.

No one is destined to fail

 “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth:
but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

“Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye
have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are
forgiven you.”


I am a daughter of God. He loves me. He wants me to succeed. I am capable of changing. I am strong. I am building strong and healthy relationships.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Sometimes it feels like amazing things just fall into our laps and so that means that they are meant to be.
But what if they're not.  How do we know?
Once we had the opportunity to live with an old man and be his caretakers.  Rent free, + $500/month.  It sounded amazing.
And it was.  And it also was awful.  Because I had a little 1 year old and hubby had a long commute and it simply wasn't good for our family.
But I learned A LOT.  About myself, about parenting, and about senility.  So that was good, but I was bitter for a long time because life had been really good and then this opportunity came along and we prayed about it and it felt right and it ended up being kinda sucky.
So now when seemingly good things happen I feel a little trepidation.  I keep wondering if God's just trying to screw with me.  Oh, me of little faith.  I guess this goes back to the post about feeling the spirit. Sooooo hard!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

So tell me

So tell me, do you ever find yourself looking in the mirror at a woman who feels badly that she hasn’t yet made flower-shaped soap?

Nah, me, neither.

But still this article about kids needing their moms, even if those moms aren't perfect, is a good one. Enjoy! And hug your babies a little closer.

From the Power of Moms

Monday, April 9, 2012

Something to read

I don't have the time today to discuss this, but it's something I'm pondering today as I'm realizing our family dynamic is getting out of control.

There are WAY too many tense moments and negative emotions and blaming (parents AND children) going on around here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have a question

How do you differentiate between your own emotions and the Holy Spirit bringing personal revelation?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eliza R. Snow once said . . .

“God bless you, my sisters, and encourage you, that you may be filled with light, and realize that you have no interests but in the welfare of Zion. Let your first business be to perform your duties at home. But, inasmuch as you are wise stewards, you will find time for social duties, because these are incumbent upon us as daughters and mothers in Zion. By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish.”

Let's see here.
1st business: perform your duties at home
2nd business: social duties

BUT if you are wise stewards in fulfilling #1, you will find time for #2.

And by seeking to perform EVERY duty, your capacity will increase.

This reminds me of having a baby who never napped. When he did nap, it was INCREDIBLE the amount of work I could accomplish in an hour. Prior to motherhood, a list of such magnitude would require half a morning, or most of a day.

Or grocery shopping with kids. Remember how with your first, it was all you could do to GET to the store with the baby in tow? Once that one is a little more grown up, two seems such a handful! Then you get to three, who always come with you. Busy times, indeed.

But when my other two are elsewhere, and it's just the baby and I shopping? Amazing how easy it seems!

Our capacity increases as we seek to perform all our duties. I need to remember this as I try to instill more order in my home, in our days, and in my mind.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I know the women who read (or used to read) this blog have young kids, but I came across this post that I found fascinating.

"The culture of dating is a culture of hunger and unsatisfied eyes that are always looking around for affirmation via someone or something else."

I've been thinking about dating, and what kind of relationships I want to encourage my children to engage in such that they can have successful marriages. Whenever I am struggling to find a fulness of joy in my own marriage, I turn to thinking about what I want for my kids and how to foster success in their future.

This post, found through another blogger's tumblr, gave me some interesting things to think about, the most forward of which I agree with: young kids who are dating are setting themselves up for a bad relationship with "relationships".

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden

We live in on-campus graduate/married student housing. It's a lovely place, and in the center of the complex is a big hill with a house turned office on top. Behind said office is a little fenced-in garden with 24 or so garden plots. A friend called me up last week and asked if I'd like to use her plot for the summer, as she's too busy to do much with it. Would I ever!

I got a look at it last week, and went up three or four times to try to clear the ridiculously tall weeds. I've cleared maybe a quarter of the plot, and discovered a patch of strawberry plants and some mint. I'm worried about the mint, as I know it's pretty invasive, but it should make for a fun summer. Or rather I thought it would.

Until I sprained my ankle on Saturday afternoon. At a birthday party (which was held by an LDS family during a session of general conference--which I don't get) I stepped off a deck onto uneven ground and ended up with a nasty bruise and had to hobble home using the stroller as a walker. It's easier to put weight on it today, but it's still a bit swollen and I'm trying to be careful.

Did you know, as a mother of three small boys who's accustomed to doing most household tasks, it's extremely difficult to force oneself to relax and put your feet up? It's hard! Perhaps I need to slow down and relax more mindfully more often. It feels good to put my feet up and say no to the kids' unceasing demands.

It makes me think about boundaries. Which makes me think about this post about boundaries. I love the idea of modesty's relationship to boundaries.

Friday, March 30, 2012

So many topics, so little motivation

I think instead of Facebook I'll spend more time here.

Right now, I'm feeling pretty empty. I'm tired. So tired that yesterday, on the playground while watching three active kids, I fell asleep at least half a dozen times. Standing up was just too exhausting.

I thoroughly love my life. I'm getting a decent amount of sleep. But something has wiped me out, and I'm struggling to replenish it as I simultaneously try to keep up with life! Today I had one goal, outside of feeding the kids, getting outside, and watching our friend Sophie (5 months and cute as a button!). That was to vacuum. It's 5 p.m. and the vacuum is still in the closet, dinner is unmade, and I am contemplating another nap. I fell asleep earlier, but it didn't last long.

It could be that I'm at the natural ebb in my monthly cycle, (or would it be the flow part? Ha! Bad joke, I know) or that I haven't been taking my vitamins consistently for over a month. Maybe I need more green vegetables?

Or maybe, just another nap. And some more m&m's.