Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Fashion Tips

Need help deciding what to wear to your Christmas party? Check out my sister's holiday fashion tips here. You may already have some of these items in your closet. If not, you have a good excuse to get yourself an early Christmas present;)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What does your Christmas tree say about you?

Angel or star? White lights or multi-colored? How you decorate your Christmas tree says a lot about your personality. Join me at Moms Everyday for the big reveal. You might learn something about yourself.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Special Assignment: Black Friday

I was given a special assignment to shop at Mesa Mall on Black Friday. Ordinarily, I am one of those people who, on the day after Thanksgiving, stays cozy in my bed, has pie for breakfast, and smiles when I think about all those suckers getting up early to go shopping.
"You can't  CAN pay me to shop on Black Friday!"
But, alas, the allure of reserved parking and a $100 Simon Malls gift card to spend as I wish brought me out of my tryptophan stupor and into my yellow, suede walking shoes to brave the crowds at the mall.
"Plan ahead and nobody gets hurt"
Honestly, I haven't shopped on Black Friday since the kids were tiny and we were looking for
any excuse to leave them with the grandparents to get out of the house good deals on toys. Having been out of rotation for so long, I worried about my ability to effectively negotiate my way through the hustle and bustle without losing my cool or a limb or causing someone else to lose their cool or limbs.

In order to decrease the likelihood of disorderly conduct, I  made a plan of ahead of time for what we needed and where we wanted to go, so there was no meandering (except to try on winter scarves), pandering (at least not by me) or philandering (I don't know, it just rhymed). 

"To avoid lines, caffeinate before you shop"

Our first stop was Herberger's for a gift set of Obsession for Grandma. We paid for that at the perfume counter. No line.

Then, we went to Target for a new iPod Shuffle. Again, no need to wait in line at the front of the store while staring that the latest cover of US magazine (Will Kim and Nene ever be friends again?)We paid for the iPod in the electronics department.  Again, no line.

I was super pleased (and frankly surprised) to have not stood in a single line on Black Friday.  Honestly, the longest line I saw was for Starbucks. I had my caffeine fix before I shopped, so I was good to go. No line for me!

"Super Mario  is now available at a mall near you."

Finally, we went to the seasonal calendar and games store. You know the one, there is one is every mall. Which worked out great for us because back in October we were at a mall in SLC and my son's came across a Super Mario Chess set. It being that their birthday was another month away (November 25th) I wasn't willing to drop the buck$ on it just yet. I told my boys our mall was most likely going to have one of these seasonal game stores when it gets closer to Christmas and I would buy it then. Thanks Mesa Mall for not making a liar and a major fun-squisher out of me. And luck upon luck, they stocked the same game!

So you CAN pay me to shop on Black Friday, but if it's always as easy as it was this year, you wouldn't have to.

Although I received compensation from Simon Property Group, this post does not represent their positions, strategies, warm drink preferences, or opinions.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Test Lab: Experiment Brownie Dessert

I tried out this triple threat dessert I saw on Pinterest. Pretty self explanatory. Cookie dough, Reece's Peanut Butter Cup, brownie batter on top. In the oven at 350 degrees about 12 mins.
Source: via Annie on Pinterest
This is the result at the laboratory. I've named it
"Tres Muertes"
(Three Deaths)
You will die three times eating this. It is that rich. Can you say, "Got milk?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Don't Let Halloween Sour: My plan to help you avoid the tummy aches of Halloween

 Annie cerca 1980. I still have no problem wearing red tights with a a pink marabou nightgown.
Click on the link to read my Halloween post at my second home at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Painting the Front Door

"Wait a minute, Annie, didn't you just paint your front door, like, earlier this year?"
 It was actually a year and a half ago, but who's keeping track?
I decided that now that fall is coming on that Aerospace Blue didn't fit the season, that and I had to cover up all the bicycle tire marks from my sons riding their bikes into the front door. Don't ask, I think you already know how that happens.
The new color is Sherwin-William's Riverway. I have a shelf full of paint in my garage that coordinates with this color and I L.O.V.E. it!
I lub it so much I painted the inside of the door Riverway, also.
You can also see that since Useless Steve was such a one-term scarecrow in the backyard, where he did a lousy job of keeping the dogs out of the garden, I moved him to front porch where he can just be "eye-candy." Good Job, Useless Steve, way to be.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Useless Steve: The Worst Scarecrow Ever!

Say "hello" to Useless Steve, the worst scarecrow ever! Useless Steve could not keep the dogs from busting into the garden and laying on the cantalope. The crow is ruined. Useless Steve!

The "How-To" of Every-so-Often Chores

With the kids back in school, I am finally getting around to the ever-growing “to do” list of things I have been putting off all summer. On the list are the type of household chores that don’t need to be done daily or sometimes even weekly, but they are important all the same. Let’s call them the “As needed” or “Every-so-often-chores.”

When the scrubbing and cleaning and rinsing got started, I found myself wondering, when was the last time I did this? The “Every-so-often” chores are the ones that seem to slip through the grout, so to speak. So I ask, when was the last time you…

Vacuumed your mattress?
This is something I started doing with regularity after I saw a news program about bed bugs in hotel mattresses. Although Secret Agent Man and I, and occasionally Mini Me, are the only ones who sleep in our bed, it’s still a good idea to freshen up your mattress.

Dust, dander, and dust mites can build up in your mattress. I recommend vacuuming your mattress every time you change your sheets, or at least every time you flip your mattress. People who suffer from allergies may also find some relief by making this a regular routine.

Vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner or your Dyson, if you have it. Seeing all those particles come out of your mattress and swirl around in the bag-less container is both horrifying and satisfying at the same time.

Cleaned the refrigerator coils?
You already have the Dyson out, why don’t you vacuum the inner and under-workings of the refrigerator?

Dust, lint, and even pet hair can collect on the coils of your refrigerator causing it to run less efficiently or even overheat. Don’t wait until the repairman is twenty minutes away. Make this a part of your “every-so-often” routine by taking off the toe-grill or kick plate and using your vacuum attachment to clean off the build-up. You just might find that your fridge will now run quieter and cooler.

Washed off the outside of your house?
Does your house paint not look as bright as it used to? Are there a lot of bug-filled cobwebs on the walls and windows of the outside of your house? Unless you are going for the Addams Family-look, wash off the outside of your house at least twice a year. Once, as part of your spring cleaning and again at the end of summer when the flying bugs have died off.

Attach a spray nozzle to the hose and spray, spray, spray. I recommend using house water for this job. Irrigation water can leave a residue and spots on your windows. If you want to be an over-achiever rent or buy a pressure washer. There are also products out there made especially for cleaning the outside of the house.

You know me, I like my Feng Shui. This is a chore I repeat regularly especially on the front entry and windows of the house, to send a signal to the Universe that I am ready for more good things to enter into my life.

Cleaned and changed the batteries on your smoke detector?
Did you know that there are more homes with smoke detectors that don’t work than homes that do not have them at all?

Most smoke detector manufacturers will recommend that you change your batteries once a year and check them once a month. Again, when you are changing the batteries, use your vacuum attachment or mini-vac to remove the dust. This chore is performed twice a year in the Payne household. The first weekend of April and the first weekend in October, no fail.

Cleaned out your washing machine?
Are your towels still smelly after laundering? Not removing them promptly from the washer to the dryer could be one reason. The other reason is your washing machine may need to be cleaned.

Here is an easy and effective way to clean your washer:

1. Set washing machine on hot water wash, hot water rinse cycle, largest load setting, longest run time, and start the washer.

2. Pour 1 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into running washing machine.

3. When cycle is finished, run the cycle once more (omitting the vinegar and baking soda) adding a regular size cup of your detergent to the washer for this one. You can run it on the hot water cycle or not, it doesn't really matter much this time--I use the hot again though.

4. While this cycle runs I use the opportunity to clean the outside with an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Then I dry it with a soft towel so that it shines like new!

Deodorized the garbage disposal?
That mystery smell in your kitchen could be coming from the garbage disposal. There are many ways to do this. I have read about using lemon peels, dish soap, or bleach, while running hot water and the disposal. There is also the “volcano method” of running the disposal while adding baking soda and vinegar. I have also used some store-bought, disposal-safe, gel-filled balls that you drop in while the unit is in use.

The last step is very important. With disposal turned off, of course, you can use a small brush or cleaning rag to clean under the rubber flange. You might be surprised to find what was lurking under there.

So, if you have an image of me in my black, floral apron eating bonbons on the couch all day while the kids are in school, think again. The pink fuzzy slippers will have to wait until no mattress has gone unturned and every sink has been de-stunked.

Need some cleaning tips for your “as needed” chores? Try these websites:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The bird that inspired a blogger

Pictured here are the Clarks cerca 1983. That's me in front with the parakeet on my shoulder. About a week after this picture was taken, my parakeet, Pierre, died. Overcome with the grief of my beloved pet, my dad told me that sometimes when we write down our feelings it helps to ease our pain. So in my very first journal I wrote, "Dear Diary, my bird, Pierre, died today. He was a good bird and I will miss him very much."
Since that time I have kept a faithful journal in one form or another. Today, my blog is one of the places where I share my thoughts, dreams, joys and sorrows, but mostly joys. Thanks, Dad, and thank you, Pierre.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Some dogs are not so amazing.

Today, I am the guest blogger at Click the link to visit:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Today my blog post is featured at Click the link to find out what the Highly-Tidy know that you don't. Rest in peace and thank you, Stephen Covey.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

6 feet tall wedding cake

My best friend's mom made this amazing 6 feet tall wedding cake. Bride and groom stood on the table to nom-nom-nom!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Karen's Superheroes in the Relay for Life

This post in on behalf of wonderful people with a great cause. This is a family of givers and it is my honor to share their story and fight with you. Below is the the story of Karen Yutzy. Please read and if you feel inclined click on one of the links below and donate a little money to the cause.

A great thanks to Rachelle Kreie for providing the following story:

Many of you have heard of American Cancer Society. Many of you may have also heard of Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. If you haven't, Relay for Life is an all-night event where people walk around a track for 16 hours. The relayers collect donations from people, business, or wherever they can, for their Relay. All of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer. Cancer will affect everyone. Reports now tell us that 1 out of every 2 men will get cancer and that 1 out of every 3 women will get cancer. Those are statistics that are right here at home, in the United States. That's not somewhere on the other side of the world. So, you or someone you know will hear the words, "You have cancer".

Karen Yutzy with one of her many grandchildren
Karen Yutzy was diagnosed with grade 2 astrocytoma brain cancer on June 6, 2006. She underwent surgery in November of 2006 for removal of some of her tumor and then underwent radiation therapy January and February of 2007. The radiation has left her disabled, with severe dizziness and vertigo among other neurological deficits. Karen had recurrence of her brain cancer in January 2012 and underwent removal of more of the tumor in March 2012. They were not able to remove the entire tumor, and radiation is not an option after a person has had radiation once.

Karen has 4 children, who are all married, and they have 10 grandchildren between all of them. This will be their 3rd year to participate in Relay for Life, in honor of Karen. Karen has close friends who have joined the team, too, and they have been able to have enough people to now form 2 teams.

Cancer makes the victim feel devastated. It makes their loved ones feel completely helpless. Participating in Relay for Life gives Karen's loved ones a chance to make a difference in the fight against cancer. If you or someone you know has been through cancer, help make a difference in the fight today. Every penny you donate will help to put an end to cancer, to see a world with more birthdays.

Paul and Karen Yutzy
Karen's Super Heroes and Karen's Junior Superheroes would be honored to have your support in this fight. You can visit their Relay website online via one of the following links:

Karen's Junior SuperHeroes

You can also go to and go to Teams and find Karen's SuperHeroes or Karen's Junior Superheroes.

The entire Karen's Posse! Relay 2011

With your help, there will come a day when no one, not anyone anywhere, will hear the words, "You have cancer".

Join the fight today!

Posted because the Yutzy Family means so much!

If you own a business and would like to be a team sponsor, you can have your business on the back of their team shirts. If would like to support their team with a t-shirt sponsor, please contact Rachelle Kreie at 985-2520 or Ken Kreie at 270-3305. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A reporter came to my house  yesterday to talk about what stay-at-home moms are worth. Click here to see the news story and to see me expertly make a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Orange and Navy: Pinners Delight!

This outfit is gettting me tons of repins on Pinterest! It's official! I am a fashionista!!

Amanda posted toAnnie Payne
Yesterday while getting ready for church I had a dilemma and had to wonder- WWAD (what would Annie do)? I wanted to wear my cute new high heel sandals but my legs are still in winter condition - not ready to be seen in public, yet I can't stand wearing sandals with nylons, there's something about the toes looking like stuffed sausages peeking out of shoes that creeps me out. In the end I went with the sandals and no nylons (the people at church will just have to deal with their nightmares about my hideous legs in therapy). So I ask WWAD?
  I'm not opposed to going nylonless to church, but if you feel like you need nylons, which I most often do, I go with No Nonsense "Almost Bare" sandal toe in nude. So sheer you hardly know they are there, but you still get a little contol up top. Nice, right?

 Thanks for the question, Amanda:)

 Anyone else?

 You Sir, in the back with nylons on ur head...Security, get him out of here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Many Mysteries of Easter

Ever wonder why Reece's Peanut Butter Eggs taste better than Reece's Peanut Butter cups? Me too! If you are a long time reader of this blog, you may remember a version of this blog post appearing here a few years ago. Today, I am a featured blogger at Click here to read all about how Halloween may spooky, but Easter is the holiday most shrouded in mystery?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Easy Easter Decorations

I had a great day with an even greater friend. It was one of those days that could only be made better by Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-a!  Together we were able to complete two craft projects. This Easter wreath and a mini Easter garden. My kids were so excited about the garden. They said, "Mom, do we get to keep it?" Valid question. The idea for the garden came from Pinterest. The orignial had grass on the hill, but I couldn't wait for greass seed to grow. I'm too impatient. I wanted this on my table now. So I opted for moss.

The Easter subway art came from a great blog called, "Today's Fabulous Finds." The blog author offers her subway art for free and features severals colors. So nice.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinterest some

I love scrolling through pins on Pinterest. In particular I love the hair and beauty pins. So I took a picture of my our "Pinterest hair." I was able to capture, quite accidently, my two favorite hair products: Pantene shampoo and conditioner and Freeze It hairspray, but next time...I'll crop the over-flowing laundry basket.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mommy blogger turned TV personality

Who says that blogging is a waste of time and that you should be folding laundry and planning meals, grooming your ill-tamed eyebrows, feeding your pets (well, that is important) and alphabetizing your spice drawer?

(Let the horn tooting commence.) My mediocre little blog got me a job with the newspaper, then the radio station, and now I'm on TV.  I was just minding my own business, blogging about American Idol, how I rebuilt the Toothfairy's reputation, and how long I could go without shaving my legs until "Secret Agent Man" would notice and now I'm interviewing businesses during the local break of the Today Show about what they do to make mom's life easier.

Check out my first blog post here and then go fold the pets, I mean feed the laundry, I mean...ugh, never mind.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mama's new kicks

I've been a Nike wearer for years. I love my Nikes, because I've never had any sort of foot problems during my workouts or hikes. But, when I saw these babies, I had to give them a try. They are super light-weight and I feel like I get the full range of motion when I run. No more Napolean Dynamite shuffle for me! Aside from the comfort and peformance, they look great. I'm too much of a Fancy Nancy to wear tennis shoes all day, but with my new Reeboks I don't feel like I'm sacrificing fashion for function. This may sound like a paid endorsement, trust me, it's not, but if Reebok would like to compensate me for my glowing endorsement, I'd happily accept a matching running shirt!