Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum Summertime…

I love the ocean. I believe that the beach is one of the places Mother Nature is at her finest.
I spent my growing up years at, near or in the ocean and would like to share a few tips
to help make your day even more pleasant. For all you lucky ones who will spend your day frolicking in the surf, enjoy!

Taking children to swim at the beach? Get a tide chart and check for low tide, the waves are smaller and usually more gentle. You can go to this website, select your beach and get a schedule for the days you’ll be at the ocean.

Flotation devices make the day more fun; Boogey boards and inner tubes take you over the top!
Look for a beach with lifeguards, they are trained to spot unsafe water conditions such as rip tides and sharks. They keep an eye on everything happening on their beach, are trained in first aid and are worth their weight in gold.

Watch for warning flags near the water; some warn of unsafe conditions, others delineate surf and swim areas. Obey warning signs, these people know what they are talking about.

Say a little prayer for me; don’t forget a little prayer of thanks and help for a safe and fun day.

Near the water, the tiny v-shaped marks in the sand mean sand crabs. If you dig a hole and let the waves swirl in, sometimes you can see sand crabs swimming around. Pick one up, they tickle!

Buckets, shovels, sieves and molds make building a blast!

One word: SUNSCREEN.

Bring bags for shell collecting. The earlier in the morning you go, the better the selection. You probably don’t want to take home crabs and seaweed, they don’t live very long and get stinky. Some places, such as tide pools, have restrictions on taking things from nature. Just watch for signs and follow the rules. If you can’t find shells you like, there are often gift stores nearby that sell them as well as post cards to help you remember your summer fun.

Jellyfish – leave them alone. Most are not lethal, but if you do get stung, white vinegar applied to the site for 15 – 30 minutes quickly will neutralize the toxins and ease the pain. Remove tentacles and stingers, you can use a credit card to scrape them off. If the victim experiences difficulty breathing get medical help immediately.

A final word of advice, don’t shave before going in salt water – ouch!

Have a wonderful day the beach – God’s playground for children.

photo courtesy of

My plaid addiction just got worse.

Newell took me to the Scottish festival and Highland games today in Lehi, Utah. 

All that gorgeous plaid in one place. Hi, my name is Pam and I am a plaidaholic. I love men in kilts, I mean I seriously adore them. I hope when I die, I am assigned to the Highlands in heaven and that the angels there play bagpipes and drums. 

Even on one of the most momentous days in my life, I couldn’t stay away from the plaid.

I loved the Highland games and all of the clan displays. My clans include the Stuarts (Stewarts), Holladays, Fifes and others. Since I have collected tartans and decorated for Christmas with Royal Stewart as long as I can remember, it made sense when I found out they were my relatives. And this unfortunate plaid addiction may be encoded in my DNA. No cure; I might as well enjoy it. 

St. Andrew’s Cross, the national flag of Scotland. No, I didn’t name my son Andrew for the Patron Saint of Scotland, but I would have if I had know then. And my daughter Heather, a story from tells how Heather came to grow abundantly on the hills of Scotland

“…Disappointed with the oak, the honeysuckle and the rose, God turned away. At length, He came across a small, low lying, green shrub with a flower of tiny petals -some purple and some white. It was a heather.

God asked the heather the same question that He’d asked the others. “Will you go and grow upon the hillsides to make them more beautiful?”

The heather thought about the poor soil, the wind and the rain – and wasn’t very sure that she could do a good job. But turning to God she replied that if he wanted her to do it, she would certainly give it a try.

God was very pleased.

He was so pleased in fact that he decided to give the heather some gifts as a reward for her willingness to do as he had asked the oak tree – the bark of the heather is the strongest of any tree or shrub in the whole world.
Next he gave her the fragrance of the honeysuckle – a fragrance which is frequently used to gently perfume soaps and potpourris. 
Finally he gave her the sweetness of the rose – so much so that heather is one of the bees favourite flowers. And to this day, heather is renowned especially for these three God-given gifts.”

The state flag of Alabama, where son Timothy is serving an LDS mission. My next project when he returns home is helping him find a nice young woman and convincing them they need to have the men in their wedding in kilts. Ahhh. 

Plaid even showed up on the front of my Halloween book. 

And inside.

 I even dream in tartan. 

When my Christmas book is published, guess what will be on the cover? 

Well, it’s late; sweet dreams I’m signing off. 

Healthy snacks for your summer road trip and staycations

When you are ready to hit the road, take along healthier snacks and diversions for more summer fun! This is an article I wrote for FamilyShare:

  • Come away, come away, come away with me!
    As summer breezes begin to blow, the temptation to embark on an adventure becomes almost irresistible (do you remember the Wind in the Willows?) Here is a menu to fuel the energy of your wanderlust and set you on a course for a wunderbar journey. (Approved by my Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetic Educator husband.)
    Healthy and happy foods make for good traveling companions. If you eat mostly healthy food, you’ll feel better and will probably consume fewer calories than if you eat a lot of junk food. The cold things need to be in a cooler with ice and the rest can be packed in a cute container with compartments or in a basket that’s easy to get to. A friend always puts her veggies in mason jars with ice water. Don’t forget paper towels, wet wipes or wet washcloths in bags and a trash bag.
    Tip: My sister-in-law makes her husband stop once a day for a sit-down meal on long road trips. I like to pack a portable propane grill or chef’s single burner, a pot, spoon, disposable paper plates and bowls. You can heat up soup, and add a packaged salad or cook a simple meal, even oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
    When you are trying to make good time on the road, here are some of our favorite snacks to pack for the journey.
  • Drinks

    A cooler filled with ice and drinks will be your best friend on the road. Consider forgoing the usual sodas (sticky) and try some of these suggestions:
    Water and fruit-infused water in bottles (strawberry, orange, lemon, cucumber, etc.)
    Sometimes you need caffeinated soda for drowsiness. It can also be diluted half and half with water so it’s not so sweet, or try the diet variety.
    Fruit juices and nectars
    V8 and vegetable juices
    (Vernor’s) ginger ale for motion sickness
    Bring straws.
  • Snacks

    A cramped car is the last place you want to jam a bunch of sugar-filled children. Give the traditional candy and chocolate bars a break on this trip and pack some of these items instead.
    Mixed nuts
    String cheese
    Whole grain crackers
    Trail Mix: I don’t like raisins and sticky foods in the car, but we do have a great dry trail mix made with mixed nuts, M&Ms, whole grain cereal and candy corn.
    Confession: I like adding oat and marshmallow cereal (Lucky Charms), but you could make it healthier with whole grain oat or wheat cereal. Pack it in bags or keep it in a large container and scoop out small paper cupfuls to pass around:
    2 C plain M & Ms (about a pound)
    5 C mixed nuts or peanuts
    1 1/2 C candy corn
    4 C cereal
    Fresh fruits: grapes, apples, bananas and cut up melon for older and neater eaters
    Fresh veggies: carrots, jicama, cucumber, grape tomatoes, celery, broccoli, peppers
    Sandwiches, wraps and pinwheels (tortilla rolls with cream cheese, meat, tomato slices and lettuce)
    Whole grain bagels and cream cheese
    When you know the trip will be long, don’t waste time stopping numerous times for food. Instead, why not consider packing a loaf of whole wheat bread and jars of peanut butter, honey or jelly (and a spreader). It’s a money-saver as well as a time saver on the road. You may also offer your hungry passengers these items:
    Yogurt in tubes
    Bar cookies are usually thicker and more stable than round ones
    Homemade granola bars
    More travel tips:
    Pack a Frisbee or football for quick and stretching workouts at rest stops. Be sure to find a safe place to play.
    Bring something soft and fuzzy like a stuffed toy or blankie for young travelers. Stroking something soft helps relieve stress. (The cat probably would rather be left at home.)
    Pack some sunscreen in the car for stops and sightseeing.
    Paint the back of a wooden tray with chalkboard paint and pack some chalk and a rag. If you don’t want crayons and markers in the car, the kids can still draw and play games and the tray can be used for snacks and a play surface.
    Busy books, paper dolls, toy cars and dinosaurs and simple travel games can be wonderful. You can get ideas and free templates on social media sites.
    Incentives: have a container of money in the car labeled with a list of forbidden actions like name-calling, whining, hitting, etc. If the kids get out of line, take out some of the money. Give them what is left for souvenirs and special treats.
    Buy a donut-shaped travel pillow for each passenger. They are heavenly for a quick snooze without waking up with a stiff neck.
    Check out a few well-written audio books from the library. You may tire of the constant interaction, conversation and “togetherness.” Put on a good story and relax; better yet, find a series. Listening makes the time pass faster, too. To keep the happiness meter up, we love good comedies by Dave Barry and Bill Cosby. Do your older children have books they need to read for school? You can knock out a reading assignment and have an interesting discussion to boot.
    You don’t have to leave your happy, healthy lifestyle on the side of the road. With a little preparation ahead of time, your family trip can be just as pleasant along the way as the anticipated destination.
  • Beef jerky