Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Convenience Store Food

More on traveling issues…

When traveling we have to stop for gas and other necessities (get older has it challenges). We, and the kids, often like to grab a snack or two. These are often not the best things that we can be putting into our bodies. Cooking Light has a short article this week that is worth looking over, “Road Trip: Healthy Convenience Store Foods”.

There are things at these stores that are better for you then Ding Dongs and Twinkies. Keep in mind that while you can get find better things to eat this is specifically referring to the quick stop at a local convenience store. Something some of the folks making comments apparently missed.

Of course, there are few things better then a Ding Dong…

Monday, June 28, 2010

Celebration of Freedom

Don't forget this weekend's celebration of Freedom!

Music, games, food and fun are all part of the two-day Arizona Celebration of Freedom on Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3 in Downtown Mesa.

From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Downtown Mesa will transform into the Arizona's premiere salute to America. Catch the music at Stage America, sign the Declaration of Independence on Heritage Lane and visit Freedom Plaza at the Mesa Arts Center. Bring the kids to the Family Fun Zone for traditional county fair games and contests and make a splash at the Wet Zone.

Don't miss the fireworks extravaganza on Saturday night sponsored by the Chicago Cubs. The show will kick off with a pyrotechnic display shooting off the top of Mesa City Plaza and the Mesa Arts Center!

Downtown businesses, including restaurants and other retail outlets, will stay open to provide opportunities for unique shopping and dining.

Admission and parking are free!

For more information check out

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Travel Bag


The Prepared Not Scared blog must be spying on my life. Yesterday, she posts a wonderful set of ideas for a travel bag to keep the kids busy while driving from point A to point B. If we would have had something like this 20 years ago, maybe we would have travelled more.

Check out Travel Bucks and and Car  Bucks, games like License Plate Search and Tic Tac Toe Traffic Signs. And don’t miss the Slug Bug token game, no slugging necessary!

Great ideas and a great resource.

Friday, June 25, 2010

$5 off Bowling

Sign up to receive the 5/10 Split at AMF bowling, you can get a coupon for $5.00 off for each person in your bowling party for up to 10 people. You will also receive other special monthly bowling offers. We love bowling! It’s a great family activity that everyone can take part in.
Sign up, and you will be able to print your coupon immediately. It will automatically find the nearest AMF Bowling location for you too.

This is a limited time offer, so hurry.

More offers at Thrifty and Thriving

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Non-Food Items for Storage

The Prepared Not Scared blog has started a list of non-food items you would want to store. We spend a lot of time discussing food items, but there is so much more.
She lists things such as:
  • Tools
  • Cooking Items
  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Safety Items
  • Sanitation Supplies
  • Hygiene Supplies
  • Pet Supplies
She even has a pdf checklist to assist you. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Urban Farm

A member of Phoenix Permaculture Guild, Greg Peterson maintains his home as the Urban Farm. A very interesting place, with dozens of trees and assortment of plants. His farm includes chickens, gray water, cisterns, and solar panels. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saving Tomato Seeds


Here is a great article from on selecting and saving tomato seeds. If you are growing great tomatoes this year and want to have the same next, why not save the seeds? Saving tomato seeds is a little more work them some, but these instructions are great, along with other good advice on tomatoes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paint Can Stove


Just how hard is it to make a good stove? Gather up a roll of Toilet Paper, a bottle of 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, a 1 quart paint can, and some spare lids and tent stakes.

Take the cardboard center out of the roll, stuff roll into can, pour alcohol into can until saturated, and light. Presto! Instant stove.

Use the stakes and lids for creating a surface to hold pan.

For more details and pictures see

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Celebration of Freedom

Join Mesa in a celebration of Freedom.

Music, games, food and fireworks are all part of the two-day Arizona Celebration of Freedom on Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3 in Downtown Mesa.

From 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Downtown Mesa will transform into the Arizona's premiere salute to America. Catch the music at Stage America, sign the Declaration of Independence on Heritage Lane and visit Freedom Plaza at the Mesa Arts Center. Bring the kids to the Family Fun Zone for traditional county fair games and contests and make a splash at the Wet Zone.

Downtown businesses, including restaurants and other retail outlets, will stay open to provide opportunities for unique shopping and dining.

Admission and parking are free! Bring your friends and family for two evenings of entertainment, fireworks and fun for all ages. 
More information at

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grain Grinder


Have a hand grinder? Want one? The WonderMill Junior gets great reviews. They even claim it is “The World’s Best”.

You can purchase it locally at Preparing Wisely, or online at Locally it is $219 plus tax, and $199 from Breadtopia. Googling it provides other sites it can be purchased it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Inventing Merit Badge


BSA and MIT just announced a new merit badge, Inventing. 

“Throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s rich, 100-year history, merit badges have given Scouts an opportunity to experience and learn about a variety of hobbies and professions," Bob Mazzuca, BSA Chief Scout Executive, said. "We are very excited about the Inventing merit badge and what the future holds as Scouts use the tools learned while working on the requirements to help make the world a better place."

Unlike it 1915 equivalent, the Scout does not have to invent and patent a useful article. You can read about the requirements at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer Scripture Reading Program

Deseret Book is sponsoring a program this summer. They can earn $5 and $10 gift codes for completing 30 & 60 day challenges, respectively.

Check out for details.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Civil War Records Free

Do you have relatives that served, or may have served, in the Civil War?

For the month of June, Footnotes is offering free access to all their Civil War records. has worked with the US National Archives to bring millions of original records to the Internet. Civil War records that feature everything from personal accounts to historic writings that would shape a nation. Explore vivid details of Civil War battles through maps and photos. Get a personal picture of the war through Union and Confederate soldier service records, pension files, and more.

This is a great site, check it out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four Secrets to Staying Young

I have not been able to verify this story, and it is probably not true, but it has a great message.

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel." "No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet and I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is getting to me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know." As we laughed she cleared her throat and began:

"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success:

1) You have to laugh and find humor every day.

2) You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

3) There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty- eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.

4) Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year’s end, Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

written by Dan Jacob Clark
Fordham Law School
1999 Graduating Class
In Memory of Classmate Rose Daniels Young, JD, Magna Cum Laude

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day


While searching for information to post about Flag Day, I came across this well written editorial on the Bangor Daily News. So instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share this.

The Fourth of July is America’s birthday; today, June 14, is the birthday of the American flag. It was on this date in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted Betsy Ross’ design for a national flag. “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” That much is undisputed; it’s in the record.

Precisely how that design came about and who did exactly what are less certain. Varying accounts abound, sometimes the result of foggy memories and spotty record keeping, sometimes driven by the desire of descendants of Revolutionary-era figures to inflate the family role in history. Here, in brief, is a generally agreed-upon account.

In early 1776, the Revolution was not going well. The Continental Army had just been reorganized under George Washington’s command, but the many independent colonial militias were slow to meld. One particular problem was the variety of flags they marched under, a situation that indicated lack of unity and made battlefield management difficult. A last straw for Gen. Washington was the assertion by Loyalists that the Grand Union flag, a close adaptation of the British Union Jack, flying over his headquarters was a sign that the Continentals were close to surrender.

Obviously, a new flag was needed, and Gen. Washington knew just who should make it — friend, fellow worshipper at Philadelphia’s Christ Church, seamstress and upholstery shop owner Betsy Ross. In May of that year, the general, Col. George Ross (a cousin of Betsy’s late husband, John, who had been killed a few months earlier in a munitions explosion) and Robert Morris (reputedly the wealthiest revolutionary of the day) called upon Mrs. Ross at her shop. This committee, dazzled by her ability to cut out a five-pointed star with a single snip of the scissors, assigned to this 25-year-old widow (she would lose a second husband to the war for independence as well) the awesome task of designing and making a new flag for a new nation. The rest, as they say, is history.

The rise of the Flag Day holiday began on June 14, 1877, when the flag was flown from every government building in honor of the Stars and Stripes’ centennial. In 1885, Wisconsin schoolteacher B.J. Cigrand began an annual June 14 “Flag Birthday” celebration, a practice that spread rapidly among schools. Flag Day was established by proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916; it became law established by an act of Congress and signed by President Harry Truman in 1949.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Activities at Usery Park

Join the folks at Usery Mountain Regional Park for exciting interpretive ranger- guided hikes and family-oriented programs during the month of June!


RANGER-GUIDED HIKES and PROGRAMS: Start times vary, check schedule carefully. For more information, call the park office at 480-984-0032.

Classes every Mon, Tu, Th, Sat – All Levels – Beginners welcome

June 11 • Animal Hide & Seek Flashlight Walk, 8pm
June 11 • All About Rattlesnakes, 6:30pm
June 19 • Super Scorpion Search *summer favorite, 8pm
June 19 • All About Scorpions – 6:30pm
June 25 • Full Moon Hike – Full Strawberry Moon, 8pm

June 12 • Lookin’ for Lizards, 8:30am
June 18 • Kids’ Story Time, 10:30am

June 2 & 25 • All About Deserts - noon
June 11 • All About Rattlesnakes – 6:30pm
June 12 • All About Owls - noon
June 16 • All About Urban Wildlife - noon
June 17 • All About Desert Plants - noon
June 19 • All About Scorpions – 6:30pm
June 23 • All About Tarantulas – noon

June 17 • All About Desert Plants – noon – Brown Bag
June 18 • Desert Edibles Walk, 8am
June 24 • Fruity Cactus Walk, 8am

June 16 • Beat the Heat Strategies, 7am

June 26 •Wind Cave Trail, 7am

WHAT TO BRING: Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots for the outdoor programs. Hats are recommended and please bring plenty of drinking water.

Notes: Fees for ranger-guided hikes and programs are included in the park entry fee of $6 per vehicle or with your annual pass. Reservations are not required unless specified in the program description. Hikes/programs are canceled if heavy inclement weather is imminent. If possible, canceled hikes will be posted on the website.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June's Watering Schedule

A reminder from the City of Mesa:

Get ready… the mild spring temperatures will be over soon and triple digits will be around for a while. Make sure your plants are prepared for summer's sizzle! Though average temperatures are slightly lower in June than July, water demand by plants can be at its highest this month due to the low humidity levels. Learn about preparing your landscape for summer heat and programming your timer at

These recommendations are for plants that are established in the landscape (in the ground about 2 years).

Lawn watering:
    Summer grass (Bermuda) - once every 3 days
    Overseeded cool season grass (rye) – grass dies out

    If trees and shrubs are on the same valve:
       Desert Adapted - once every 14 days
       High Water Use - once every 7 days

Tree watering:
    Desert Adapted - once every 16 days
    High Water Use - once every 8 days

Shrub watering:
    Desert Adapted - once every 12 days
    High Water Use - once every 5 days

Groundcover and vine watering:
    Desert Adapted - once every 12 days
    High Water Use - once every 4 days

Cacti and succulent watering - once every 21 days

Annual & vegetable watering - once every 2-3 days

Note: These recommendations are a general guideline only and may need to be modified for your specific site conditions.

Bonus tips:

Citrus drop is common from May – July when young fruit, (1-inch or
smaller) fall from the tree due to a natural thinning process. If leaves look healthy the fruit drop is not likely from water stress.  Another June occurrence is that many non-desert plants may wilt during the middle of the day no matter how much water they get.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Family Movie Night

City of Mesa announcement:

Grab a blanket and head over to the Mesa Amphitheatre on Friday, Jun. 11 for a free showing of Planet 51 sponsored by the Mesa Parks, Recreation Commercial Facilities Department.

Planet 51 is an animated movie about an American astronaut who lands on Planet 51 thinking he's the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds that this planet is inhabited by little green people and he’s considered the alien.

The movie is rated PG, and stars the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, and John Cleese.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show time at 7:30 p.m. Free bounce houses, affordable concessions and a 50/50 raffle drawing will be available. The Mesa Amphitheatre is located at 263 N. Center Street. For more information about this event, visit or call (480) 644-2171.

Make it a full evening out and head over to Second Friday after the movie from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This month’s theme is “Summer Sizzles.” Enjoy the food, entertainment and vendors on display in downtown Mesa. For more information about Second Friday, visit:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

National Doughnut Day

Lithium Battery Dangers


The flat silver discs, “button batteries”, can be dangerous if ingested by a small child. While rare, it has even caused death in a few. The swallowing of these is apparently fairly common for children that mistake them for candy and the elderly for medication.

The New York Times has an excellent article on this problem. Read about it here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Plants and Light Conditions

From Tropica Mango Nursery’s Facebook page: (with minor editing)

It is important to take note what light conditions the tree you are purchasing is being kept in at the nursery. To reduces the stress of keeping trees in black nursery containers during the summer, many full sun trees are kept under partial shade or filtered light. It is important to make note of where the tree is being kept so you will know what to do when you take it home. If the tree was out in the full sun, then it is probably okay to plant it right away in a full sun location. However if it was in shade, and you want to plant it in a full sun spot you will have to acclimate it or there is a good chance it will shock and die.

Several ways of doing this are to leave the tree in the container and place it for a few hours at a time in a spot you eventually want to plant it, increasing the time every couple of days till eventually after 2-4 weeks you can safely plant it without worry of sunburn. Another method is to plant it in the desired spot and then cover it with shade cloth. Over the course of the next 2-4 weeks slowly start removing the shading, first starting with allowing morning sun and then finally afternoon sun.

Seems like a lot of work and time but it is one of the best things you can do to be a successful summer gardener in Arizona.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Maricopa Reading Program – Tots to Teens

This summer the Maricopa County Libraries are sponsoring reading programs for three age groups, birth to 5 years, 6 years to 11 years, and 12 years to 18.

How does a pre-reader use the library? YOU read to them! For every six books you read with your child, you can earn a prize.

The 6 to 11’s, need to read 2 hours, 300 pages, or one book to earn a prize.

The teens need to read a book or 300 pages for prizes.

Check out for more details or visit you local Maricopa Library. The closest to us is at Guadalupe and Greenfield.

City of Mesa Job Openings and others

New or revised this week:

Customer Service Specialist I (Call Center) $33,363 - $45,178
Utility Credit Counselor $37,024 - $49,837
Water Distribution Worker I $30,306 - $40,830

To apply for open positions, please visit:

You can also find employment listings at AZ State Jobs and the Maricopa Skills Center.

Also, don't forget to check the Mesa South Networking site.