Friday, June 29, 2012

Family Fun Bike - Out and About in Utah

If you've been in downtown Salt Lake City the last few days
 you may already have seen the latest sensation to hit the streets. 
The Family Fun Bike is a unique, circular bike built for 
seven riders who all pedal together
(truthfully, some pedal more than others).

My family drove up to Salt Lake City on Wednesday night to experience the Family Fun Bike for ourselves.
We had a great time riding around Temple Square
Much of the fun was seeing the looks on the faces of the passing pedestrians.
Lilly and Molly, whose legs are too short to reach the pedals, got to ride in the center basket. They both loved it and kept begging to go again. 
In fact, the next morning Lilly asked me, "did you dream about the Fun Bike because I did?"

Meet Dennis.
Dennis is the owner/driver of the Family Fun Bike which opened for business in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 29th.
The bikes will be running in the city six days a week from mid morning until the evening. 
The Family Fun Bike will be on the corner of North Temple and West Temple.

  The Family Fun Bike is an active, fun "green" way to experience the beautiful city. 
It's a great activity for youth groups or corporate teams.

Next time you're in Salt Lake City take a few minutes and ride the Family Fun Bike. 
It's an unforgettable experience.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dump Fire

Couldn't our fire be called something cool? Really! The "Dump Fire". I understand that they name the fires based on the closest landmark to where the fire started but it's just really unfortunate that we got stuck with such a dumb name.

The kids and I have been glued to the window in the boys' bedroom for the last two days as we've watched the fire crest over the hill and make it's way down the other side. Our home has really not been in any danger  as the fire crews have worked tirelessly to prevent the fire from spreading to the neighborhood where I live. For which we are very grateful.

Thursday : June 21, 2012 approximately 5:25 pm. Picture taken from the bedroom window.

 Thursday, June, 21, 2012 approximately 9:30 pm. Picture taken from the bedroom window.

Thursday, June 21, 2012, approximately 11:45 pm. Picture taken from our front porch.

Friday, June 22, 2012, approximately 9:10 am. Picture taken from our front yard.

Friday, June 22, 2012, approximately 9:10 am. Picture taken from our front yard.

Friday, June 22, 2012, approximately 9:45 am. Picture taken from our front yard.

Friday, June 22, 2012, approximately 9:30 pm. Drove south of town to take the picture. Most of the fire has now moved south.

Friday, June 22, 2012 approximately 11:39 pm. Picture taken of the fire to the northeast. View from my back yard. Now at 2:04 am the fire has crested the hill and is coming down our side.

On the other side of the mountain, many of our friends have been evacuated from their homes. We are praying for them.

The Winner of the $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Hey! I'm up late watching the fire burning on the mountain near my home. So, while I was up and a little too anxious to sleep, I decided that I would pick and announce the winner of the $50 Amazon Gift Card being graciously given away by Western Governor's University.

So . . . The moment you've all been waiting for . . . and the winner is . . . (have I dragged it out long enough?)


Congratulations! Please let me know your email address as soon as possible so you can redeem your awesome prize. And if you have any trouble spending your gift card at Amazon, just let me know. I have plenty of recommendations for great books!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gold - Book Review

At a fast, racing pace, Chris Cleave takes the reader on a journey that will leave you out of breath and with your heart pounding.

Kate and Zoe have been training with each other for years. As track cyclists at the top of their sport, their eyes are turned toward winning gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Enemies at one moment and friends the next, their lives are entwined as they push themselves and each other to the finish line and victory.

Without hard chapter breaks, Cleave keeps the pace moving in Gold his latest novel, timed perfectly to be released just in time for the Olympics. How important is winning? What personal traits are needed to push oneself to the physical level necessary to compete in the Olympics? What would someone be willing to give up for gold? And what is more valuable that gold?

A psychological study of each character, the story only expands as Kate and Zoe, their coach Tom, Kate's husband Jack and daughter Sophie are brought to their very breaking points. Eight year old Sophie is fighting leukemia and her own personal strengths and victories are momentous and emotional. She may be my favorite literary character this year.

Whether you are rooting for Zoe or Kate in the final race, Gold is guaranteed to grab your  heart and you will be sure to look at each athlete differently this summer as they compete for gold.

Just so you know, if I were Middleborough, Massachusetts and could fine $20 for each swear word, I would have a nice little bank account. There are also a few sex scenes.

**I received a complimentary copy of Gold in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this post. **

Monday, June 18, 2012

$50 Amazon Gift Card Give-away!

It's summer time and the kids are out of school but that doesn't mean you don't need to be thinking about your own education. Maybe you're just didn't get a chance to finish your degree before the little ones started coming and you've always wanted to go back. With online universities, going back to school can be possible even if you still have young children. You can earn an accredited degree from home. Think about it.

Western Governors University is sponsoring an awesome give-away on Utah Mom's Life Blog. One lucky reader can win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Seriously!

To enter :

1. Be sure to be a follower of Utah Mom's Life Blog and then leave a comment on this post.
2. You can up to three extra entries by posting about this give-away on your own blog, on Facebook or on Twitter be sure to leave additional comments for each thing that you do.
The contest will be open to entries until Friday, June 22nd at 11:59 MST. The winner will be chosen randomly from the comments and will be announced on Saturday, June 23rd.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Victorian Style from DownEast Home

How does the Victorian era inspire you – from books to home d├ęcor? If it strikes your fancy as you look to re-do some looks for your living room – you may want to stop in your local DownEast Home & Clothing store (all locations at marked with “home” sell home items) – and look what’s “in” from the Victorian era at DownEast!

Victoria Button-Tufted Sofa in herringbone pattern fabric.

The DownEast Victoria Button-Tufted Sofa in herringbone pattern fabric is now ‘back’ given popular demand! Retailing for $799.99, it is also available in a loveseat, chair and ottoman. Solid hardwood frame with plywood for strength and great shaping. 8 gauge sinuous spring coil base provides comfort and long-lasting use.

I received a gift card from DownEast and I can't wait to go shopping and check out the styles.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. - Book Review

Following her friend's sudden death in an airplane crash, Kate is surprised, honored and concerned when she learns that Elizabeth added an addendum to her will giving Kate the journals she has written during her life. Unsure what to do with them and upsetting her friend's husband who believes that he should be the one to keep the journals, Kate decides to spend her summer reading of Elizabeth's deepest thoughts on marriage and motherhood and answer questions to the mystery surrounding Elizabeth's final days.

Kate will discover that she really didn't know her friend as well as she thought and will be exposed as she sees herself through her friend's eyes.

Compelling and readable, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier introduces sympathetic and realistic characters who are struggling with their roles as mothers and wives and women in the frightening and turbulent post 9-11 world. As a mother, I recognized some of the same fears and concerns in myself. The novel  also delves into the themes of friendship and how we present ourselves to the world and the parts of ourselves that we keep hidden. It's about communication and the danger that keeping some secrets can destroy relationships and stagnates others.

This contemporary piece of literature is honest, passionate and timely from a debut author.

** I received a free copy of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. **

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wish You Were Here - Book Review

I was introduced to Waterland by Graham Swift in a Contemporary Lit class in college. I read it again a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, I was anxious and excited to read Swift's newest novel Wish You Were Here.

Jack and his wife Ellie own and manage a caravan park on the Isle of Wight. They've grown comfortable in their life but it will all be shaken by the news that Jack's brother, a soldier, has been killed in Iraq.  Over the next few days, Jack will confront his past as a farmer, his relationships with his family and especially his marriage to Ellie.

Delving deeply into Jack's emotionally fragile state, it is an interesting and daring expose on the simple things we do or don't do to hurt and often destroy a relationship. Swift is definitely not afraid of emotion and pricking deep into the human soul. The characters are eccentric yet human and invoke sympathy and even frustration from the reader. However, I found the novel tedious and not enough to keep me from falling asleep.

Wish You Were Here was redeemed in the last few chapters that made the entire book worth reading.

** I received a complimentary copy of Wish You Were Here in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was received. ** 

Giggling in Church

Years ago, Utah Dad and I drove from our home in New Hampshire to Boston to meet his brother and sister-in-law. They were staying in an old hotel in Boston that just happened to be hosting a Sci-Fi/Fantasy conference at the same time. The slow, creaky elevator from their room on the top floor stopped on each floor of the crowded hotel. Each time the elevator doors opened, we would see another character waiting to get on--the elfin princesses, aliens and various other creatures (not being a sci-fi fan, I can't accurately identify them). I stood in the back of the elevator trying hard to control the laughter that threatened to burst out. I literally shook next to Utah Dad, who pinched me. Finally, I just couldn't stop and I started to snicker. Utah Dad shot me his embarrassed, horrified look and I simply dissolved into shaking, uncontrollable giggles.

One of the women saw me trying to hide behind Utah Dad. "You're not here for the conference, are you?" she asked. I couldn't even respond between laughs and was so grateful when the doors of the elevator  finally opened to the lobby and offered me escape.

It was Fast and Testimony Meeting. I had enjoyed listening to the former NFL football player singing behind me during the hymns. I was also keenly aware of my own hunger and the pleasantly appetizing scent of the mango scented lotion that my in-laws had brought back for me after their recent trip to Hawaii. Behind me, I heard the sound of the football player's stomach growl. Instantly the thought popped into my head : "I hope he doesn't eat me." It struck me so funny that I started to giggle. I bit my tongue and pinched my arm but my shoulders shook. Utah Dad and the kids were staring at me in confusion which only made me shake harder and the tears flowed freely down my face. I finally had to get up and walk out of the chapel so I could compose myself in the hall.

Does anyone else know this feeling? Knowing that it is inappropriate to laugh and unable to stop it?

Yesterday during Sunday School, we were in the middle of a great discussion on Alma 5. Utah Dad is the teacher so I'm biased, but I thought the lesson was going well. Obviously, he hadn't captured everyone's attention because the man sitting on the row behind me leaned forward to talk to another lady. He was talking loud enough that I could hear most of what he was saying.

He pointed at the Relief Society poster on the wall.

"Why the double negative?" He asked and then continued. "Why say 'Charity Never Faileth'? Why not say 'Charity Always Prevaileth'?"

I tried to keep my attention tuned to Utah Dad and his lesson on having the image of Christ "engraved" upon our souls. He and the class were getting deep.

But the man to my left continued. "I just don't understand why the Relief Society theme is negative. It's like we have an entire Relief Society of martyrs. 'Oh, all I am is a taxi driver'." He mocked. (Not even that funny, in retrospect.)

And I lost it. I tried to focus on Utah Dad who watched me in horror as I tried desperately to control the giggles. My body shook. My eyes watered and the tears coursed in messy paths down my cheeks. The lady that he had originally been talking to laughed as well and the woman beside me laughed too (whether at me or at the guy, it was difficult to determine).

Utah Dad stopped his lesson and turned to us as the entire classroom (thankfully it had been raided to fill Primary substitute assignments and was sparsely filled) turned the attention to me. Every time I looked at him, I only laughed harder. It was a few minutes before I could gain composure and the lesson continued.

Poor Utah Dad taught the rest of the lesson thinking he had a booger.