Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone

I don’t judge how anyone tries to keep cool. Just don’t close the freezer door on his head…

(Image credit: PXHere)


Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone. As I’m fanning myself, I’m beginning to question the combination of frugality and spite that led us to this place…

Last August I opened a power bill for a galactic $423.74. Yes. One month’s worth of air conditioning. To put it nicely, sweetly, as gently as I can, Utah is a life-sucking dust bowl of death during the summer. May is often even chilly and maybe June suckers you into thinking, “Hey, maybe this summer won’t be so bad…” Then, July rolls around and the heat hits you like a cricket bat to the back of the head. The temperature gleefully climbs to triple digits and squats there like a malevolent wasp over your picnic blanket. It doesn’t take long before everyone’s hovering by their thermostat, wondering why it isn’t cooler yet!

But, please. A $423.74 power bill?

So, here we go- a solemn vow between my spouse and me that we would go “AC-Free” for the entire summer. This was not met with enthusiasm when we announced it to our offspring. But my mother, who grew up in a tiny Southern Utah town, was all in. While I notice her air conditioner is buzzing along industriously when I stop by her house, she has a huge list of suggestions of how people actually survived when there was no such thing as central air.

We’ve implemented the ideas below, and I’ll keep adding new ones to this post as the broiling H-E-double hockey sticks of this month continues.

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Welcome To Our “AC-Free” Zone

  • This one seems obvious: a cold shower. I prefer baths, but complete submersion in ice-cold water seemed ill-advised. I can keep moving under a frigid spray. This worked. It cooled my skin enough to fall asleep, even though the bedroom was at 89 degrees. BTW: try a rainshower shower head to pretend you really are under some heavenly waterfall in Hawaii and not your stinking hot apartment- find some easy attachments here.
  • Lucky enough to have a breeze going? Hang a wet sheet from your open window and use the evaporative cooling of the wind to bring the temperature down. This worked. There was enough of a comfortable chill that we slept like babies.
  • Turn off those damn lights!! Gee, I can hear my dad’s words come out of my mouth as I holler at my offspring. It’s a small but obvious point that lightbulbs – even the high-efficiency ones – give off their own heat, adding to your misery. Since it stays lighter longer this time of the year, take advantage of it to keep the lights off. Kind of worked? We’re still pondering this one, but after a week of keeping the lights off until around 9 pm, it seems a little cooler. BTW: there are some low-heat lightbulbs that still manage to be affordable and energy-efficient, have a look here.
  • Drinking one or more cold glasses of water before bed. Replace fluids lost from sweating so dehydration doesn’t interfere with sleep. So stupid. Unless getting up repeatedly through the night because of said glasses of water was part of the plan and then trying to go back to sleep, this was a giant failure.


(Image credit: Pixabay)


  • Meet your new best friend: Mr. Ceiling Fan. When we moved into this house, we wondered if the previous owner owned a ceiling fan franchise. Just about every room had one… which as it turns out, has been our become our best ally. Just remember to adjust the settings on the fan so the blades run counter-clockwise, pulling hot air up and out instead of simply spinning it around the room. No ceiling fan? Put a box fan in your window, turned to pull hot air out of the room and blowing it outside where it belongs. This worked. Our fans run constantly for a fraction of the electrical demand of the air conditioner. BTW: there’s some high-tech, low price ceiling fans here.
  • The most memorable line from my Zachie’s favorite movie, George of the Jungle is this: “Who wears 90 pounds of black leather in the jungle? Cotton! Cotton breathes!” This worked. The villain was correct- Egyptian cotton sheets treat your poor, hot skin more kindly than satin or a grim polyester blend. The lightweight cotton wicks away sweat and allow for a more “breathable” sleep. BTW: I found some surprisingly affordable thread counts on Amazon here.


So, this is where we are, a third of the way through July. More ideas next week – what worked and what didn’t. If we live that long. But our power bill will be a tiny, diminished version of its robust former self! Take that, power company!

What keeps you cool during the blow-torch hot months in your neck of the woods? Share! Spill! We’re giving away a $50 Amazon.com gift card for one of your clever ideas on August 1, 2109.


These links go to our affiliate/influencer page on Amazon.com, where we may receive a tiny commission if you purchase something we recommend.

(Cover image credit: Pedro Sandrini)

What Do You Do When Things Fall Apart?

What Do You Do When Things Fall Apart? What do you do when things fall apart? I mean, everything in your life is in pieces? Kirk Bentzgen- owner of the massive Performance Auto- is my favorite story of how to come back when everything looks utterly bleak.

How do you come back from divorce, losing your business, losing your father and getting brain cancer? This man is a hero, and his path back is a great guidebook for all of us struggling with loss. Watch and be inspired.

Need more uplifting stories?

What happens when your flight attendant daughter can’t come home for Christmas? 

Gentle ways to care for yourself during busy and stressful times- find it here.


Do you know someone who has overcome unimaginable odds to find happiness again? We’d love to talk to them- please email me at Erin@thetoddanderindailystream.com


5 Ways To Become Less Busy

5 Ways To Become LESS Busy. You know, I don’t think I have EVER heard the phrase: “I’ve got all the time in the world… nothing to do… man, this is relaxing!”  Nope.  Never heard that one.

Why do we all think that being hellishly busy is something to be proud of?  I think sometimes it maybe gives me a sense of importance, that sooooo many things require my attention.  The breaking point was the day when 5-year-old Zoe, our miracle baby, was clamoring to sit on my lap.  I was suddenly furious at her.  I had SO. MUCH. TO. DO. And this kid was bugging me!

Let’s examine this, shall we? I was mad at the baby I love more than life because she wanted to cuddle.

What in the heck is wrong with me?


I vowed right then to become less busy, even if it meant being ruthless.  Here are 5 steps I took that day – and from then on.  See if any of these work for you:

5 Ways To Become LESS Busy

  1. Learn to say no. This is key. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much.  I suck at this.  I want everyone to be happy.  But on that pivitol day, I was not happy.  Neither was Zoe.
  2. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important.
  3. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. Seriously, what is most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities.
  4. Simplify home tasks. Think about all the stuff you do at home.  What can you live with?  A little dust?  Not decorating for every single holiday?  Focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks.
  5. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and every other electronic leash you can think of.  I used to be proud of the fact that I actually slept with my iPhone in my hand.  Not joking, here. It can easily take every moment of our day if we let it.  My goal now is to check work and website email only twice a day.  Check messages and return calls once a day.  And so on.  This one is going to be the hardest for me, I won’t lie.


When you finally do have say, five minutes of spare time– do NOT freak out!  Don’t suddenly busy yourself with another task– I’m sure there’s plenty.  Instead, sit for a minute, take a breath.  Look around.  Examine what you’re feeling and what you’re thinking.  If we’re very lucky, what we’ll be feeling is… peace.

Four-legged Babies Need Foster Families Too…

Four-legged Babies Need Foster Families Too…

When you have a sister who is the director of the Utah Humane Society, you foster a lot of animals.

A lot.


Kitties, bunnies, an arthritic chihuahua with his leg in a cast… the list goes on. Finding “foster families” to help is important- because whether the animal is too young to go out on the floor for adoption, too sick, recovering from an injury, the clinic just doesn’t have enough room for these extra-needy little fellas. (There were over 3,000 animals at the UHS alone last year who needed foster care.) This is where a foster family comes in. You care for the animals at your place until they’re ready to be adopted. Along the way, you help the creature get used to humans by holding them and loving on them relentlessly so that by the time they’re ready for adoption, they’re super adorable.


Adorable is important, because your little foster baby is competing against dozens of other pets for adoption. Helping them put their best paw forward (sorry, my 8-year-old is cracking up over that pitiful little joke) gives them the best shot at an immediate adoption with a great family.


We hosted our first bunch of scraggly-looking kitties when my Zoe was only 4. She adored them. She loved on them relentlessly to the point that they’d look over her shoulder at me, pleading for rescue. Which I ignored. Zoe rubbed them on the face of our poor dog, Gille. (That dog is a saint.) Since then, my indomitable daughter has harrassed countless litters into civility, I’m proud to say every one of her creatures has been adopted the first day they were put out in a cage. The experience has taught our daughter about patience, empathy, and the ability to not throw up when a sick puppy throws up on her. (It happens. We go through a lot of cleaning spray and kitty litter.) I worried about how she’d handle sending the first batch back, but she was great- she gave them all a pep talk and told them it was time to, “Find your forever family. Now put yourselves out there! You can do it!”


My sister – who has a flexible moral compass when it comes to luring us into another foster episode – sent me a photo of three baby kittens.

“Ready for some kitty action?”

I texted, “Sure, Zoe’s excited.”

Turns out the pickup included three additional kitties.

“You told me three!” I texted.

Juli was unsympathetic. “You should have looked at the photo more closely. Sucker.”



So, now we’re buried in six squalling kittens. And it’s wonderful. Hopefully, my manipulative photos of our current adorable, fluffy kitties have given you a desire to foster, too. For the Utah Humane Society, reach them here. The National Humane Society can help you find your closest shelter here. (Editor’s note: this is Jimmy, my favorite. He loves to sleep on his back to expose his delightfully chubby belly and his pink paws. Admit it. You’re on Cuteness Overload right now, aren’t you?)

(All images provided by Naomi Garrow)



One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson & The Most Beautiful Bucket List Ever

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson & The Most Beautiful Bucket List Ever. Louis Tomlinson from the band One Direction has been in mourning since losing his mother and sister this year- until he met an elderly gentleman mourning his wife. You’ll melt when you see how they’ve healed each other. You can see the video sparked from One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson & The Most Beautiful Bucket List Ever here.

Win An Epic Mother’s Day Giveaway From The Gateway!

Win An Epic Mother’s Day Giveaway From The Gateway!

I don’t care how dreadful you were as a child- and I say that confident in the knowledge that I was a truly dreadful child- The Gateway’s epic Mother’s Day giveaway will put you back in the will.

This Spectacular Gift of Loveliness Includes:

$500 necklace from Tresor Jewelers

$200 from Infinity Day Spa

$100 gift card from California Pizza Kitchen

$50 Victoria’s Secret card and…

a $70 credit at the Depot to go with your Elle King concert tickets.

Click here to enter– super easy.


Remember Elle King, “Ex’s and Oh’s?”

April Fools!  5 Awesome Kid Pranks

April Fools!  5 Awesome Kid Pranks There’s nothing dorkier–or more adorable–than the stifled giggles of a kid who thinks he’s totally pulled one over on you.  I think we forget sometimes how much kids love to prank us just as much as we love to spring an April Fool’s surprise on them. In their honor, here are some ideas for April 1. 

April Fools!  5 Awesome Kid Pranks

1. Baby Monitor Spies: take one of the monitors and set up the other near your parents.  When they least expect it, shriek “someone’s watching!”  Watch them jump!


2. Tape the light switch: Mom or Dad will groggily try to turn on the light switch and keep pawing at it, wondering why they can’t flip the switch.  Laugh when they finally figure it out.


3. Take the toilet paper off the holder and leave a funny note instead: (PS: you might want to leave the roll close by where Mom and Dad can find it.)


4. Paint a wedge of sponge to look like a slice of cake: this would totally work in my house on ME.  Leave the slice of “cake” out on the counter and laugh yourself silly when Mom or Dad takes the first bite.


5. Short-sheet their bed: an oldie but a goodie.  When the ‘rents try to climb into bed, they’ll find it impossible. Here’s some directions on how to short-sheet a bed in case you’re not in the loop.


What about your kiddos? What pranks have they played on you that TOTALLY worked? Share with the class…

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times. Busy times… hah! That’s every freaking day. For all of us. Especially now that we’re launching into the madness of 2019- more expectations, more requirements, more time and money spent.


But it’s true that if you don’t care for yourself, no one else will.  Then we either crash from exhaustion and stress or feel bitterly resentful that “we do everything!”  Here’s some simple principles to keep while battling a million different challenges.

Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times

Say no to anything that is not important to you

Laundry, phone calls with your mom, demanding girlfriends – this is not the time to be nice and “responsible.” Give yourself the permission to focus on what’s important. Getting the unessential responsibilities off your schedule will not only create some extra time and space, it will also lighten the burden you’re feeling to keep up with it.


Listen to your favorite music

I’m a little biased here, based on my career, but music can lift the spirit, calm the soul and cleanse anxiety.  Don’t underestimate the value of the right music to guide you through your day.


Ask for help

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you’ll quickly learn that most people around you actually love to be asked! It makes them feel useful and important. What usually helps the most is to get help to do the normal things; cooking, shopping and regular every-day tasks. However, don’t underestimate how important the people in your life can be when it comes to feedback, motivation and supporting your self-confidence regarding the important work you’re doing.


Get enough sleep

I know you hear this so much that it’s likely really annoying at this point. But this old advice is not only essential when it comes to self-care, it is also absolutely essential when it comes to being able to do your best. Particularly important when it comes to exam periods and work stress. It’s easy to think that a few extra hours of work will do you more good, but it won’t. Sleep will.


Make a plan of everything that needs to be done

Instead of juggling all your to-do’s and must-remember’s, write them down on a piece of paper. Then make a plan of how you are going to manage everything before your deadline. Tackle the most stressful ones first. For me, that’s calling clients. I don’t know why, but I’ll avoid this extremely important element for as long as possible- while stressing about it the whole time. You may have to schedule a lot of tasks on certain days, and it may seem like too much to do, but at least you’ll know that everything will get done. Make sure you stick to the plan, every single day. Don’t fall for the temptation to start on tomorrow’s tasks today, trust that the plan will take you there, and enjoy some free time on the days when you finish your tasks early.


Write things down

I am of the belief that as adults, our brains fill up right to the top and stuff starts spilling over. This is why I can’t tie my shoelaces or remember how to work a doorbell. So I write everything down. On my phone, the back of my hand, it doesn’t matter. This way, I don’t have to carry the additional stress of remembering everything I need to remember.


Walk everywhere

You might be busy and think that every minute is valuable time to put into your work, but some extra minutes of walking might be a better way to spend some time. If you live close to where you’re going, it’s better to walk than to use public transport (or your car). Not only will you enjoy a nice endorphin rush and the self-satisfaction of being all healthy, you also get some important fresh air and daylight. If you have to commute, get off public transport one or two stops too early, or park your car further away than usual. The extra minutes of fresh air will save you lots of time when you start working and feel more focused. I have a few loops along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (a wonderful series of trails and switchbacks only 10 minutes out of the city) that I plod along like a draft horse. I get so much thinking done!


Make sure you keep in touch with your friends

Just a few text messages, tweets or the occasional coffee will make sure your friendships don’t suffer. You will feel much better when you focus on something else entirely, and it will prevent you from becoming a workaholic hermit. You don’t have to keep in touch with everybody, most people will understand that you’re having a busy period. Just make sure you stay in touch with the people that make you happy and inspired.


Make room for rest

This one’s important. Make sure that whenever you plan to rest – really rest. That means that you will have to make a conscious effort to push all work-related thoughts and worries away. It’s also important that you rest your mind as well as your body. 5 minutes of stillness is better than 30 minutes in front of the TV!


Surround yourself with inspiring photos

This can be a formal Vision Board if you have room or the inclination, or simply photos that matter to you taped to a computer monitor, in a pretty frame or even a screen saver of all your favorite images from Pinterest- I love this option because I create a rotating series of inspiration boards to keep me going. 


Write a daily gratitude list

A daily gratitude list is really helpful to shift your focus and help you appreciate the situation. It doesn’t have to be long, a few sentences will do. If you keep a gratitude journal, you can also look back on your previous entries whenever you need a little boost of happiness and motivation.


Wear your pretty clothes

Don’t save the cute new shirt for “something special,” you needing to feel good is THE “something special.” With your most powerful, wonderful and pretty clothes on, you’ll feel like a goddess for the rest of the day.


Take a hot bath

This is my go-to when it’s been a really rough day. I don’t know if I get any thinking done while I’m prone with a washcloth over my face and the bathroom door locked so my son can’t keep stumbling in. But after, I’m limp and relaxed enough to sleep, whether I want to of not. Plus, an evening bath may be the best way to relax because of this simple fact – you can’t take your work and your computer with you.


Do something silly

Most people would interpret this as an elaborate gag or practical joke. I simply learned a pile of really lame knock-knock jokes. They still crack everyone up, maybe simply because they are so stupid. (Editor’s note: there’s a big ol’ bunch of them right here.)


Accept a little clutter and mess

Some dust and a little dirt has never hurt anyone. Focus on what’s important to you, you can always clean up the mess later. This only works if you can overlook it, like The Todd, I will only add the mess to my spiraling anxieties and it only gets worse. You know your comfort level.


Kevin Bacon’s Passing Out Blankets At The SLC Rescue Mission

(Image credit: Gage Skidmore)

Kevin Bacon’s Passing Out Blankets At The SLC Rescue Mission. Kevin Bacon was in town for the Sundance Film Festival, and he took a drive down the canyon- not to meet with the “Beautiful People,” but to hand out blankets at the Salt Lake Rescue Mission as part of his ongoing charity, 6Degrees.org. Because he’s awesome like that.

You can hear the whole story here on The Todd and Erin Daily Stream.

New Resolutions Series – The Secrets To Your Success

New Resolutions Series – The Secrets To Your Success. In our New Resolutions series, if one of yours is building your career, Dan Young from PC Laptops is here to tell you how.


Imagine bringing your son from North Carolina for a holiday visit, and the high altitude here in Utah sparks headaches so violent that a trip to the ER reveals he has brain cancer… just in time for treatment. It’s a miracle. There’s a GoFundMe account raising money for his treatments, you can find it here.