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Homeschooling During the Coronavirus Confinement? Five Sanity-Saving Resources

Homeschooling during the Coronavirus confinement? Five sanity-saving resources.

The true horror of my daughter’s situation just hit her today when I came home with her packet from school.

“What is that?”

“This is your school coursework while we’re homeschooling during the quarantine.”

“What?” Zoe’s voice rose to a pitch that could shatter glass.

“This isn’t a vacation, honey, this is a quarantine.”

Then, there was wailing and a lot of “It’s not faaaaair,” and “this is terrrribbllleeee…” Zoe likes to draw her infuriated monologue out for extra drama.

But her flailing and grief did prove a point. There has to be more than just keeping up on homework during this bout of staying at home together, or we’ll all lose our collective minds. So here’s some free resources that might be just the thing that makes the difference between happiness and insanity. We’re in this together, honey.

 

Five sanity-saving resources for homeschooling kids.

Epic video explorations.

The Shedd Aquarium sent out their penguins to take a tour of the aquarium when the Chicago legend had to close. Every day since, there’s been video updates of their adventures around the aquarium. Go on a virtual field trip with incredible video adventures set up by age or grade. The Metropolitan Opera is streaming performances for free – a wonderful chance to expose your kids without buying a pricey ticket. Twelve of the world’s most famous museums – like the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – are offering virtual tours of their treasures, find a complete list here.

 

Get moving!

GoNoodle.com has free dance and exercise videos that are vastly entertaining, even to a bitter, jaded mother like myself. (Cat Party is a personal favorite.) FluencyandFitness.com diabolically gets your offspring to learn while they’re moving, and they’re offering 3 free weeks for parents. Two birds = one stone. Then there’s the Fitness Blender Kids Workout – 25 Minute Fun Workout for Kids at Home.

This is old-school, but I simply drag my complaining offspring out the door and on to a nature walk, where they have a list of items to find (ie: pine cones, a bird’s feather, etc.) before we can come home. Hmmm… That sounds vaguely punitive, but I swear we always have fun.

 

Keep Learning.

I’m stunned by how quickly our school district put together a rather detailed and info-rich homeschool packages for my kids. It was like the scene from Apollo 13 where they threw everything out on the table and tried to figure out what would work. If you haven’t been as lucky, there’s so many free, excellent sites to help you. Scholastic hastily created an excellent website – Scholastic Learn at Home with educational plans by grade. Bamboolearning.com is another spectacular option and offering many free courses to support parents during the confinement period. HippoCampus has over 3,000 free videos for 13 different subjects. Beanstalk.co is also free during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Become an artist with Draw with Mo Willems.

Ten art history classes you can take online for free from Art.sy.

Iron Chef Michael Symon is hosting free daily cooking videos on Facebook.

 

Non-screen activities.

  1. Write a thank-you letter to a local hero.
  2. Create a secret code. Write it in disappearing ink for extra difficulty. (DIY disappearing ink instructions.)
  3. Hold a photo session. Use your iPad, mom’s phone … play with the images and add extras and special effects with a free photo service like PicMonkey.
  4. Write a play, assign roles to family members, pets, etc.
  5. Recycle Art: gather stuff from the recycling bin and from around the house to create new art.
  6. Send a homemade postcard to your teachers. Tell them what you appreciate about them and how they’ve changed your life.
  7. Invent a new board game! Use a local location or activity and build around it, creating an adventure. You can make your own rules and mom and dad have to follow them. Oh, the power.
  8. Make a kitchen table fort or “under-hammock.” (See photo above.)
  9. Make homemade ice cream in a bag.
  10. Ready for a bigger challenge? Since eggs, butter and milk are increasingly short supply, what recipes can you make without them? There’s Vanilla Crazy Cake, or the English Water Cake, made during WWII when these items were extremely rare.

Reach out.

Sewing face masks! Hospitals and clinics are desperate for face masks and many are requesting the public’s health. Here’s some info from an Indiana hospital chain:  “This does follow CDC protocols that you can find on their website that if all other supplies are not available, that handmade masks that meet certain criteria are acceptable,” Deaconess spokeswoman Becca Scott said. The release with the video, pattern and instructions was posted to the Deaconess Facebook page Thursday morning and is available at www.deaconess.com/masks. A PDF of the pattern is available here. Editor’s note: I’ve called three of our local hospitals to see exactly what they need and what they can accept. I would suggest doing the same before launching your sewing project.

Support your local food bank and outreach meal projects. Feeding America has a very long list of local food banks and outreach projects who would love your donations and also your volunteer time. The demand is nearly triple on most sites and volunteer assistance is dwindling. There’s a list of more emergency food programs here.

Become your neighborhood “community captain.” I’ve noticed tons of offers of help on our local neighborhood website, but not many takers. Most folks who need the help may be shy to reach out or unwilling to post in such a public way. If you have a nextdoor.com page for your local area, there’s a “help map” with locations and contacts for people who can help, and the people who need it.

 

And this is so important…

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling, keeping calm about the pandemic, worried about elderly relatives and fears about losing your job, you’re not alone. If you’re having trouble homeschooling (I’m raising my hand, here) the New York Times has an excellent article with tons of great ideas.

If your little ones are having a hard time expressing themselves, here’s a helpful list of questions to ask them from PBS Kids, hopefully getting that conversation going. And of course, the great, great granddaddy of Awesome, Sesame Street, has a wonderful list of resources, too.

Maybe you’re the one who’s struggling. No surprise there, it’s hard to be the one who’s strong for everyone else. the CDC created a wonderful page that goes into how to cope with your fears and anxieties right now. If you feel like you need to talk to someone but don’t feel like you have anyone to call, please, please call one of these numbers as soon as you can. Don’t be afraid to reach out, you’d be there if someone needed you, right? Let someone be there for you. We’re all in this together.

 

Kid-Tested (And Kid-Approved) Jokes

Kid-Tested (And Kid-Approved) Jokes. I’m not going to lie, I looked these up with my third-grader as self-defense. There’s only so many “jokes” that don’t go anywhere that I can take, and now that my Zoe’s nine, she is the Queen of Truly Terrible Puns- she can barely get the joke out before dissolving into hysterical laughter.  In honor of April Fool’s Day, if your little people are still open to the fun of the dorky joke, try these on for size…

Kid-Tested (And Kid-Approved) Jokes:

Why do bees have sticky hair?
 -Because they use honeycombs.
Why was the man running around his bed?
 -He wanted to catch up on his sleep.
Why did the chicken cross the playground?
 -To get to the other slide.
What do you call a pig that knows karate?
 – A pork chop!
What does a robot frog say?
 -Rib-bot. (Channeling R2D2)
Why is 6 afraid of 7?
 -Because 7 8 9!
What’s black and white, black and white, black and white?
 -A penguin rolling down a hill!
Why do cows wear bells?
 -Because their horns don’t work!
What does a snail say when it’s riding on a turtle’s back?
 -Weeeee!!
How did the barber win the race?
 -He knew a short cut.

Knock Knock Jokes

Knock, knock.
 –Who’s there?
Interrupting cow.
 –Interrupting c..
MOO!!!
Knock, knock. 
 -Who’s there?
Boo.
 –Boo who?
Please don’t cry. It’s only a joke.
Knock, knock.
 –Who’s there?
Nobody.
 –Nobody who?
(Stay silent)
Knock, knock.
 –Who’s there?
Little old lady.
 –Little old lady who?
I didn’t know you could yodel!
Knock, knock.
 –Who’s there?
Cows say.
 –Cows say who?
No silly, cows say moo!
Knock, knock.
  -Who’s there?
Owls say.
 –Owls say who?
Yep.
Knock, knock.
 –Who’s there?
Tank.
 –Tank who?
You’re welcome!

Even More Kid-Tested (And Kid-Approved) Jokes

What is brown and sticky? –A stick!
Why did half a chicken cross the road? – To get to his other side
How do you make a tissue dance? – Put a little boogie in it.
Knock, knock. – Who’s there? Smell mop. – Smell mop who?
Where do library books like to sleep? – Under their covers!
Why can’t a bicycle stand up by itself? – Because it’s two-tired!
Knock, knock. – Who’s there? Yourself. – Yourself who? Your cell phone’s ringing you better answer it.
What did zero say to eight? – Nice belt!
Where do sheep get their wool cut? – At the BAAAbars!
What’s mom and dad’s favorite ride at a fair? – A married-go-round!
Where do cows go on Friday night? – To the MOOOvie theater.
Where did the king keep his armies? – In his sleevies!
And my Zoe’s favorite…
Knock, knock. –Who’s there? Banana. –Banana who? Knock, knock. –Who’s there? Banana –Banana who? Knock, knock. – Who’s there? Orange. –Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana again?

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front. I must hate myself. Really.  I do this to myself EVERY YEAR, but to my Littles, the light cruises are an indispensable part of the Holidays.  We circle city blocks for hours, marveling at the lights and amazing creations that people with more time, money and (clearly) intelligence can put together. Since the only thing it has to cost you is a gallon or two of gas, it’s one of the most affordable options. Here’s a breakdown by county along the Wasatch Front, including the wildly enthusiastic amateurs. You’re welcome.

(Editor’s note: if you’re looking for more ways to instill meaning and fun into the Holidays with the people you love, take a look at our post on “Creating Holiday Traditions” here.  And what about taking care of yourself, enjoying the Holidays instead of just “getting through another one,” by checking out our tips here.)

 

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front

 

 

Utah County:

6-10-pm: Spanish Fork Festival of Lights-runs every night through New Year’s Day. Tickets $7-30.

6:30-10pm: The Christmas Light Cruise on the Provo River-tickets are $8.00, children under 2 free.

5:30-10:30pm: Pond Town in Salem-a sweet light display on the pond at the center of town, free admission. The display runs through 1.2.15

5-10pm: The Shops At Riverwoods-is ablaze with lights through January 1, 2018.  There’s carriage rides Friday, Saturday and Monday.  Free admission, small charge for the carriage rides.

5-10pm: Provo Town Center-watch the free holiday light and music show through December 31, free admission. 351 W Center St, Provo

5-10:30pm: Christmas in Color– now at the Utah Lake Stake Park – Marina, 4400 Center St, Provo. $25-30 per car- no limit on how many passengers.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals UC: free admission

936 S 200 E, Orem: 100,000 lights set to music

Adam says to be sure to hit the Fibernet building in Orem. The building is just East of the University Mall-they’ve added even more lights this year!

 

Salt Lake County:

5-10pm: The Lights At Temple Square-of course, the Grand MamaJama of all holiday lights is the heart-stopping display at Temple Square.  Open seven days a week through December 31, admission is free.  Be sure to stop by the reflecting pool.

6-9pm: Candlelight Christmas at This Is The Place State Park-discover the warm glow of a pioneer Christmas with dancing, crafts and a visit with Father Christmas.  Dude.  Hardcore…  Tickets: adults $11, kids $8, children under 2 free.  Runs December 8-27 Monday through Saturday, closed 24-25th.

5:30-9pm: Zoo Lights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo-I’m seriously considering putting sunglasses on the kids this year, it’s that wildly colored and bright.  Open through December 31st, tickets are $4-6 for members, and $7-5 for non-members.

5-11pm: Light Up The Night At The Gateway Mall-hundreds of thousands of lights. including a wildly rotating color wheel on their gigantic Christmas Tree.  Free admission, open through January 2, 2018.

Noon-6pm: Gallivan Center Ice Skating Rink and Light Display-gorgeous neon splashes of color all over the Gallivan Center, plus ice skating and a fire barrel! Check here for sudden closures or schedule changes.  Admission to see the lights is free, ice rink is a small fee.

5-10pm: The Lights At Gardner Village-there’s free admission and Elf Hunts!  Runs through December 31.

Dusk to 11pm: The “Tree Of Life” is a beautiful addition to the Draper City Park–thousands of white lights that have created kind of a draw for spiritual seekers to the tree.  Draper City Park, 12500 South 1300 East.

5:30-11pm: Christmas in Color – a high-tech animated display from the group that creates the Midway Ice Castles. $20 per car on weekdays, $25 on weekends. (No limit to how many per car.) Salt Lake County Equestrian Park, 11161 s 2200 W, South Jordan.

 

frosty

The Plucky Non-Professionals SLC: free admission

Christmas Street: 5400 South 3200 West, Salt Lake City.  Best seen on foot.

Christmas Street Sugarhouse: the oldest neighborhood to claim the title here in Utah. Glen Arbor St, Salt Lake City

Christenson & Hymas Light Display: tune your radio to 99.5 for the music that goes with the show. 11693 S. 700 E., Draper

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland: something new goes up every night, slow for a moment and Frosty or one of his kids will trot over to hand you a candy cane. 805 E 18th Ave, Salt Lake City

1528 W 8740 S, West Jordan:

Lights on Wakefield: if you’d like to donate, they’re raising money for the Mascot Miracles Foundation (pediatric cancer) tune your radio to 87.9fm. 6388 S. Wakefield Way (5885 W.)

 

Toole County: 

6-9pm: Clark Historic Farm, live nativity and luminary walk.  Tickets $2 per person, or $1 with food donation.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals TC: free admission

Lights on 1310: Sunday-Thursday 6-10pm, Friday-Saturday 6-11pm

Wait!  There’s more from the Toole Transcript here.

 

 

Davis County:

Dusk-11pm: Layton City Lights In The Park-free admission, open through January 1.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals DC: free admission.

1600 S 1100 W, Syracuse: 25 years of light display madness

2413 N 2100 W, Clinton:

1385 S 2600 W, Syracuse:

354 E 200 S, Clearfield

223 N 1400 W, Clearfield: Christmas lights dance to the music, set your channel to 93.7fm

The Lights On Sherwood Drive: huge display in Kaysville – 5:30-10pm

 

Weber County:

5-9pm: Ogden’s Christmas Village-free admission, meet with Santa, take a tour of the homes.  Crafts, photos with Santa and food available for sale.  Runs through December 31.

 

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals WC: free admission

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Exeter Dr, Morgan: admission is free, but they’re asking for donations for Primary Children’s Medical Center if you’re so inclined.

 

Box Elder County:

5-10pm: Fantasy At The Bay, Willard Bay State Park-my kids LOVE this wonderful display.   Take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the lights for free, but PLEASE tip the driver–this sweet man offers the service for free because he doesn’t want any child disappointed.  Admission is 50% off on Wednesdays, and get a $1.00 off coupon here.  It’s worth the drive.  Open through December 31, seven days a week.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals BEC: free admission:

The Hooper Holiday House:  The Goodrich family is proud to invite you, turn the radio to 90.5 for musical accompaniment.

Tremonton-102 S Tremont St: lights synchronized to music, 5:30-11pm

 

Heading down south?

St. George has a huge collection of Holiday light displays, and the ambitious Braden with HedgeHog Electric compiled them all for you–it’s part of a fundraising drive for the Southwest Utah Habitat For Humanity.  You can find that excellent Holiday map here.

The St. George LDS Temple’s light display is back and exceptionally beautiful this year. Details here.

 

Okay, seriously, I can no longer feel my fingers.  I’ve been writing this post for the last 5 hours.  Yet, there are more! Be sure to check here for more enthusiastic amateurs.  There’s bound to be a house or two near you.  I’m sure that there’s great places I’ve missed.  Please add your two cents in a comment below.  C’mon!  It’s for the children…

Teaching Kids To Love Reading

Teaching Kids To Love Reading.

I was the kid who got in trouble for hiding under my blanket with a flashlight and reading until a ridiculous hour. So I was shocked when our kiddos did not take to reading as enthusiastically as I did.

Our eight-year-old Zoe, for instance… I took her to our cool little neighborhood library to sign up for their summer reading program. She paused at the door, staring at me with a suspicious squint.

Zoe: “Why are we here?”

Me: “We’re signing up for the summer reading program! They have these great prizes, like-”

Zoe: “I was told there would be doughnuts.”

Me: “I will get you a doughnut after we sign up.”

Zoe: “How many doughnuts?”

Me: “What?”

Zoe: (patiently) “How many doughnuts do I get to eat per book?”

This is where my cunning culinary bribe fell through. I couldn’t feed this kid enough baked goods to get her through a single multi-chapter book. Plus, I would be the size of a planet by the end of summer because there’s no way I can hold out if she’s stuffing chocolate crullers down her throat.

Nothing was working until I changed my approach.

So, here’s what I’ve learned this summer: every child has their own way. It’s my job to find the path that gets each of my Littles enthusiastic about books. Here are some different thoughts on amazing books and how to invest your little people.

 

Teaching Kids To Love Reading

  1. What are they interested in? So, my 8-year-old Zoe is crazed about Minecraft. I immediately ordered 3-4 books about Minecraft on Amazon.com. I didn’t pay attention: the fonts in the books varied, they were oddly styled and hard to read. They just made her more frustrated. So we started with some of the “New World” instructions on her iPad. We read about diamond armor and the Ender Dragon. Then, we graduated into Minecraft technique posts. I read a paragraph, she read a paragraph. We were reading together… and yeah, now she’s into the Friendly Creeper Diaries.
  2. You Read To Me, I’ll Read To You: It’s actually the name of a book series, but it was an “Oh, duh!” moment for me. We always read together when Zoe was little, but now that she’s in second grade, I’d just intended to check off the books she’d read on her homework list. What is wrong with me? This is an age where she actually wants to hang with me. And it’s not even just her reading to me- it’s reading back and forth, asking questions about the story and laughing at silly things.
  3. Make It Fun: Once again, this one took me by surprise. What do you mean, reading isn’t fun? So we came up with some ideas. This summer, we’re reading in our trampoline tent dome (Editor’s note: you can find an easy DIY video for this epic little creation here.) We acted out all the dialogue in different accents. (Zoe is very proud of her Cockney accent.) We’ve listened to audiobooks together to get her excited, then re-read the book together. We’ve created her own books- writing out different stories with her clever illustrations. There are easy ready-made books here to use to create your own classics.

 

Here’s one of my favorite graphic novel kits. One of my favorite experiences with the twin’s 7th-grade class was creating their own graphic novels. It’s not particularly expensive and the fun of watching these kids collaborate and create together is one of my most tender memories. They created a super-hero with autism, who could move back and forth in time to solve crimes because, “For kids with autism,” said their classmate Jerry, “it’s hard for us to understand time anyway.”

The Best Books For Infants and Toddlers: Great Starts

Best Books For Children Ages 5-9

Best Books For Pre-Teens – It’s Not Too Late!

 

What has worked with your kiddos? What made them finally want to learn to love reading? Share! Discuss! We all need new tips and tricks.

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

 

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.

Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Recipe. This is the veggie dish that even your kids will eat.

First: did you know it’s spelled “Brussels?” I have misspelling this vegetable forever! Also, these brussels sprouts are freaking delicious. This is a tasty side dish for Easter dinner. (BTW: Cooking with Todd and the Toddler has an epic step-by-step recipe for Roasted Leg of Lamb for Easter that’s unbelievably tasty, find it here.)

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.

Shows

A Digital Tour of Todd’s Creepy Classifieds – 4.1.20

A Digital Tour of Todd’s Creepy Classifieds.

On today’s virtual tour of Todd’s Classifieds, we introduce you to a man who will either sell you the truck running boards, or you can have them free if you beat him in a game of cornhole. You know, with beanbags? Plus, power shags and uncomfortably accurate light fixtures.

The Filthy Truth the Classifieds Don’t Want You to Know! 2.19.20

It’s like one of those click-bait headlines on the news… “The filthy truth the classifieds don’t want you to know!” But really, there’s some enterprising souls who’ll try to sell anything. An. Ee. Thing. We’ve all gone through the classifieds, trying to find a couple of tires or maybe a cd collection. But the true horrors of classified ads, the seedy underbelly? There’s some really troubling stuff, a chunk of concrete, anyone? A mysterious bag of what we are pretty sure is just garbage? It gets worse.

BTW: ready for more classifieds weirdness?

 

Also, we’re losing our edge, people! Utah is not the “least sinful state” in the nation. What happened here? I’m very disappointed in all of us. What state is the most sinful? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you were correctly guessing Nevada, too.

 

The Boy Scouts of America have filed for bankruptcy. The Todd, as an Eagle Scout by the age of 14 (with palms!) this is a sad day. But their reason for filing may not be what you expected.

 

There’s all kinds of stories about people calling 911 for utterly ridiculous reasons. But what if:

  1. You’re a mom of 5, including an infant.
  2. Your breast milk has decided to dry up.
  3. It’s 2:30 am and your poor little guy is wailing.
  4. No one you know will answer their phone.

What happens next is beautiful.

 

The Broom Stands Alone – 2.12.20

The broom stands alone. So you’ve heard about the rumor that NASA claimed the axis of the earth is perfectly positioned so that here in North America, we’re balanced so well that a broom will stand on its own? That’s ridiculous. Right?

Right?

Imagine searching for your birth father, who your mother had met in Guatemala, you moved to Utah, you took a DNA test, and… this is the weirdest, most wonderful story of synchronicity ever.

 

So you’re on a cruise, enjoying the buffet, minding your own business and suddenly EVERY port on the planet decides you’re a risk for Coronavirus. The ship gets turned away from port after port, even though no one has actually tested positive for Coronavirus on the ship. One passenger from Utah is joking that she’s spending her time learning how to fold towels into little swans. A cruise ship staple, of course.

 

 

Rogue Astronomers. Wearing Chaps. – 2.5.20

Rogue Astronomers. Wearing Chaps. Or … what happens when the Fun Police start charging up to $65 for a permit to – gasp! – stargaze in a state park. What happens to these gentle amateur star enthusiasts?

 

On the menu today: the Todd’s over-baked pork ribs. Blasphemy, you say? You will never taste a more tender, non-greasy rib in your culinary existence.

Looking for more tasty pork ideas? May I recommend the Todd’s Roast Pork Leg with Apple Cider Glaze? It is spectacular.

 

Can you believe diabetic patients here in Utah can pay up to $1,000 A MONTH for their insulin? This is even having insurance, in many cases. The Utah Legislative session is looking at a bill to cap insulin costs like the bill that passed successfully in Colorado. If this passes, co-pays would be no more than $30 a month. Fingers crossed…

 

Who needs a glorious Nothing Bundt Cake bestowed upon them? Who do you want to nominate? We’re hand-delivering Nothing Bundt Cakes from April’s store in Sandy, Utah. Send your nomination to: toddanderinshow@gmail.com or comment here. In the month of love, let’s show some in the form of cream cheese frosting.

Welcome to the Baby-Making Hotel – 1.29.20

We all like quirky Valentine’s Day promotions, but welcome to the baby-making hotel – an entirely new level of WOW. Book for a “nooner” at the Zed Hotel on Valentine’s Day, and if you happen to end up in the family way from your visit, they’ll reward you with a free hotel stay every year. Perhaps I’m merely paranoid, but that seems like it’s just inviting more trouble.

Maybe you already have the baby and don’t need the baby-making hotel. Perhaps you’re looking for something special … something sweet, and unique for a daddy-daughter date. Uh … then maybe the Todd is not your best example. But our Zoe had fun, at least.

Are you looking for some new ideas for DDD night? Have a look at these ideas.

 

Never underestimate the ingenuity of a gamer. A teenager in Salt Lake City playing with a friend in England heard him go into a seizure on her headset, and managed to save his life in a completely ingenious way. Imagine a gamer 5,000 miles away knowing your son was having a seizure before you did!

 

Do you have a picture of yourself you go back to when you need a mood boost? One where you’re absolutely gorgeous? If not honey, it’s time. Bonnie’s Joy Pinups re-creates you into a luscious, pouting vixen for a photo series you’ll gloat over for the rest of your life. Photographer Alyssa Chambers insists that “You will never be more beautiful than you are now.” Don’t wait to lose twenty pounds, or whatever else has you putting this off – call her now. Let Alyssa explain the process. The women I’ve spoken to after the experience were stunned to realize how liberating, how empowering it was. Need another little push? Alyssa’s discounting her sitting fee from $300 down to $50 – nonrefundable – plus a $100 credit toward your photo package. Find out more info here.

You can contact Alyssa at 801.604.9398 or follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

Bring the Joy: Because Nothing Makes You Happier Than Nothing Bundt Cakes

Bring the Joy: Because Nothing Makes You Happier Than Nothing Bundt Cakes. Starting this new decade was trickier than I thought. 2020 opened up with lots of turmoil, and if you’ve got someone in your life who’s struggling, sometimes a small gesture of kindness can make all the difference.

(Image credit: Nothing Bundt Cakes/Sandy)

I’m thinking a glorious Nothing Bundt Cake from the Sandy, Utah store – draped with cream cheese frosting is a great start. So … maybe your cubicle buddy is having a hard time, your best friend, a neighbor. Send us their story – please include contact information, email, or a phone number, please – to toddanderinshow@gmail.com. We’ll be personally delivering a gorgeous cake to a new winner each week.

Look what a nice person you are!

 

BTW: Did you know you can stop by the Nothing Bundt Cakes Sandy store and mention that you know us, Todd and Erin, and they’ll give you a free Bundlet when you buy one? (I recognize this means you have to admit you – ugh – know us, but I think a free Bundlet is worth it.) You’ll find this shop of delights at 10389 South State Street in Sandy. Please say “Hi!” to April for us, won’t you?

 

Also on today’s podcast…

In every relationship, there is a spender and a saver. The Todd attempted to purchase a steel shipping container because “It had a cool robot in it,” along with 300 bottles of off-brand perfume, a wonky-looking construction generator, and sixteen rusty dutch overs. And that was just this week. Who’s the spender and who’s the saver in your household?

Plus! The incredible story of a woman in her thirties who agreed to foster six brothers “for the weekend,” and just last week got to adopt them all. It’s gorgeous and wonderful and you’re going to cry. Totally. But you’ll smile and be just a bit happier because of it.

 

Go for “Good Enough” this Holiday! – 12.17.19

Go for “Good Enough” this Holiday!  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to make this a great holiday, Dr. Julie Hanks is here to teach us how to “shoot for the middle.”

BTW: did you miss Dr. Hanks’s excellent advice on raising a non-greedy kid during the holidays? Find that here.

Also, re-gifting, do you do it? We have a sort of heartwarming charity story that ends up being kind of… huh?

And fear not! You have time to decorate with the Todd’s Sixty Second Christmas Tree.

BTW: looking for more Christmas crafts? Here’s a guide for how many lights you actually need on that tree – at least to avoid the midnight run to Home Depot – and a wealth of possibilities if you’d like a tree, without having to actually drag a giant pine through your door, the No-tree Christmas tree decor.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Revisited – 12.13.19

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” revisited. There was a huge fuss over the old holiday tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” claiming it was a sinister homage to sexual harassment. Another group of radio stations is banning the song this year, but maybe the problem isn’t the song… it’s your point of view.

 

I still don’t think the Todd understands the concept of Elf on the Shelf, but if you read this, maybe you’ll agree that I don’t, either.

 

Also! Why glitter is killing the planet, revenge on the porch pirates and the sweetest adoption story of the decade. Seriously.

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice & Todd Still Doesn’t Get Elf on the Shelf – 12.10.19

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice & Todd Still Doesn’t Get Elf on the Shelf.

Ever have one of those tasty culinary experiments that was so yummy you vowed to cook it every week for the rest of your life? We felt that way about the Todd’s New Orleans Red Beans & Rice. We’d just been to the Big Easy to hang out with my girlfriend Lynda for St. Patrick’s Day and we were missing it already. That was two years ago. He made it again today, and it’s just as tasty as I remembered.

New Orleans Red Beans & Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups long grain white rice

Now follow along with the Todd as he walks you through the directions. Easy peasy!

  1. Rinse beans, and then soak in a large pot of water overnight.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, bell pepper, garlic, and celery in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Rinse beans, and transfer to a large pot with 6 cups water. Stir cooked vegetables into beans. Season with bay leaves, cayenne pepper, thyme, sage, parsley, and Cajun seasoning. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Stir sausage into beans, and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the rice. In a saucepan, bring water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve beans over steamed white rice.

BTW: Looking for more cold weather hearty meals? Try Todd’s Tasty Home Style Chili, the recipe’s here. A spectacular-looking French Onion Soup recipe is here – who knew soup could be so dramatic?

Also! The Todd is still playing with those blasted elves every day, but I don’t think he’s getting the concept yet.

 

(screengrab courtesy of Bobby Lee)

We’d also like to introduce you to pigeons. Wearing little red cowboy hats. I’m not making this up.

I Don’t Think Todd Understands Elf on the Shelf – 12.6.19

I Don’t Think Todd Understands Elf on the Shelf.

Here’s the hostess gift no one else will think of: scented logs for the fireplace. Not cinnamon, it’s … think of your favorite greasy fast food. And they smell just like it.

How to cook a fresh pork leg for Christmas dinner – this is one of my favorite videos, shot during the lovely “Cooking with Todd and the Toddler” series. Sniff … she was so cute then. So tiny. So malleable.

 

BTW … Still trying to figure out how many lights you need for the Christmas Tree? Here’s our handy guide.

Don’t want a gigantic pine but you want some kind of a Christmas Tree? So many lovely DIY suggestions here.