Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cleaning Up a L'il Mold

We have been working on the plans for our play room. I'm pretty sure we're having just as much fun planning it as the grand babies will have playing in it. Part of the plans include a play house in a second, small closet in the room. The closet was originally included as we were building the house, when we saw a huge section of unused space under the roof line next to the room. We finished off the room and added a short door to it, and used it as storage space for the boys' old toys, etc. I need to put a big emphasis on the ETC. in that closet. I emptied it the other day, and half of it was stacked with boxes of old clothes. Not really keepers, per se, but just old clothes that come from days long past. After I got all of the boxes out of the space, I noticed that the floor was damp in a corner. I mean really damp. Like if you knelt on the carpet there, your jeans would get wet.

So, that started a completely different ball rolling. We called our neighbor who is a roofer, and he had his crew work on the roof to find the leak. And after a couple of visits, he got to the bottom of the problem and everything is tight and sealed.

Now that the closet was bone dry, I needed to address my mold problem. Ick.

We pulled out all of the carpet in the closet, and threw it away. And most of the closet was just fine, but we had a bad corner that needed some help. None of the dry wall was affected, so we were able to concentrate on just the floor.

I talked to the experts at Home Depot, and they led me in the direction of this product.

I sprayed it on quite heavily, and began scrubbing away. I scrubbed until all it looked clean, and then I scrubbed some more. After wiping it all away, and letting the area dry, I applied bleach all over the whole area.

Then, after the bleach had a chance to do its magic and then dry, I applied more of the mold control product and let that dry for a day or two.

After that, I applied Kilz over the entire thing. (Comes in a spray or paint on form)

I vacuumed before, during, and after the process, just to keep any of the dust and mold spores at bay.

It smells wonderful and fresh, and it is totally dry and a blank slate for our new project. I'll throw in some photos as we move along on the "closet playhouse".

I found some additional helpful information on

Mold on Drywall
If you find mold growing on unpainted drywall in your home you will have to remove the drywall and replace it. Unfortunately there is no way to completely remove mold from unpainted drywall since it is a porous material.

How to Remove Moldy Drywall
Use a utility knife to cut out any section of drywall with mold on it. You should make sure to cut out an area that covers at least two of the wooden beams behind the drywall. This is so you'll be able to properly attach the replacement section of drywall onto the two beams.

Next you'll need to cut out a section of new drywall to replace the drywall you just removed. Use a tape measure to measure out the length and width of the new section of drywall that you'll need so that it will fit properly. Then use the utility knife to cut out the section of new drywall.

Make sure that the new drywall fits snugly in place and then use drywall screws to attach it to the wooden beams. After this you should apply joint compound (also called drywall compound or mud) and then leave it to dry. Once you've left it for 24 hours you can then sand the joint compound down to smooth it out. You can also then paint the drywall if you like.

It's a good idea to 
HEPA vacuum the room as well to remove any mold stirred up during the process.

Mold on Painted Drywall
If you find mold on drywall that is painted or primed then the good news is you shouldn't have to remove the drywall. This is because the mold should be just on the surface and shouldn't have penetrated into the drywall itself.

Wipe or scrub the mold away using a cleaning product or mold killing solution. You can find some mold killing solutions and directions on how to use them at the 
Killing Mold page.

Mold on Wood
It's usually safe to keep using moldy wood once you've cleaned it up. Although there might be some small amount of mold left below the surface of the wood, it shouldn't regrow and cause problems provided you keep the moisture in your home to a minimum. If the wood is painted then it's even better news since the mold probably wouldn't have penetrated into the surface of the wood.

How to Remove Mold from Wood
To clean moldy wood wipe or scrub the mold from the surface using a sponge, cloth or scrubbing brush, along with some water and detergent, or any other household cleaner. See the Killing Mold page for some effective solutions to remove mold.

You can use a mold killer if you want, such as bleach, although it isn't necessary as the main goal is just to remove mold from the surface. There are always going to be small amounts of mold and spores in your home anyway, so trying to kill all the mold spores isn't the aim. Plus dead mold spores are still allergenic.

The same general process for removing mold from wood applies whether the mold is on wooden furniture, wooden walls, wooden beams or any other wood.

Removing Mold Stains from Wood
Once you've cleaned mold growth off wood there might still be a mold stain left behind. Don't worry, this is just a cosmetic problem and the mold shouldn't regrow as long as your house doesn't have any big moisture problems. And if you do get moisture problems then mold will grow in your home whether or not there's a mold stain left behind anyway.

If you don't like the look of the stain you can sand the wood if you want. This should usually remove the stain, although sometimes the mold stain might run deep into the wood so that it can't be completely sanded away.

Another way to get rid of left over mold stains is to use a small amount of bleach to fade it away. This could discolor the wood though so it's a good idea to do a spot test.

Removing Moldy Wood
Another option of course is to remove and replace wood with mold on it. Usually this is not worth the cost and trouble compared to cleaning, but if it's a situation where the wood is cheap and easy to replace you might decide it's the best option.

After Remediating Mold on Wood

You'll need to HEPA vacuum the surrounding area once you've removed the mold from the wood. During mold removal it's inevitable that some mold spores are stirred up and so you need to remove as many as possible by HEPA vacuuming.

After you've finished cleaning up the mold problem you might want to coat the wood with a fungicidal sealant or paint so that you know it's completely safe. This way any mold left in the wood certainly won't affect you and no new mold should begin to grow on the wood either.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March Week 4: Rice

This week's food storage item is a simple one:

March Week 4: Rice -- white, brown, instant

We eat mostly brown rice in our family, so I buy bags of brown rice and store them in a tub (just to keep them from slipping and sliding all over the shelf). I also buy a case of Minute Brown Rice whenever there is a case lot sale, just to have on hand. Sometimes I need to be quicker about cooking my rice, if you know what I mean, and then Minute Brown Rice is just the thing.

Now, one thing that I LOVE to do is go to the Home Storage dry-pack cannery and load up on things that I want to have on my shelf for a really long time. One of the items they offer is White Rice, as pictured above in the can. I canned the rice in March of 2011, and it will be good for 30+ years. Can't ask for much more than that! To see if you have a Home Storage Center near you, click here.

This is a photo of our youth group working at the dry-pack cannery as part of our Amazing Race Youth Conference that Bob and I were in charge of. Even the youth had fun while doing the canning.

I printed the most updated order form, and as you can see, they have quite an offering of goods for food storage. To see the full form (which includes bulk prices), click here.

You can see that there are prices for both the pre-packaged items that may be available and also the prices for the pack-your-own items.

To see the items that you can order on-line, click here. They have quite a few different items, including rice. If you don't have a Home Storage Center near you, then this might be a good option. There is also some very helpful information on anything from storing drinking water, to finances, to short and long term food supply here.  It's definitely worth checking out, and the information is very useful!

Now, go and decide how much rice you and your family will need in the coming year (and way beyond, if you have the space), then add it to your grocery list. Next time you're at the grocery store, pick up the items, and get them on your shelves. Doesn't that feel great?

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Amazing Race Youth Conference - Day 3

This is the fourth post in a series about our Amazing Race Youth Conference. I thought it best to break it up, so that there wasn't an overload of information on each post. As it is, as I'm writing the posts, I feel like I'm constantly thinking, "Let me sum up". (Name the movie...) The previous posts regarding The Amazing Race information can be found by clicking on Day 1, Day 2 - morning, Day 2 - afternoon and evening.

So, here we are on the morning of Day 3...

Day 3

We began this Saturday morning with Temple Baptisms. We purposely didn't make that part of The Race, since we didn't want the kids to rush through such a special experience. So, for those who wanted to (again, not making anyone feel uncomfortable or pressured in any way), we had them meet at the church and they were driven up by Team Parents. They were scheduled earlier in the morning, so we planned for everyone to meet at the church afterwards to begin The Race at 10:30, and that gave them plenty of time to be at the temple before that and get home and get ready for The Race.

At 10:30, they all met at the church building, and we had one of the senior-age girls give a 10 minute devotional to start us off. It was wonderful, and just what we needed to start the day. Now, at this point, I will tell you that we had a couple of teams that were getting pretty competitive and perhaps complaining about each other not doing a task right, and so on and so forth. During the night, I tossed and turned wondering how I would make everything be okay the next morning so that no one would feel unfairly treated. I came up with a brilliant idea... After the devotional, I brought out a terracotta pot that had 8 small gnome plant picks in it. Each team was to send someone up to pick a plant pick (say that 10 times fast) out of the pot. When they picked it, they looked at the bottom of it to see what order they would be leaving that morning. Sooooo, it was basically shaking it all up and making it "fair" to everyone. They left 2 minutes apart, and they all felt good about the shake-up, and they thought it was part of the original plan. I didn't bother to tell them otherwise. :)

The clue they received said, "Many hands make light work. Teams will now make their way to 9600 S. and Highland Ave. Look for the race marker. Assemble project as a team. Once completed, show it to _________  to get it checked off and received your next clue. Be sure to take your project with you for use later in the race."

They all climbed in their cars and drove to the address, which happened to be The Home Depot. We had a marker in the front of the building on a window, and they were to go inside and find someone who would give them a project to build. I'm going to stop right here and give a little side-note about this stop. We had planned very carefully with an employee from The Home Depot regarding this stop. On the day of The Race, Bob and I called our Home Depot contact as we were driving there. Much to our dismay, they said she wasn't working that day and no one could get in touch with her. She had totally forgotten, or blown us off, or whatever. Ugh. BUT, to Home Depot's credit, they quickly assessed the situation, and made some stations back in their lumber area, and quickly got employees to be there. All before any of our youth arrived. It was so devastating to be let down by the one employee, but so miraculous in how they totally stepped up to the plate and made that stop absolutely seamless. Yay, Home Depot!

This is Bob, putting the race marker on the entrance

Teams running into the store

Working on the project

I love how their make-shift tables are pallets of wood

The kids all built a birdhouse together, as a team. They had to build it correctly and have it checked off by an employee there before they could get their next clue. The next clue read, "You have worked on a project together as a team. You can be proud of your work and the outcome of the birdhouse. Your next task is two-fold. First, go outside and find __________ in the parking lot. She will have a box lunch for your team. Your team may stop anywhere you choose to eat your lunch together. Second, after you have eaten, you will again work together as a team... this time to serve many ward members. Drive to 615 E. 8400 S. Park in the east parking lot and send a team member to go inside the door. Find a Task Supervisor for instructions."

So, the teams all drove around the parking lot until they located a car marked with the Amazing Race marker. The ward member who was called as the Food Chair for The Race, was there with yummy box lunches for the teams. All of the teams decided to drive to that next destination (which was the Sandy Dry Pack Cannery) , and then stop to eat their lunch there before going in to the building. We recorded their order of arrival at this stop, since we would all be starting the activity together, at the same time. When they were all finished eating, and ready for the project, we had a representative from the cannery come out to the parking lot and talk to all of the youth about what the process was for the cannery, and what the guidelines and regulations were. And then, we gave them all of their lists of items they needed to can.

Eating lunch

Fun to see all those different colored shirts scurrying around!

Notice the green Task Supervisor shirt (my sweetie pie)

Task Supervisors making sure the orders are correct. The one
who looks like a deer caught in the headlights is my oldest.
He had quite a responsibility keeping hundreds and hundreds
of cans straight.

And of course, as the boxes were being put on the trailer,
a hailstorm ensued. They were quick to get everything
covered, and it turned out just fine. Whew.

To do the planning for the stop at the cannery, previously, we sent out information to all of the adult ward members telling them that as a ward, we had an opportunity to order dry pack food from the cannery. We didn't tell them the youth would be canning it, because we didn't want the youth to know this was part of The Race. The ward members just thought this was a rare opportunity to get things pre-canned from the cannery, instead of having to do it themselves. Those who were interested returned their order, with a check, by a certain date. Then, I divided the items up so that there were 8 different lists that were equal. So, each team had their own list of cans they needed to fill and can. We had a ward member in charge of bringing a trailer over to take the cans and deliver them to our warehouse in Draper, where my son was waiting. He then arranged them in stacks belonging to different members according to their orders. His was a crazy job, to be sure! 

The cannery planning took some real organization and detailed work, but we wanted it to be in The Race, so the kids felt they did something really great for the ward members. It was something different, that most of them had never done before, but actually was needed, and SO appreciated by the ward members. It was a really great stop!

After they finished their canning, they got checked to make sure they had each and every item on their list, they helped pack it on the trailer, and then they were given their next clue, which read, "You have given a valuable service to our ward members in helping them to stock their pantries for emergency preparedness. As a team, get in your vehicle and make your way to the store that ___________ manages."

They had to know (or figure out) what the store was, and the answer was WalMart. They all drove to a specific WalMart in the area, and followed the markers once they got there. There was an employee waiting in the store with instructions as to what their task was there. The task was to take a shopping cart that was pre-packed with items, and put the items back on the shelves WHERE THEY BELONGED. Each team had a cart and an employee to walk along with them and to make sure they put the items back where they should go. It was fun to walk around the store and see the various teams trying to find the departments for different items.

Reading the instructions

After they finished that, they had to find items to total $200.00 (within 10 cents), and have them rung up at a certain cash register. They had fun doing that one, too, and worked well together as teams doing it. Fun task. And when they were done, they had to find the employee in the Garden Department for their next clue. WalMart was kind enough to make snack bags for each of the kids. That was an added bonus, as we didn't ask them to do that. Each youth was given a bag full of snacks and a Gatorade. As they got their snack bag, they were given the next clue, which read, "Teams must make their way by car to Daybreak and find Oquirrh Lake. Look for the markers at the north end of the lake and park somewhere close. Continuing to follow the race markers, find a Task Supervisor who will give you your next clue."

I had pre-arranged with the folks at Daybreak, so they knew we were coming. I wanted to know what we could and couldn't do there, so it took some coordinating. When the teams got to the lake, they looked for a Task Supervisor (in a green shirt) and were given their next clue, along with a box. The clue read, "Open the box and inflate the little row boat. After it is fully inflated, two of your team members must put on life jackets, get in the boat and paddle around the lake (using the enclosed map) until they find the four different Task Supervisors located on and around the lake. Collect a token from each of the Task Supervisors. Once all four of the tokens have been collected, return to the dock, deflate your boat, and return the boat and oars to the Task Supervisor on the beach for your next clue."

The floating Task Supervisors

A Task Supervisor on the dock, and a boat making their way there

This was a fun stop for them. They were able to run and play and be rambunctious and it was all okay. We had purchased the inflatable boats from Dick's Sporting Goods. It ended up being the best and cheapest route for us to go. Plus, having to inflate the boats just added some more steps to the task, which is good in The Amazing Race. We also had previously told the Team Parents to bring two life jackets for their own team's use. They had to track them down and also return them, which cut down on the running around for us. We had Task Supervisors located on three different docks on the small lake, and then also had a couple of Task Supervisors in a paddle boat, floating around, so the teams had to find them and chase them down.

When they had finished the task, they were given this clue, "Make your way by car to ___________ for the next stop in the race".

The next stop was our warehouse, where they were given paint so that they could paint their birdhouse (the one they made at Home Depot).  After their birdhouse was painted, they where directed to a load of cans and lists that they needed to load into their vehicle so that they could deliver the food storage cans to various members of the ward. After their car was loaded (which was enough time for the birdhouse paint to dry), they went to the homes on their list, and delivered the specified cans to each ward family who had previously ordered them. They also took their birdhouse to a pre-determined name of a ward member who would benefit from a short visit and a little gift from the youth.

After they finished those two stops, they were to open up this clue which read, "You are nearing the end of the race. Make your way to the Simons' home for your last task. Your memory is about to be tested, so be ready to work together as a team to finish the task."

After arriving at our home, the teams were each given a packet of laminated cards, which had the name of each of the stops on the three days of The Amazing Race. They had to put the cards in the order that they actually did each of the activities, and then have them checked by a Task Supervisor. This was easier said than done, and it took some thinking, remembering, and working together as a team.

Teams running up my front walkway

Working on the order of their cards

Bragging rights, for sure!

Once they had them in the correct order, and it was checked off by the Task Supervisor, the entire team raced to the Amazing Race mat, to finish the race. When all the teams checked in and completed The Race, we gave them all a key ring and a little treat. We had told them all along that there was no grand prize and to just enjoy the journey (hoping to help them not be as competitive), so they weren't expecting the winners to get anything but bragging rights. The point of The Race was to experience tons of different things in just a few days, and while they were doing it, to serve, to grow, to work, to learn to love team members, etc, etc, and they ended up doing just that!

After everyone was done, we ate dinner together (again, coordinated by our Food Chair), which was yummy Cafe Rio salads and mini bundts for dessert. And then, as they got comfortable, our bishop talked to them about their experience on The Race, and wrapped it all up in a nice way.

Yay for an awesome food committee!
At the very end of the evening, we gave them all a key ring and a little treat. We had told them all along that there was no grand prize and to just enjoy the journey (hoping to help them not be as competitive), so they weren't expecting the winners to get anything but bragging rights. The point of The Race was to experience tons of different things in just a few days, and while they were doing it, to serve, to grow, to work, to learn to love team members, etc, etc, and they ended up doing just that!

There was also a little bag of M&M's attached that had all of
the colors of the teams... all mixed together

And about two weeks later, we had a fireside for all of the racers and Task Supervisors. They were given an opportunity to share their thoughts, if wanted, and afterwards, we gave them all photo books we had put together of the race. The Team Parents had taken photos all throughout The Race, and our special photographer had also taken photos. So, we had tons to choose from as we put the book together. We wanted something tangible that they could have to remember the race by through the years, and it was just the thing. I had a "2 for 1" coupon for the books from Picaboo, so we were able to basically get them at half price, which just fit within the remainder of the budget. Yay!

As I mentioned before, there was A LOT of planning and coordinating for this youth conference. We spent a lot of time going to each of the stops (sometimes multiple times) to make sure we knew the time we needed to allot for driving there and then accomplishing the task.We also made many phone calls and visits to people who worked or managed the different stops. We didn't want our kids to be disruptive at the stops, and wanted to make sure we were doing our activities within their requirements or regulations. We didn't want to leave a bad taste in anyone's mouths, and as far as I know, we were successful in keeping everyone happy!

So, as a recap, the stops/activities were:

Day 1:
Word search posters to determine which teams the kids are on
Cutting and prepping fleece blankets
Running down Porter Rockwell Trail to find a series of words
Going to a ward member's home and finding hidden plastic balls

Day 2:
T-shirt handout
Ensign Peak hike and devotional
This is The Place Monument
   several different activities at this stop
Salt Lake Temple grounds - count the stars on the east side of the temple
Temple Square - find a familiar couple
Lion House - lunch
Church History Museum
Family History Center
Deuel Pioneer Log Home
Brigham Young Historic Park
Brigham Young's Grave Site
Salt Lake Cemetery
Temple Quarry Hike and For The Strength of Youth Activity
Snowbird Tram Ride
Pit Stop: Dinner, Speaker, Bonfire

Day 3:
Temple Baptisms
Church Building Devotional
Home Depot
Box Lunch
Sandy Family Home Storage Center
Wal Mart
Oquirrh Lake at Daybreak
Warehouse in Draper - pick up cans and paint birdhouse
Deliver cans
Deliver birdhouse
Memory Cards
Dinner & Speaker

I have loads and loads of information about the various stops and what planning went in to each stop, but after this long of a post, I think you get the idea. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have regarding our activity.

For information about the entire Amazing Race, 
click below on the specific days.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring!

from thewheatfield

Can you believe the first day of spring is finally here? It feels so good. Even though we know around here there will be another snow squall or two, there is the feeling that warmer days are here! Yay! I've had the chance to work just a little bit outside, and I've got tons more to do. But even just a day with my hands in the dirt felt amazing. We need to prune our Nashi Pear trees and also our Barletts. This weekend will be the drop dead last day to do it. The shoots are all budding and we'll have blossoms here before we know it! 

Since we took part of our yard out to build our backyard garage, there is some patching and re-working that needs to be done. I'm not sure whether you know this or not, but construction guys on tractors don't much care what they're driving over. They are just working to get the job done, as evidenced in this grainy video I took during that phase of the project. (Notice the poor little birdhouses that need repairing on the table. There's also a nest that came out of the bottom of one of the birdhouses)

He just comes flying down the driveway, dumps, returns to the front yard, and repeat. I've got some real repair work to do, in addition to the normal clean up after winter. But, I like me a challenge, so I'm excited for the project(s) in the next few weeks. 

By the way, have you noticed the birds are chirping these days? The house finches are busily finding places for nests. I love how the mommy bird sits and chirps orders at the daddy bird as he works to place the twigs and bits of string into place. He chirps back at her, as if to say, "Here? Does the twig look okay here?" And she chirps back saying, "Move it a bit to the right, and then it's perfect."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Week 3: Spices, herbs, seasonings

This week's food storage items are:

March Week 3: spices, herbs, seasonings (salt, pepper, seasoning salt, taco seasoning, chili powder, etc.)

As with all of the other weeks, store what your family uses. The one exception to that is that everyone should have iodized salt on their food storage shelves. It doesn't expire, so you can buy a case (or more) and you won't have to worry about having to throw it out... ever!  Most of what I've read online indicates that there is no expiration date, though there is some debate about whether iodized salt may expire at some point. The following is from Eatbydate:

How Long Does Salt Last?

The shelf life of salt
A better questions might be – does salt expire? Salt, or sodium chloride, is an essential mineral needed by the human body (and all animals) in order to function properly. It helps maintain the fluid levels in the body, yet an excess can be harmful. The shelf life of salt, a natural ingredient found in both land and sea has been there since the beginning of time. It is has been used for flavoring and food preservation for ages.
So, the official answer to does salt expire or does salt go bad is… No, it does not expire! When properly stored, the shelf life of salt is
Salt lasts forIndefinite

There are many, many uses for salt, whether it be used with food or for cleaning. I store quite a bit of salt, and I will only have to re-buy it once in a long while -- perhaps when I see a good deal in a case lot sale. Check out some of the many uses for salt at the end of this post.

If you go through other seasonings or spices, it wouldn't hurt to add them to your list. I use quite a bit of cinnamon, taco seasoning, seasoning salt and pepper, so I like to have at least one large jar of each on my food storage shelf. When I run out in the kitchen, I take from the food storage so that I am naturally rotating through my storage. These other items do have an expiration date and will lose some of their flavor after time, so don't overbuy.

Decide what you and your family will need as far as spices, herbs and seasonings go, add it to your grocery list, and next time you're at the grocery store, buy what you need and get it on your shelves. Easy peasy and it takes literally 10 minutes of your time! ...And you don't have to think about any more food storage til next week!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

24 Uses for Salt
We know that eating too much salt is unhealthy for us (or is it?), but salt has all kinds of uses around the home! From your beauty routine to cleaning, salt can really come in handy.
Table salt and Epsom salts are perfect for making green cleaning and DIY beauty products at home. They’re cheap, they’re readily available, and unless you’re drinking that salt scrub you made, they’re non-toxic. Regular old salt has some very useful qualities. It cuts grease like a champ, is a mild antiseptic, and those tiny crystals are great for scrubbing counter tops or your skin.
There are probably thousands of ways that you can use salt around the house, so think of this list as a jumping-off point!
Salt for DIY Beauty
Who needs expensive, store-bought beauty supplies when you have salt on hand? Check out these DIY beauty recipes that use salt! If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to try out these recipes on a small area before you commit to scrubbing your whole face or body with salt.
1. Soothe Puffy Eyes – Soak a cloth in 1 cup warm water that has 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in it to make a compress for tired eyes.
2. Exfoliate – After a bath or shower, use plain old salt to slough off dead skin from dry areas like your feed, elbows, or knees.
3. Homemade Facial – Mix 1 part salt with 1 part olive oil, and massage into your face and neck. Wash of with soap and water, and admire your glowing skin.
4. DIY Salt Scrub – Combine coarse salt with a little bit of olive oil and your favorite essential oils for a decadent salt scrub.
5. Whiten Teeth – A mixture of 1 part salt and 2 parts baking soda will not only whiten your teeth but helps promote healthy gums by removing built up plaque. This mixture is too abrasive to use daily, so only do this treatment occasionally.
6. Relax in a Salt Bath – A couple of cups of salt in the tub helps relax sore muscles. You can up the ante by adding some soothing essential oils, like lavender or chamomile.
7. Fight Dandruff – Who needs chemical-packed dandruff shampoo? Before your next shower, massage your head with salt to remove those dead skin cells, then wash your hair with your usual shampoo.
8. Make a Bath Bomb – Instead of shelling out big bucks for all natural bath bombs, check out this recipe for homemade bath bombs with Epsom salts instead.
Cleaning the House with Salt
Salt’s scrubbing and degreasing powers make it a perfect choice for cleaning the house on the cheap and without harsh chemicals. Just like with your skin, before you scrub any surface with salt, do a little test to make sure it won’t scratch the finish.
9. Cleaning Brass – Combine 1 cup each of salt, white flour, and white vinegar. After you scrub the brass with it, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.
10. Get Grease out of Carpet – Mix 1 cup salt with 4 cups alcohol to gently scrub grease out of rugs and carpets.
11. Stop Wine Stains – Did you spill that glass of red all over the tablecloth or rug? Blot up what you can with a rag, when pour on the salt to soak up the remaining drops. Once the salt is dry, rinse it with cold water, then vacuum.
12. Get Rid of Condensation Rings on Wood – Add a tiny bit of salt to a light oil, like sunflower oil, and gently massage away those ugly white rings left from cold glasses.
13. Make Sponges Last Longer – Soak your sponge in cold water with a handful of salt to de-stink and extend its life.
14. Clean Your Iron – Is your iron a little sticky? Sprinkle some salt onto a piece of paper and iron over it on low to clean it off.
15. Clean the Fish Tank - Non-iodized salt is a great scrub for the inside of your fish tank. Just make sure you rinse it well before refilling. Did I mention non-iodized salt? Make sure that you use non-iodized salt.
16. Prevent Weeds – Are weeds popping up between the tiles on your patio? Pour salt into those crevices to keep them away naturally.
Cleaning the Kitchen with Salt
You may not shake salt into your food, but it’s so handy for cleaning in the kitchen that it deserves a category all its own.
17. Clean Greasy Pans – Slice a lemon in half, sprinkle on some salt, and marvel at the grease-cutting power!
18. Get Out Coffee and Tea Stains – Is your favorite mug looking a little dingy? Rub those coffee or tea stains with salt to buff them away.
19. De-Stink that Fridge – Next time you clean out your refrigerator, use a mixture of salt and seltzer to scrub the inside. The scrub will remove stains and grease and cut odors at the same time.
20. Clean the Coffee Pot – If your coffee hasn’t been tasting great lately, it could be that the lines of your coffee pot have oils built up. Run a full pot with water and 1/4 cup salt through your machine, then run just water. Your next pot of coffee will taste so much better!
21. Deodorize Your Kitchen Sink – Pour 1 cup salt and 1 1/2 cups boiling water down the kitchen sink to bust up small clogs and bust odors.
22. Scouring Cutting Boards – Remember that tip about the half lemon for greasy pans? You can use the same one to clean your cutting board.
23. Get the Tarnish off of  Silverware – Scrub with salt and a dry rag to make your silverware shiny again.

24. Deodorize the Oven – Did a casserole bubble over, and now your oven smells like burning? Before the oven cools down, sprinkle salt – carefully - onto the spilled food. Let it cool, then use a scrub brush to remove the salt. No more stink

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Amazing Race Youth Conference - Day 2 (afternoon & evening)

For those who haven't seen the first two posts about our Amazing Race Youth Conference, you can read the first one here, and the second one here. For today's post, I'll cover all of the activities for the remainder of Day 2. I've got some photos from the stops, but for some reason, I can't find all of the photos. But, I do have a book that we made afterwards, so I've copied some of the pages here and there. Not the best copies, but at least it gives you a better idea than not seeing any photos at all.

On the last post, we left off with the kids all arriving at the lunch spot (The Lion House). We ended up eating lunch around the same time, and then at a certain pre-determined time, the teams left the lunch area two minutes apart, in the order that they arrived. This helped to shorten the times between the teams, because we had some really seriously competitive teams, and then some that basically took time to smell the roses all along the way (which may have been more enjoyable for the adults than for the kids... just saying). This departure from the lunch stop got them all closer to each other time-wise.

So, there were two different clues given at this point. It was split up so that we had basically half of the teams going to one stop, and the other half going to the other... and then afterwards, they would switch and go to the stop the other team had already been to.

One of the two clues read as follows: HISTORY SQUARED - Make your way by foot to the west gate of temple square. Safely cross the street and go to the location where one might find interesting facts about one's ancestors. Find the Task Supervisor in the lobby and ask for the "Scavenger Hunt" sheet. Complete the hunt as a team, and then go back to the same Task Supervisor in the lobby. They will check your work and give you your next clue.

The other of the two clues read: HISTORY SQUARED - Make your way by foot to the west gate of temple square. Safely cross the street and go to the location where one might find interesting facts about church history. Complete the enclosed sheet as a team and then locate a Task Supervisor in the lobby to have your work checked and receive your next clue.

So, we had a Task Supervisor located in each of the lobbies -- the Family History Center and the Church History Museum. In the Family History Center, there was a Scavenger Hunt Sheet that was actually provided by the Family History Center for youth to use to get to know the facility.

After the team completed that sheet, they went back to the lobby where the Task Supervisor gave them this clue: "Now that you are an expert in genealogy, it is time to become an expert in church history. Make your way to the Church History Museum and complete the enclosed Scavenger Hunt Worksheet. Once that is finished, make your way to the Deuel Pioneer Log Home. To obtain your next clue, you must have your team photographed in front of the log home and turn in your scavenger hunt to the Task Supervisor located near the home."

In the Church History Museum, we had a Task Supervisor located in the lobby, where they were given a worksheet that we had made up, based on the activities and items located in the museum.  There were several questions they had to find the answers to, as well as photos that they had to have taken, as a team.

(sorry for the grainy photo... I couldn't find the original)

After the team completed the sheet, they basically got the same clue as the one just above, but it sent them to the Family History Center first, and then the Deuel Pioneer Log Home.

At the Deuel Pioneer Log Home, I had a friend stationed there as the Task Supervisor. They had to prove to her that they had been to the Family History Center and the Church History Museum, and then they had their team photo taken in front of the log home.

Once that was completed, she handed them a clue, which read: LINCOLN LOG PHOTO OPP - Make your way on foot as a team to the Brigham Young Historic Park, which is across the street (east) from the Church Office Building. When you arrive, the Team Parents must open the enclosed envelope and follow the instructions.

It was pretty great to see all the
teams travelling around together
in their matching shirts...

So, the teams made their way to the Brigham Young Historic Park, which is a walk (or jog) of a couple of city blocks. When they got to the park, their Team Parents opened the envelope with the clue. It said: Teams should now make their way to the place Brigham Young is buried. Don't be confused. He is not buried where most of the prophets have been laid to rest. To find his grave site, travel south on State Street to 1st Avenue. Go east on 1st Avenue until you find the small cemetery. Locate the clue box to receive your next clue.

The teams then walked to the cemetery, and when they found the clue box, took a clue out for their team, which read: WHO KNEW? - Take a team photo with Brigham and the children on the bench. Take a rubbing of his name on his gravestone, then return as a team to your team car. Now make your way to where all but 4 of our later-day prophets have been laid to rest. Find a Task Supervisor near the Cemetery Office for your next clue.

When the teams made it to the Salt Lake Cemetery, they found the Task Supervisor there, who gave them the next clue. It read: LEARN FROM THE PAST - You are now at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, at which most of our prophets and many other church leaders have been buried. Find the headstones for the following prophets: the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 15th. When you get to each grave site, have a team member read the enclosed paragraph pertaining to that person, and then make a rubbing of the name of the prophet. When you have completed all 5, return to the Task Supervisor to receive your next clue. Remember to be respectful of where you are. NO RUNNING OR YELLING.

After the teams visited all of the listed grave sites and made the rubbings, they brought the rubbings to be checked by the Task Supervisor who was still located by the cemetery office. They were then given the next clue, which read, "During the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, it took 3 to 5 days to transport the granite stones from the quarry to the construction site. Make your way to the quarry in the "little canyon". Park and locate the Task Supervisor in the parking lot for your next clue."

And this next stop was a doozy of a stop. The teams got to the Temple Quarry Trail parking lot, and found the Task Supervisor. The clue read, "DON'T BE THE WEAK LINK: You have been given a bucket of chains. Your task is to connect all of the chains into one long chain. To connect the chains, send one team member at a time on the Temple Quarry Trail loop. They must find a Task Supervisor on the trail and mention one of the 17 concepts from the For The Strength of Youth. If they name one correctly (that hasn't already been named by someone else), then the Task Supervisor will give them a carabiner, and your team member will return to your team and connect two pieces of chain with the carabiner. A 2nd team member will then go out until you have named all 17 of the concepts, and received 17 carabiners to connect your chain pieces. Once you have all 17 carabiners attached to the chains, make one trip around the entire Temple Quarry Trail with ALL OF YOUR TEAM MEMBERS holding some part of the chain the whole time. When you have returned to the parking lot, look for the clue box for your next clue".

teams trying to come up with the 17 concepts while
their team member was running on the trail

team member who just gave one of the concepts
to the Task Supervisor located on the trail

Notice the chain in their hands, which they
are all holding on to as they run around the loop

Can I just say we almost killed off most of the adults and several of the youth? They were so pooped by this part of the race, that they were practically dragging by the time they were finished with this activity. We made sure to tell them beforehand that they couldn't look up the answers on their phones or on their For The Strength of Youth cards in their wallets. They needed to put their heads together and think about the concepts. This was a learning experience for everyone, as they thought long and hard to come up with all 17 concepts.

The next clue read: What do they call people who go down south for the winter? As a team, make your way to the resort with the same name. Drive to Entry 2 and park near the resort center / tram. Using your CONNECT PASSES, get a ticket for each team member for the tram ride. Ride up as a team and locate a familiar person from the ward. Have them take a photograph of your entire team, and then they will give you your next clue."

The teams rode up the tram as they got to Snowbird. Once they got to the top of the mountain, they had to locate someone familiar (my son). He was sitting down on the ground over the ledge, just checking out the lovely view, so they had to look around quite a bit to find him. When they found him, they got this clue, SOARING OVER UTAH: You have just soared along a 1.6 mile cable and up 2900 feet to the top of Hidden Peak, which sits at 11,000 feet. You have been involved in a wide variety of activities today that have tested your mental and physical abilities. Proceed to ------- East and --------- South where you will be fed literally and figuratively so that you will be ready for tomorrow's race. Park in front and follow the arrows.

The teams all arrived at our friend's home (who lived outside of our ward and stake boundaries). They checked in at the Pit Stop Mat, and had their team photos taken, and also had their arrival time documented on the poster.

They were all treated to a barbecue dinner, and then a fantastic speaker, David A. Christensen. We had thought about playing games after that, but honestly, they were all so tired out from the day, we just roasted marshmallows afterwards, sat around and talked about the day's activities, and then the kids were taken back to their own homes to sleep for the night.

Before they left for the night, we told them we would be doing Temple Baptisms first thing in the morning. This was part of the youth conference, but not part of the race. We had the girls go at a certain time, and then the boys at another time. We told them beforehand that this would be part of the youth conference, so they knew to prepare for that. We didn't want it to be part of the race because we obviously didn't want them rushing through that special experience, and we also didn't want it to be obvious if anyone wasn't able to be there for that part of the activity.

We told them that after the temple trip, we would meet back at the church at 10:30 on Saturday morning, ready to continue the race.

Now, I haven't given every planning detail of each individual stop and activity. There is way too much to include here. Just know that each of the stops required a previous stop or two by us. We had to make contact with people (if the stops had people other than ours manning it), and we had to check and recheck the time involved in the stop, so that we could coordinate the day's events pretty accurately. We didn't want one team to get ahead of all of the others by too much time, so once in a while, we'd have a "rest stop" where we'd all catch up with each other, like at the Lion House lunch stop, and also the cemetery. Then, we'd have the teams leave in the order they arrived, two minutes apart.

Check back for post(s) on Day 3, the final day.

For information about the entire Amazing Race, 
click below on the specific days.