Many years ago, when ClayGuy was probably about 3 or 4, he asked if he could have some butter (okay, technically, it was I Can't Believe It's Not Butter). Being the ever-brilliant mom that I am, I said,

"No. You have to have it on something."

To which he replied,

"Can I have it on a spoon?"


PG Key - a Review

In this day and age, parents really can't afford to be without parental controls for their kids. Even the best of children can stumble onto sites that you'd rather they didn't; it's just the nature of the Internet. I've used a couple of different products and recently had the opportunity to review PG Key.

PG Key looks like a red USB flash drive. You just pop the PG Key into an available USB slot and follow the instructions to install and activate the program. Some of the things you can do with PG Key:

  • control the amount of time spent on the computer
  • provide a safe, filtered search page
  • block undesirable words, phrases, and sites
  • receive activity notifications
  • see both sides of chat and email conversations
  • keep track of user names and passwords
  • update your settings any time from another computer
  • review all of your child's activity

While many of these features and typical fare for a filtering program, I really like the Activity Tracking. With this, you can quickly and easily review all of your child's recent Internet activity. In the settings, you determine how often you want PG Key to take a screenshot. This is recorded like a stop-motion video. You'll be able to see every page your child has visited.

Your child will only have access to the computer when PG Key is plugged in. If your child isn't allowed on the computer for a certain period of time, you can remove PG Key and he or she will be unable to get on. On our desktop, my husband and I have password-protected accounts and our boys have non-password accounts. If I take out the PG Key, neither of them can access anything on the computer. I made it very clear that they are not allowed to remove the PG Key or take it anywhere to prevent each other from having computer access.

The controls were a little confusing at first, as some are accessed by clicking on the PG Key in your system tray, while others are available when you log in online. I wouldn't say that it's hard, I just had to look around a little bit to find some settings.

I was also disappointed that the only time controls limit the total amount of time per day for each user. With the program I was using prior to this review, you could set the time of day for each day of the week, which is a much better option for our family. Hopefully that's a change they can make in future versions.

There is no annual or monthly fee to use PG Key. You just need one for each computer. But you can monitor multiple users on a single computer. So once you've made your initial purchase ($49.95 retail), you're set. You can buy PG Key online or check their store locator for a local retail store. They'll also let you try the product out with their free trial.

You can also go here to check out other reviews of PG Key.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I was provided a free PG Key to review. The opinions stated here are my own.


Yuck - a Review

Just to set the record straight, Yuck is a noun, not a verb. So this is not a review that's yucky. It's a review of Yuck from the folks at Buckets-O-Fun.

So here's the short review: my two teenage boys loved this stuff! They played with it for an hour and a half! The first time.

And the long version: We received a sample pack, so there were small portions of each of four types of Yuck; Chunky Yuck, Snowy Yuck, Saucy Yuck, and Sticky Yuck. What you start with is some dry stuff resembling rock salt, sugar, or powder. You place the Yuck into a bowl (or wading pool) and add some water (don't worry - they'll tell you how much to add). It absorbs the water and becomes some wild and crazy polymer substance that is loads of fun to play around with. It's a blast for most ages, although I wouldn't recommend it for kids who like to put everything in their mouths.

Each product includes instructions for mixing, as well as a variety of ideas for fun and games. There is also information for mixing each product in a scientific manner as you go through the steps. I imagine most kids could probably come up with a bunch more ideas for their Yuck.

We started with Chunky Yuck because it has a longer absorption time. We ended up with a big bowl of resembling jello-y ice cubes. Well, not cubes, but blocky-shaped pieces. According to the packaging, Chunky Yuck is great fun for hydrating in a wading pool and you can hide things in it for kids to find, wrestle in it, or other such things. Personally, I'm thinking you could even lay in it in the summer and just chill.

Next up, we mixed up Sticky Yuck. Emphasis on the word sticky. Once you're in it, you're not sure you'll ever get out. One son loved it, the other one preferred to play with other Yucks.



The much-anticipated Snowy Yuck was mixed next.

water being poured into Snowy Yuck

This stuff is amazing - it looks exactly like snow. But it's not cold, nor does it melt. I was thinking this could be really fun for some sort of centerpiece at Christmas. They recommend using this one in a wading pool for similar games as with the Chunky Yuck. You could also put it down on a Slip-N-Slide™ for some extra slippery sliding. Great way to have a Christmas in July party.

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Last, we mixed up the batch of Saucy Yuck, which gives you some Yucky fun in the consistency of applesauce. They recommended using Saucy Yuck in water balloons or on the Slip-N-Slide™. You can also purchase a Yuckooza (Yuck accessory) with which to shoot your Saucy Yuck at friends and family.

If plain old white Yuck doesn't cut it, you can also purchase tints to add for someone colorful Yuck fun. Yuck comes in one, five, and fifty pound packages. The one pound packages range from $16-20. You can check the website for the larger amounts. If you'd like to try each one to get a Yucky feel for them, you can request a sample packet. They'll send one out per individual/organization. Then you can decide just which Yuck is right for you.

While you're at the site, be sure to take a look at the other terrific things Buckets-O-Fun carries. Things like inflatable Belly Bumpers and Mammoth Beach Balls or perhaps water balloon launchers and Sqwistles.

My high school boys thought Yuck rocked! They're very excited to order some more.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample packet of Yuck to review. The opinions stated here are my own.

Not to worry - Yuck is a non-toxic, water-based product. They all clean up with warm water, and in the case of Sticky Yuck, a little patience and some paper towels.

You can check out others TOS Crew members' experience with Yuck here.


Wordless Wednesday - Grapefruit Float

grapefruit float

For more wordlessness, check out Gabriel's blog and the Wordless Wednesday hub.


Welcome to the Neighborhood

While outside photographing our backyard deer a couple of weeks ago, I met our new neighbor. I will call her Denise. Even though that's not her name. But I have no permission to use her real name out here in the blogosphere.

Anywho. I met our new neighbor and she seems quite nice. We chatted for awhile before heading back to our regularly scheduled days. Since then, I've been thinking that I should do something nice to welcome her to the neighborhood. After all, that's the neighborly thing to do, right? And she's the newest person in the neighborhood next to my own family.


But what do I do? Back when, you could take someone a plate of cookies or perhaps a homemade loaf of bread with a jar of jam. But then I think,

What if she's gluten intolerant?

What if she's on a sugar-less diet?

What if she has soy allergies?

So now what am I supposed to do? I don't know her well enough to know her tastes in decorating. I can't exactly get her a housewarming gift. Even a gift card to a local restaurant might be nice, especially during all the busyness of a move. But then we're back to the previous questions, and then some.

What if she doesn't like Chipotle? Maybe even can't stand cilantro (horrors!).

What if she doesn't care to support national chains?

What if she only eats raw?

Good grief! When did it become so difficult to offer a gift to a new neighbor? Why do our lives have to be SO complicated? I'm not trying to make light of people's health, but this is rather frustrating.


Wordless Wednesday - Autumn Colors

fall colors-3

fall colors-2

fall colors-1

To see what others aren't saying, check out the Wordless Wednesday hub and Gabriel's blog.



Warning: this post has a ridiculously large number of photos.

This past week has had some spontaneous fun. We started with a last-minute trip to Estes Park to meet our friends from South Dakota who were going to camp at Rocky Mountain National Park. Because it was such a last-minute plan, John could only take about a day and a half off, so we had just under 24 hours in Estes, but we made the most of it. It was also John's birthday, so he got to have it off and enjoy himself in the mountains.

Wandered around the beautiful, historic Stanley Hotel.
the stanley

the stanley - front porch

F.O. Stanley created the Stanley Steamer
stanley sign

stanley steamer

The Music Room
the music room

From the back
the stanley - back

Hubby & me
john n me

Hubby & ClayGuy
john n c

Hubby & the Comedian
john n z

Me and the boys
me n boys

Bought some birthday cookies downtown. Perfect reflection for a self-portrait.
self portrait cookie window

Celebrated hubby's birthday with enormous cookies
john and cookie

birthday cookie

And delicious local cider

Shot some elk
peering buck

big buck


Had breakfast at the Egg & I the next day
blueberry pancakes

hot chocolate

fresh eggs

Visited with South Dakota friends
pam n del

and Colorado friends
mary n allen

Picked up a satellite on the way home

We packed a lot into that day and a half and we had a terrific time doing it!


Wordless Wednesday - Dual Dueling

dueling bucks

For more wordlessness, check out the WW hub and Gabriel's blog.


Autumn Leaf

autumn leaf

For more wordlessness, check out Gabriel's blog or the WW hub.


Habit of Gratitude

I know that habits are not developed overnight.

Nor in a week.

Or even two.

But I SO want the habit of having a grateful heart to take deep root in my life. I want to live what Madame Blueberry learned. I want The Thankfulness Song to spring from my lips regularly.

Clearly, this is going to take some time.

However, by participating with the Gratitude Community and listing my One Thousand Gifts, I think it will begin to be more present in my thoughts. I've begun a small journal where I can jot down these things throughout the week to post on Mondays. Otherwise, they slip through my memory before I can get to this list.

8. good, close friends

9. free pie at Village Inn

10. John covering my tomatoes each night

11. an awesome chiropractor

12. Kinesio tape

13. shortbread

14. ceiling fans throughout the house

15. a well-running van which can carry many people.

16. short fingernails

17. a postcard for a free Starbucks drink

18. the cat

19. family game night

20. Good Eats & Alton Brown

21. free long distance

22. boys who let me take their pictures - even if they don't want to


hat on knee

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

holy experience

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