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Friday, July 31, 2009

Ford Ride & Drive Event Recap


Last week I was one of 50 bloggers invited to check out the Ford plant in Chicago. We were given a tour, an opportunity to drive some of the cars, and an in depth look at some of the exciting new features that will be available soon.


I forgot to bring any socks on my trip so I was wearing heels with bare feet. By this point, my feet were bleeding and killing. I wasn't too happy. But, that's not Ford's fault. They did get me a bandaid. :)


The massaging chairs were pretty awesome. They have little bags that fill with air inside the back and butt of the chair. They are supposed to keep the blood flowing to your back and bum to keep you more alert and less sore.

IMG_2321 By the end of the day my feet were so sore, I stopped taking pictures. Here are some of the things I took away:

  • The people at Ford are very passionate about their work.
  • The safety lady tried to convince us that you could fit 3 car seats in the back of a Taurus. We didn't believe her.*
  • I gave a "WOOHOO" for the people of Nebraska when they told us they are working on making lots of their stuff out of corn.
  • You can fit a grown woman in the back of a Taurus trunk comfortably. They have a glow in the dark safety release in case children go in there to play and get stuck.
  • Cooled seats. Awesome.
  • I would buy a Lincoln MKT the day it comes out if I had the money.
  • Adaptive cruise control *will* be on the next vehicle I buy.
  • Their SYNC system is pretty snazzy but not something I felt like I had to have. Carl would hate it.
  • Park Assist isn't something I really need living in Nebraska. In Chicago? A major plus.

Want to see what other people (and me) said about their Ford experiences?

*She said that you have to have to have two front facing, one rear facing, and buy specific car seats that fit in their car. She also told me to keep my kids rear facing until they are 40 pounds. I told her that would be very uncomfortable for some 4/5 year olds since they have long legs. She said that a broken leg is better than a brain injury. If you can't tell, that part of the day was my least favorite.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation Recap: Sunday Night

IMG_2289I had no idea that Carl had never seen the Great Salt Lake.  He's been to Utah at least once a year his whole life but they never went. I would have believed it if he told me he'd never been to Lagoon, but the Great Salt Lake?  It's free!  In the Nelson household, that is the benchmark for any appropriate vacation activity.  We had to rectify this situation so we drove out there on Sunday night.  

IMG_2294We got there just as the sun was setting and a storm was rolling in.  We drove out to Antelope Island for these pictures.  The kids and I got in a little bit. 

Everyone told us to take bug spray.  Thanks to the Skaggs' for hooking us up.  It definitely helped! 

We didn't get to stay very long and we weren't able to see any bison.  We did see a herd of antelope on our way out, though.  It was a great end to our quick Utah vacation.

We got up bright and early the next day for our trek back to Nebraska.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation Recap: Sunday Morning

Still catching up from our Utah trip.  Here is a recap of what we did on Sunday morning.

IMG_2259 My uncle Ron wanted to take the kids out to his work so they could see the big trucks.  Carl was excited about it, too.  Ron works at a plant that gets salt from the Great Salt Lake.  They get the water from it, put it in ditches or little ponds, let the water evaporate (or something), and then get the salt.  IMG_2264 

The kids wanted to play on the snow.  They were a little disappointed when we told them it was salt. 

Ron started up a couple of trucks to find a good one for them to take for a spin.  Caleb wasn't too fond of the noise.




Ron took them out for a drive for a while and then let Carl get behind the wheel.  He had a great time.  I opted to stay behind. 



I hung out with my grandpa in my van.  We had the air conditioning on and it was a great time to talk to him one on one.  I asked him about his mom.  I don't know all that much about her.


My grandpa said that his mom was a church going woman that was very honest.  He said beautiful things about her.  It was nice to hear. 

Once we got back to the house, Ron put the him and the kids on the 4 wheeler.IMG_2275 Yes, Eva is wearing a tiara.  It is standard issue for any 4 year old, ATV riding girl.

IMG_2277Here's a picture of me with my Grandma and Grandpa Jacox. 

IMG_2280  The whole family.  Caleb mad a conscious decision to keep his eyes closed for all of these pictures.  It was fun for him so when we took this next picture, they all decided to do it.

IMG_2284 Horrible backlighting.  My bad.  This is Ron, Krisen, and my kids. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vacation Recap. Sunday: Too Many Years

I am falling way behind on these Utah vacation posts.  There is actually one part of the vacation that happened before this section but I'm posting this one anyway because it is ready to go. 

It has been around 10 years or longer since I've seen some of my cousins and my aunt and uncle.  There are no excuses for this and there was no way I was letting another trip to Utah go by without seeing them.  Even though we didn't have a lot of time in the area, we managed to have a nice afternoon lunch with all of them!  It was so nice that we forgot to take pictures.  I regret this to no end.

Before we went back down towards Jeff's house, we made a quick stop at the Skaggs'.  I have not seen Kadee or Scott since the 9th grade.  This was 20 years ago.  That's a long time.  That is why I love facebook.           IMG_2286I'm pretty sure we look exactly the same as we did when we were 8th graders.    We're still as awesome as we were back then, that's for sure!  The biggest mystery of the evening:  Where is the tape we made at Magic Mountain of all of us singing "Faith"? 

The Juice

I'll be posting some things from BlogHer over the next few days.  I've also got some more Utah vacation to share with you.  For now, I wanted you to see an episode of The Juice (a weekly web show on  They were asking some of us to go and film some useful tips and mine made the cut for this special BlogHer episode!  Check it out.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vacation Recap. Saturday: Goats

On Saturday morning we went down to Provo again.  We took some family pictures and afterward, I got to eat at Cafe Rio.  Yum.  I got the Pork Barbacoa Salad.  I tried both dressings but I like the cilantro one the best.  After that, we said our goodbyes to Carl's side of the family.  We had the remaining 1 1/2 days to spend visiting my side.

My cousin Katie, just turned nine.  For her birthday she wanted goats.  She got two Norwegian Dwarf (I may be totally wrong here but I think that's what they are called) goats.  She named them Elf and Rambo.  Rambo was sick when they went to pick them up so they goat farm sent over Larry as a replacement.

IMG_2229 This is when Eva and Katie decided that the goats needed to have an exercise class.  They were running around the pen yelling, "Personal exercise! Personal exercise!".  It was super cute.

IMG_2233 They posed for this picture when the class was over.  The goats weren't tired yet so they let them out of the pen and into the yard.

IMG_2242 Here you can see my uncle Jeff, my grandma, and the kids (ha ha--get it?  kids?  goats?). 

IMG_2246 I hate goats.  Even cute dwarf ones.  I went inside after this and helped my cousin, Krisen, make me some more bracelets to give out at BlogHer. 

IMG_2237 The kids continued to have a great time outside and Carl captured their awesomeness.  IMG_2250

Vacation Recap. Friday: Provo/Springville

I have no pictures from this part of the vacation.  I'll distract you with more pictures from Wheeler Farm.

IMG_2222 That Zachary is one of the cutest white babies I have ever seen.

My plan was to eat at Cafe Rio on Friday but the timing of the Springville picnic made it not work out.  It was okay because I got to eat there on Saturday. 

We took some time to drive around town looking for free wifi (thanks Provo City Library) and a Church Distribution Center (thanks, BYU).  After we did all of that fun stuff (including a stop at 7-11), we went to see Carl's Grandpa Don and Marion.  They live in this great house across from BYU and the garden is spectacular.  Grandpa Don has quite the way with the flowers.  I can only imagine the spectacular we would have seen had he been in better health. 

IMG_2226 We headed out to Springville to meet up with Carl's Nelson cousins.  We had a picnic at the park.  Before they got there, my friend Robyn drove over to see me.  It was so great to see her again! 

I would have more pictures from the picnic but I was busy making friendship bracelets.  I'm pretty sure I'm the new favorite cousin.  I kept all those kids happy and busy with the embroidery floss.  It was really a lot of fun. 

Caleb was really tired and a little crabby but he did really well the whole day!  We promised him a swim at Jeff's house once we got back to the house.  We got there after dark but the kids didn't care.  They got into the pool and shivered like crazy.  Fun times. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vacation Recap. Friday: Wheeler Farm

Last Thursday we drove to Utah.  It took a long time.  We were tired.  My uncle Jeff let us stay at his place in Kaysville.  We got a good night's sleep and then Friday morning we got up and met Carl's parents, brothers and nephew in Salt Lake City.  We decided to spend some time together at Wheeler Farm.   IMG_2209

Caleb went straight for the ducks. 


Eva wasn't far behind.

IMG_2215 Zachary took a little time to get acclimated.


Grandma Nelson was the chauffer. 

IMG_2212Grandpa Nelson went straight for the vegetable garden.

IMG_2225Carl was hungry.










Eric's a proud papa.

Jared was elusive.

I was behind the camera.  Sweating. 

Who decided it should be over 100 degrees in Utah?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Clutter Diet Giveaway

You know I'm a big fan of The Clutter Diet. I blogged about it in detail here. Like most diets I do, I am really, really good and then I'm really, really bad. Then I go back to really, really good again. Vicious cycle that I can't seem to break. With the clutter diet, I do okay. I'm pretty good about completing most of the tasks. I'm bad about "weighing" in. I'm good about keeping one or two places well organized and clutter free. I'm bad about letting the rest of the house suffer. Yin and yang.

What am I getting at?

TODAY ONLY the first 20 people to click on THIS LINK and sign up for the Clutter Diet will get a month FREE! Use coupon code: C16527.

Pretty sweet, right? You can cancel at any time so it really is a no-risk offer. I love it and I'm pretty sure you will, too.

What are you waiting for?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ford Ride & Drive Event

I'm attending an event put on by Ford in Chicago.  It is the day before BlogHer and I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the behind the scenes at Ford.  Carl got pretty jealous when I told him we get to actually go to the plant and see the factory as well as meet with some of the designers. 

One of the main reasons they are having this event is so they can pick our brains about what women really want out of a car.  Not only can I share my own opinions, but I'd love to pass on yours as well.

Here's what I want out of a car:

  • If it really is a 7 passenger car, I better be able to fit 7 ADULTs or car seats.  How can they count those super tiny seats if the only people that can actually fit in them are supposed to be in car seats and not even a car seat will fit?
  • Not too many bells & whistles.  I like innovation and technology but some things I can live without.  Lots of features (to me) = lots of things that can break.
  • Reliable. If a car has proven itself to be reliable, I'm willing to pay more for it because I know in the long run it will be worth it. 
  • Trunk space.  We were shopping for our last car when the kids were still pretty little.  I couldn't believe the majority of the cars (and vans, even!) that wouldn't fit a double stroller and a suitcase.
  • 12 Volt Power Ports (for chargers) should be in each row.  We just took a road trip and my husband had a long cord reaching from the front to our middle row so he could work on his laptop.

Is this too much to ask?

What do you want out of a car?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hit or Miss

Traveling with my kids is a hit or miss proposition.  I'm typing this before our latest road trip (which should have happened yesterday) so I don't know how that one went.  The kids are now 4 and 6 and I can honestly say that traveling with them now is SO MUCH EASIER than when they were babies.  Or is it?

Pro: No diapers.

Con: No diapers.  If they gotta go, they gotta go!

Pro: They can buckle themselves in their seats.

Con: They can unbuckle themselves.

Pro: They can tell us exactly what they want.

Con: They can tell us exactly what they want.

Pro: They can feed themselves.

Con: They have yet to mastered cleaning up after themselves.

Do you have some of your own pros/cons about traveling with kids?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I'm Not Really a Waitress

That's the name of this nail polish.  I'm not Really a Waitress.  For that reason alone, I'm sporting this on my toes. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

C'est La Vie

Tomorrow begins my whirlwind trip schedule.  This weekend will be spent with my family but starting on Wednesday, I'll be on my own for just over 10 days!  It sounds exciting now but I know I'll be missing my family.  Luckily I get to come home for a day in between. 

I've been trying desperately to get everything done around here.  I've got most of the blog posts ready to go on  This poor blog has been sadly neglected.  I'm sorry.  The Crafty Conservative has been serving me faithfully all these years and it is falling by the wayside.  I'm not jumping ship or anything.  I just might not have too much to say over here in the next few weeks. 

Then again, I might just surprise you.  I mean, I'd rather schedule a bunch of crazy blog posts on here than finish up laundry.  Clean underwear on a trip is highly overrated.  Oh, wait.  Maybe I better go put a load in. 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time to Donate!

It's that time of year again. I'll be asking you all over and over to help out and donate to Team Caleb for the Nebraska Walk Now for Autism.

Last year I had a massive month long extravaganza with a mega raffle and fun times. This time I have done nothing of the sort. This doesn't mean that I'm not open to the idea. I just haven't done any of the work for it yet. I'm anticipating getting a lot of great swag from my upcoming trips so I'm sure I'll have some stuff to raffle off. I know most of you will donate no matter what (thank you!) but I love giving things away so it is a win/win. I'll keep you posted on the raffle. In the meantime, please donate! We raised $1000 last year (WOW! THANKS!) and this year I've raised my goal to $1500. Let's do this!


  • You can click on the big button to make a donation of $20 or more.
  • Click on the paypal donate button to make a smaller donation.



  • August 29th at Haymarket Park
  • It is totally free and a great family activity (food, bounce houses, games).
  • 1pm-4pm


  • I'm the volunteer chair this year so if you're interested in volunteering, fill out the form below! I'll put you to work.
  • Donate a prize for the raffle.
  • Hang up a poster in your office.
  • Start your own team!
  • Spread the word about Team Caleb and encourage people to donate.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mary & Joseph Go To Bethlehem

I missed out on this tonight because I was out partying with some friends so all of this is second hand from Carl.  It was just too funny not to blog.

They did scripture charades tonight.  Caleb had his hair on and was Mary.  Eva was Joseph.  Carl was the ass donkey. 

Once they were done with the story, the kids got into bed.  As Carl was listening in as Eva said her nightly prayers, he heard her say:

"Thank you that daddy was a honky"

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Remember this keychain from NASA?  It is now a bit of a joke in the family.  Friends on facebook were suggesting I make Carl a keychain for his birthday.  

IMG_2189Carl's keychain was solar powered.  I tried to mimic that by using glow in the dark yarn.  It works surprisingly well.  I wouldn't want to use this yarn on a very big project though.  It smells funny. 

I blogged about this in detail over at  Included is a tutorial on how to work with plastic canvas.  IMG_2190 We may live in Husker country now but once a Sooner, always a Sooner. 

He actually wants to use it as a keychain.  Go figure.

This wasn't all he got.  I also told him to buy tickets to see Winton Marsalis.  Anyone want to go with him? 

Monday, July 06, 2009

Don't We All Love Mraz?

This is the funniest video I've seen in a long time. Thanks to Tina for sharing!

Happy Birthday, Carl!


Many of you saw this photo already on Facebook.  We were working in the yard on Friday and Carl was rocking the dark socks. 

Carl turns 33 today.  I'm making him something special that I will most surely blog about later.  He also gets a whole pie to himself. 


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Caleb and Eva completed an intense week of swimming lessons and they loved every minute of it!  It was a rough start for me.  The teacher made me cry when she wouldn't let me sit with Caleb until he got into the water the first day.  There were no other adults around that weren't in the pool and I was worried Caleb might run away.  He did run away the next day so then I was allowed to stay.  That was the only day he had a problem, though.  Once he got into the water he was fine.  He just didn't like waiting for the other class to finish.

Eva was quite the swimmer!  We got to watch the last day and she was swimming all over the place and even in the deep end!  She didn't lift her head to take a breath so she is still in the level 1/2 class but we signed them up for another week in August and I'm sure by then she'll be able to move on to level 3.

Caleb also improved so much!  He doesn't hold his nose anymore and he loves going underwater.  He also did some swimming in the deep end but was a little hesitant and wanted his teachers to help him (about 1/2 the class needed this extra help). 

We were going to take them swimming today to show off their new found skills but the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating.  I'm so proud of all they were able to accomplish this week!

Friday, July 03, 2009

This Shouldn't Be Funny.

Caleb was having a bad night the other night and said, "Shut your freakin' mouth!".  I asked Caleb who taught him those words and he pointed at daddy.  I already  knew exactly where he got that phrase from.   That's right.  I've gotten after Carl before about saying that to the kids because Caleb is a little mimic.  I was on my high horse giving Carl a lecture when Caleb shouted, "Open the freakin' door!".  Caleb pointed to me. 

Oops.  Mommy taught him that one. 

We tried not to laugh about it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Talking About Toolulu

Print Most of you know that I started a business with Deb.  It is called Toolulu and it is happily taking over my life.  I've had several people ask me just what it is we do so I thought I'd do a quick post about it here.

Toolulu is at its core a marketing company with a social media focus.  We're taking our communication/public relations backgrounds and combining it with our real world knowledge of social media.  Our work styles compliment each other and we have been able to accomplish some great things in just a few short months.

I've actually been doing this kind of consultation for a few years now.  I get asked my advice a lot by friends and family members on how to start an online business (like an Etsy shop) or how put together a blog.  I love sharing this kind of information and over the years I think I've got a lot of tips and tricks that help save people a lot of time and energy.  We're just ready to take it to the masses. 

We are doing some one on one consultations and preparing some marketing strategies for a few businesses.  In addition to that, we're teaching several classes.  So far our classes have been local but we're looking into taking them online.  We want them to be interactive and we're trying out some services to see what will work best. 

In my "spare" time I've been trying out new software, applications, and doing lots of reading.  I keep joking with Carl that I'm earning my MBA in my craft room.  I've had a goal of being able to earn a comfortable living on my own by the time both kids are in school.  I've got one more year and I feel like we're well on our way to making it happen. 

Are you ready to be Toolulu'd?

Here is the commercial part of my post.  We'd love any referrals.  Do you know any businesses or individuals that could use our services?  Could you?  Send them our way

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Scout Camp Car Wash

I went to the scout camp car wash last night.  My car was a little dirty but I thought I would up the ante.  I took my chalk markers and tested them out on windshields.  They work like a dream!  Maybe I'll have to chalk my logos onto my van for everyday driving! 



Eva and Caleb really liked having their pictures on the windows. 

Who needs those little vinyl decals?  Not me!


I didn't forget to put in a little plug for our Stalking Suzanne blog.  It was at her house, after all!IMG_2142