by Melanie

ABCs of Me

March 12, 2015 in Junk Drawer by Melanie


Just for fun and because I’m a huge fan of lists, I’m going to share a little bit about me today in an ABC way. I’m pretty sure this list was one of those blog tag games that went around years ago when everyone had a blog. Then we all got on Facebook instead, and family blogs kind of disappeared… but I miss them. So please feel free to start up your family blog again and send me a link!

Addictions: kissing my husband… seriously can not get enough. Also Cadburry Mini eggs which we buy in “6-girls-live-in-this-house” size.

Bed size: king. We tried sleeping in a queen for a few months, and it made the search for a new king go even faster.

Chore you hate: cleaning. Oh wait, a specific cleaning chore? So many to choose from… scrubbing tubs and showers. Blah.

Dogs or cats: meh, not a pet person, but I love that there are neighborhood cats that hunt the mice in the field behind my house.

Essential start of your day: kissing my husband (see Addictions)


Favorite color: red, like a deep, dark red/burgundy, not fire engine red

Gold or silver: gold, but it’s not like I’m going to say no to jewelry

Height: 5′ 11″ since I was 15, and I always thought I was cheated out of that last inch. I mean, if you’re going to be freakishly tall (I was 5′ 9″ when I was 11 years old), why stop just an inch shy of 6 feet?

Instruments you play: Do vocal chords count? piano, string bass (I was even in a jazz band once), I know how to play violin but not well, and I attempted to play the tenor sax one summer but failed miserably

Job titles you’ve had: receptionist, data entry robot, call center punching bag, medical transcriptionist/editor, and currently mom-chauffeur-cheerleader-nurse-counselor-chef-referee-maid-owie kisser-bedtime story reader-and chief tucker inner

Keepsake: I’m on a quest to collect every Disneyland button this year. Not sure how I’m going to convince the cast member I was “Just Engaged” and “Just Married” AND celebrating my anniversary…


Live: I live in Utah where I love that we have 4 seasons… even if Mother Nature is completely bipolar. Where I grew up in Arizona we had 2 seasons: hot and oh-my-goodness-why-do-we-live-here HOT.

Mom’s name: Marilyn – I’ve always loved it, she’s always hated it. We were going to use it for Babs’ middle name, but my mom really didn’t want us to do that to a kid, so we just used the Lyn part.

Nickname: NOT Mel – I really, really hate being called Mel. My dad is the king of nicknames, and I’m pretty sure he hardly ever actually called me Melanie – the closest he got was melba toast, which was also not a favorite. Spiedra-umbeda-umbeda (repeated times infinity) was probably the most common. Where did that come from? I have no idea.

Overnight hospital stays: For myself only when I’ve had babies. But I stayed with Babs when she had her hip surgeries, watching Aladdin and the Ducktales Movie over and over again. That was the first time I realized they’re pretty much the same movie. And I may have stayed with Steve when he had his appendix removed – he’s not a fan of hospitals.

Pet peeve: when I’m tired and cranky, just about everything… But when I’m being more reasonable, not quite as many. I really hate loud chewing – blech. And when people stop in the middle of walkways blocking everyone else who is trying to get through.

Quote from a Movie: We quote movies constantly around here. There was a time when we couldn’t get through a meal without reciting the entire Lego Movie. When we were dating, I thought Steve and I were so cute to quote “I love you back” from While You Were Sleeping. My latest fave is “I am not fast” from Big Hero 6 – because it’s so, so true.


Right or left-handed: right, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to take pictures with my left hand while being my own hand model with my right

Siblings: 3 brothers and 2 sisters. They are my best friends. Most of them went and got married and gave me even more awesome siblings! We’re all going to Disneyland together next week and I can hardly wait!!!

Time you wake up: when I’m being good – 5 am, when I sleep through  my alarm – 6:27 when Steve’s alarm goes off

Uncertainty: I wonder if I’m teaching my kids enough and preparing them enough to succeed in life

Vegetables you Dislike: bell peppers and eggplant – ew

What makes you run late: When I don’t want to stop what I’m doing. And losing my keys. all. the. time.

X-rays you’ve had done: um… I can’t think of any, although I think I broke my ankle once when I tripped over some laundry I was carrying and fell down the stairs. I went to the doctor so I could get an x-ray, and he wouldn’t take one! He said it was just a sprain, but it took a year to heal. Is that normal?

Yummy food you make: everything! Seriously, I’m a pretty awesome cook. Ok, every once in awhile we try out something that no one wants to eat, but mostly we have ridiculously delicious food around here.


Zoo animal: giraffe – just because.

Now choose a letter and tell me something about you! Bonus points if you do the whole list on your blog and send me the link!

by Melanie

Are you prepared for an emergency?

September 9, 2014 in Junk Drawer, Mailbox by Melanie

Last night I had just fallen asleep when a HUGE boom woke me up. Heart racing, wide awake, I watched an AMAZING light show put on by Mother Nature while I tried to go back to sleep. Steve also woke up at the loud boom, jumped up from the bed and took a minute to realize he wasn’t back in Iraq and didn’t have to get to a bomb shelter.

In the morning I found out we had missed all of the excitement. The HUGE bang preceded the lightning that struck the field behind a few friends’ homes and started a fire. We have really wonderful neighbors who did everything they could to help – from calling 911, to grabbing hoses and working to put out the fire, and even taking care of the kids from the houses closest to the fire until it was safe for them to go back home.

Way too much excitement for the middle of the night! One of the fire trucks who responded to the call even lost control on a turn and drove through a few front yards, tearing up the landscaping before regaining control. Steve and I slept through all of it!


As we were getting ready this morning we talked about our reactions to our midnight wake-up call and what we would have done in an actual emergency. Our kids generally know what to do in case of a fire thanks to some unplanned fire drills in the wee hours of the morning, but we haven’t talked with them about any other kind of emergency. Our food storage looks a little more like Mother Hubbard’s cupboard than a well stocked supply. Our 72-hour kits are woefully sparse after we got rid of all of the expired food and haven’t replaced it yet.

Basically we are NOT ready for an emergency.


Luckily for me September is National Preparedness Month! We’re “celebrating” by working on getting our 72-hour kits fixed up.

I know the basics… food, water, first aid, but I want to be prepared in case of emergency. That’s what the kit is for after all. So I’ve been searching for answers and compiling a list of what I need to put in a very well-stocked 72-hour kit. Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • water – 1 gallon per person per day
  • hand crank radio or battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • whistle to signal for help
  • dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • baby wipes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • wrench or pliers to turn off electricity
  • plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • manual can opener for food
  • lighter, waterproof matches
  • emergency blanket
  • clothes, especially cold weather gear
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • soap – dish soap works as hand soap, shampoo, for washing wounds, and washing dishes
  • deodorant
  • medications
  • eye glasses, contact lenses and supplies
  • diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, diaper rash ointment
  • feminine supplies
  • pet food and extra water for your pet
  • water purifier/bleach
  • mess kits
  • books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
  • identification for children, photos and emergency numbers of family members
  • cell phone, charger/solar charger
  • Important family documents in a waterproof, portable container
  • cash
  • food, non-perishable and portable

What am I missing? What do you have in your 72-hour emergency kits?

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone else put together a comprehensive emergency kit for you… and you didn’t have to pay a dime??? This could be the day that dream comes true.

Kristina at Mother’s Niche and some other fabulous bloggers and I have all gotten together with Nitro-Pak to talk about Emergency Preparedness AND give away 3 amazing prizes. And believe me, if you want to be prepared, you WANT these prizes!

Nitro-Pak is a premium Emergency Preparedness company. Featured in magazines and newspapers as well as numerous radio and television programs, Nitro-Pak has been recognized as one of the leading authorities in on emergency preparedness and awarded the highest rating a business can be awarded. Nitro-Pak provides high quality and unique products along with excellent customer service.

Now a little more about the THREE amazing prizes they are generously giving away.

72 hour kitExecutive 72-hour kit: Nitro-Pak was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal “Catalog Critic” article that selected their Executive 72 Hour Kit as the “Best Overall” kit for completeness and best design compared to a host of other competitor kits. Click here to see what is included.


1monthMountain House 1 Month Entree Reserve. This one month entree reserve from Mountain House is the perfect unit for those wanting to prepare of a short-term emergency.  Everyday you will have a delicious entree for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This unit has 12 different meal choices to provide you with plenty of variety.  With a 10+ year shelf life you can rest assured that when disaster strikes and you need good nutritious food, this unit will be ready!

6monthMountain House 6 Month Supply of Entrees: For those desiring a 6 month supply of Mountain House gourmet tasting foods for one person, this awesome unit was made for you. We included some of every main course entree available. Now you and your family can enjoy fast, delicious tasting meals anytime with no preparation hassles or cooking! Just add water…and eat! We call it ‘no-brainer’ food storage. All Mountain House #10 canned freeze-dried foods have a 30 YEAR Shelf-Life… the LONGEST of ANY storable foods!  No other dehydrated or freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf-life than Mountain House.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It’s time to get ready for an emergency! What is the next step for you?


by Melanie

Summer Vacation!

June 9, 2014 in Junk Drawer by Melanie

Hooray for summer vacation! We spent a week just playing and enjoying the free time after the end-of-the-school-year craziness. It was heavenly. Now we’re headed off to camp for a week and then to Grandma’s for a week after that. I love summer vacation!

We won’t be having any new adventures at Forty Eighteen for the next week or so, so check out a few of our past adventures in the meantime.

First of all, whip up a batch of this sensational salsa. It only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes, and you will love every bite.


We’re working on improving our Family Home Evenings this summer. These are 40 lesson ideas and resources we’re using.


I hate heating up the house in the summer, so we eat lots of salads – all kinds. This chicken taco pasta salad is perfect!


Simple is the theme of this BBQ, and the whole menu is designed to help you spend less time cooking and more time enjoying.


With all that extra time, you should be sure to make these whole wheat pancakes with caramel syrup at least once… a week. They are that good.


Don’t want your kids to spend the entire summer in front of the TV? Check out my simple screen-time solution.


Are we the only ones who seem to get summer colds? If you find yourself a little under the weather, try this chicken soup and feel better soon.


Don’t forget to document all of your summer fun! Do you have a fancy camera you don’t know how to use? See how I am finally learning to use mine!


Happy summer vacation! We’ll see you soon!

by Melanie

40 Things About Me

January 18, 2014 in Junk Drawer by Melanie

I thought it would be kind of fun for the first EVER installment of 40 Things to be 40 things you may not know about me. Just a little chance to get to know me better. So here it is:


About Yours Truly

  1. MeI grew up in a family with 3 girls and 3 boys – just like the Brady Bunch! except we weren’t a blended family…
  2. I’m the oldest girl, and therefore considered myself practically the oldest kid in the family (although I did love having an older brother)
  3. My oldest daughter is closer in age to my youngest brother than I am
  4. I used to tell people my older brother and I were twins like Luke and Leia because I wished it was true
  5. I asked my mom to do my hair like Princess Leia when I was in first grade… because I was super cool
  6. I own every Star Wars movie… because I am still super cool
  7. I’m kind of claustrophobic. If I have anything over my face – including a blanket or even my husband’s shoulder when he hugs me – I think I’m going to suffocate and die
  8. I’m a little bit scared of sleeping bags
  9. Because they could kill me
  10. I hate sleeping. There is so much I would rather do with that time. I have to force myself to go to bed every night
  11. Plus, the blankets are dangerous and I could die…
  12. I’m a thrill ride junkie and dream of riding every awesome roller coaster in my lifetime
  13. So far, The Hulk at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is the best roller coaster I’ve ever ridden
  14. Even though it doesn’t have a lot of thrill rides, Disneyland is my favorite theme park
  15. I have been to Disneyland more times than I can count
  16. When I was 13, I sang my way around Disney MGM Studios so someone would “discover” me and want me to star in a Disney movie
  17. It didn’t work
  18. We’re only in our 30s, but my husband and I already have our retirement plan all figured out
  19. We’re going to retire to Disneyland – he’ll be a security guard like the guy who asks all the costumed kids for their autographs, and I’ll work in the baby center with the nursing moms
  20. I’m the same age as Katie Holmes, but I never once dreamed of marrying Tom Cruise. I DID, however, have a major crush on Pacey Witter
  21. I can sing any jingle or TV theme song from my childhood
  22. I am a Netflix junkie and tend to have my latest show on in the background whenever I’m on my laptop
  23. I’m on my laptop A. LOT.
  24. I love making lists and planning things.
  25. I have been known to spend a day doing nothing on my to-do list and then adding what I actually did to the list so I can cross something off
  26. I was the bass player in a jazz band
  27. I *hate* doing hair. When I was younger and girls were having hair parties, I would always offer my hair to be played with so I didn’t have to play with anyone else’s
  28. I have 5 long-haired daughters (see above)
  29. Sometimes I tell my kids to clean their rooms just so I can have some peace and quiet. I know they’ll be entertained for hours with the stuff they just discovered under the mess
  30. I don’t pre-wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher
  31. I’m great at keeping our laundry clean – and that’s where my greatness ends
  32. Right now there’s a pile of clean laundry on my couch that needs to be folded
  33. I’m on my laptop instead of folding them
  34. I love old movies, especially musicals
  35. I like going to sporting events but HATE watching sports on TV
  36. I really don’t watch TV very much
  37. Except Netflix, but I don’t really count that ‘cuz it’s on my laptop, not a TV…duh
  38. My favorite food is steak
  39. My favorite restaurant is Texas Roadhouse
  40. I drive a minivan and I’m okay with that

Tell me something about you!

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