Avoiding Cathy Bishop

I’ve always found it funny, or maybe a little annoying the way my husband will circle endlessly around the parking lot until he can find a spot right next to the entrance. He calls it a “Cathy Bishop Spot”—a term his mother also uses. Apparently, my mother-in-law had a friend named Cathy Bishop who was so lucky that any time she drove anywhere a parking spot just happened to open right in front of the store as she arrived. And so the perfect parking spot became synonymous with the name ‘Cathy Bishop.’ Or at least it did in my husband’s family. And then I started using the term and now our kids say it. (None of us has ever met her.) Needless to say, we aren’t as lucky as the mythical Cathy Bishop—no matter how many times we circle past the front entrance.

No offense to Cathy Bishop, but I actually take the opposite approach when it comes to parking. I prefer to park far from the entrance and walk. Not only is it faster than circling the parking lot nine times, but it is healthier for you to walk a little. (Not to mention the road rage you avoid by parking away from the herd.)

When I mention this to people, everyone always agrees that it is a good idea. But it doesn’t seem to be catching on very quickly—even with people trying to be healthy. Case in point: The Gym. I find it funny to watch all of the people in the mornings trying to get the Cathy Bishop Spots at the gym, when they are coming to the gym to get in as many steps as possible by walking, jogging, or riding a bike.

My point is, that next time you come across a “Cathy Bishop spot” keep driving. Not only will someone else think they are lucky, but you will begin to establish a simple habit that will lead to better health and more peace. Park away from the entrance and get some extra exercise throughout the day.




Save Money with Online Yard Sales

I have saved a lot of money using 24/7 yard sale groups on Facebook. Before running to the store to replace an item I often put out an ISO (In search of) request.  For example, our TV broke a few weeks ago.  I didn’t really miss the TV until one of our kids got sick and needed to be distracted from feeling miserable. I put “ISO a free or cheap TV” on our local yard sale page.  I immediately got a few responses. Within 24 hours, my sick daughter had a TV to watch while she lay on the couch. We now have a TV for free that is better than our last one.

Another great find was when I found a mini ipad. My daughter had been saving up for one for many months when someone listed a brand new mini ipad still in the box. I was skeptical, but met the seller and checked it out. It was legit. He had decided to go with something else and couldn’t return it, so he was just happy to get some of his money back.

I’ve also found used toys that look brand new that I’ve been able to then give as gifts to my kids for birthdays or Christmas. I am always watching for great deals on clothing and shoes for my kids. This has lead to a huge savings each year. I find it very painful to pay full price!

Yard sale sites can also be a way to make a few bucks in cash and help you de-clutter your house. Make a box or area in your garage for items you don’t use, clothes that don’t fit, etc. Many people have a hard time throwing old things away. Selling them means that they are still being used by someone and you have made some money in the process.

If you have a Facebook account you can easily do a search for your local area. Just type in 24/7 yard sale followed by your city, nearby city, or county in the Facebook search bar.  I have yet to find an area that doesn’t have one. Once you find your local group, join and start watching for great deals!


How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

This is healthy right? It has fruit in it. =) My kids couldn’t get enough
You’ll only need 3 ingredients:
Bananas (4-5 bananas)
Peanut Butter
Dipping Chocolate ( I used a 20 oz package)

Making Banana BitesLine a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Slice bananas into coins about 1/2-3/4 inch. Lay out half of your banana slices and place a small scoop of peanut butter on each. Then place another banana slice on top. Prepare dipping chocolate according to directions on package. Dip bananas in chocolate using tooth picks or a fork. Place back on the parchment. Once all the bananas have been dipped you have two choices. Let them set up on the counter or place in freezer for a yummy frozen treat.
Tip: It is best to use firm bananas. If they are turning brown they may be too mushy and fall apart when you dip them in chocolate.
Another Option: If you don’t like or can’t have peanut butter, you can always just enjoy banana dipped in chocolate


Family Fun: How to make a Bow & Arrow out of PVC and Dowels

PVC Bow & ArrowMy kids and their friends 10-12 year-old boys love to play with their new bows and arrows they made out of PVC and dowels. We set up a target and they got pretty good at shooting them. They were able to shoot them a lot further and were a lot more accurate with them than I expected. (Make sure there are no people, cars, etc. in the direction you are shooting.)

Here is what you need to make one:


  • Four-foot-length of regular 1/2 inch PVC (Schedule 40)
  • 1/8 inch Paracord (Comes in a 50 ft bundle in various colors at Home Depot)
  • 1/4 x 48 inch Dowel (Makes 2 arrows)
  • Foam Darts (Pack of 16 at Dollar Tree)
  • Duct Tape


  • 1/4 inch Drill Bit
  • Drill
  • Hack Saw with fine toothed blade (Got a little one at Dollar Tree)
  • Lighter (For burning the ends of the cord)
  • Scissors or Knife (for cutting the cord)


Bow Instructions:

Drill a hole about 3/4ths of an inch down from one end of the PVC pipe. Make sure you drill it all the way through both walls of the pipe. On the other end make a  notch about 1/4 inch wide through both sides of the PVC pipe wall. The notch should be at least 1/2 inch deep so the paracord can fit down into it (but a knot in the cord will not slip through). Cut off a piece of paracord about 47 inches long. Burn the ends so they are tapered and will fit through the hole. Put one end through the drilled hole and tie a knot on the other side. Then tie a knot on the the other end of the cord. At this point you will carefully bend the PVC until you can stretch the cord through the notch and latch the knot over the far end. Use the duct tape to make a handle grip in the center of the PVC

Optional: Use colored duct tape to distinguish your bow and make it a work of art

IMG_20150611_094846_793 PVC Bow Drilled End

Arrow Instructions:

Find the center of the dowel by measuring it or balancing it on something. Cut it in half with the hacksaw. Cut a notch in one end of each dowel half to fit against the paracord. Slide one foam dart onto the other end of each of the dowels. Duct tape the dart to the dowel.

Optional: Some of the boys used the duct tape to make fletching on the back end of their arrows. Not sure if it helped or not in flight If you do make fletching make sure it isn’t sticking out where it will hit the PVC pipe as you shoot it.

Fun fact: Historically, the arrows were shot on the right side of the bow to allow for quick set-up while hunting. Today, we typically shoot the arrows on the left side so we can look down the arrow for more accurate target shooting.

Another lesson I learned in doing this is not to leave your bow strung in a hot car. My first bow bent permanently in the heat and lost its spring.


Credit: I wanted to thank Trent Brown for helping me in the preparation of this and Matt Atkinson for helping with the execution.


Why I didn’t Panic when my Husband Lost His Job

Husband and WifeThere our times in our lives when fear can take over and paralyze us. I love the quote, “If you are prepared ye shall not fear.” Recently, I received the unexpected news that my husband was being laid off. In the past, I would have panicked, but I felt surprisingly calm. We had been working hard on paying off debt and building our savings, but hadn’t gotten far. Now, our focus was changing to going over our budget and talking about what we should do. Usually, this would be a tense situation, but I have been continually surprised at how calm I have remained. I have wondered about this for the last few days.

This morning it hit me…I’m more prepared then I thought. I had been working on the side a little since becoming a stay at home Mom for a little extra income to pay off debt, cover the unexpected, and have some fun. I was calm because I was prepared. I now just needed to transition into working more on my ‘side projects’ to earn more.

I was reminded of a meeting I went to when I had just a couple small children. The lady presenting shared her story and many other women’s stories. I don’t remember all the details, but they all had something in common. They had each been stay-at-home moms and then unexpectedly had to provide for their families. One woman had felt lead to photography and had become very good. When her husband was killed in a car accident she was able to turn her hobby into a successful business. Another woman had felt strongly she should go back to school and finish her degree. Soon after finishing, her husband became ill and could no longer work. She received an amazing job with great benefits. These women each had felt guided and were prepared.

I took from that, that I needed to be prepared in case anything ever happened to my husband. I pondered what I should do and prayed to know. I felt strongly as long as I stayed close to the Lord I would be prepared for whatever life sent my way. It hasn’t been easy but I have been prepared.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to go back to work. When I went back before, I was able to secure a job, but hated being at the mercy of my boss or the company I worked for. Many times I couldn’t put my family’s needs first. Since returning home to my children, I decided I would never be at the mercy of someone else again! I focused on my own businesses. I felt multiple streams were better than one.

Multiple streams allowed me to change things up and gave me comfort knowing that if something happened to one income I had another source.

So what am I doing?

I help children discover the magic of reading through Usborne Books

I help individuals get their homes organized through Clever Containers

I have a display of fashionable, affordable $5 Paparazzi Jewelry at my house that I help individuals in my community accessorize with or find the perfect gift.

I also share my love of Plexus Slim. A drink that has improved my health and waist line.

It sounds like a lot, but I didn’t start it all at once and the different products just come up naturally in conversation or people seek me out. Instead of being scared and focused on my problems, my businesses allow me to focus on others’ needs. I am prepared when others need me and I can help them become more prepared as well.

I love what I do and I love helping others do the same.

I find comfort in knowing I just have to increase my hours to increase my pay. I feel so blessed by the orders that keep coming in. My family will be fine!


Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This recipe is quick and easy with great results!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

6-8 Chicken Breasts
6-8 slices of Ham
6-8 slices of Swiss Cheese
2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 carton of Sour Cream
1/2 Cup of Milk
Crushed Croutons or Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup butterCordon Bleu2

Grease 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in pan and top each piece with one slice of ham and one slice of swiss cheese. In a separate bowl combine sour cream, soup, and milk. Mix together and then spread evenly over the top of chicken. Melt butter in a small bowl and add bread crumbs until absorbed. Sprinkle on top. Bake for 30-45 minutes uncovered.


The Perfect Job – Part 3

(Read Part 1 and Part 2)

I applied for Medicaid for me and the children. We qualified. I felt worse and worse. I could no longer work multiple jobs, my body could no longer handle the 60-70 hours a week. I cut back my hours and prayed we would be able to make it. I continued to look for why God had cut me down. What was this great thing he had planned for me?

The answer came one day as I was walking to my car… To be at home with my children. For three years I had begged God to open a way for me to be home with my kids, but the answer had always been “not yet.” I had to work multiple jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table, but no more. At last, God was opening a way for me to be home and my husband to provide. The loss of my insurance, meant I had the option to cut my hours. I didn’t have to work a set number of hours to keep insurance. It is tight and scares me, but I am home with my kids much more. I still work about 30 hours a week between all my jobs, but I have hope that this will lessen as my husband makes more and we pay off debt.

I share this experience because I’ve realized that many of us have things happen in our life that feel as if they will break us. Things happen that we hadn’t planned, but if we can look for God’s will in it, we may find the strength to go on. We may find that something so much better is in store for us.

This is how I found my perfect job…being a Mom. My story doesn’t really end here. As I face each day I have to find the strength to keep hopeful and not doubt, not forget the blessings and guidance I have received. At least I can now see God’s hand in my life, a reason for the pain.

I would love to hear your stories. Have you had challenges in your life that you thought would break you, but ended up being a huge blessing? Please share your story in the comments or email us at balancetoday (at) gmail (dot) com and we may share your story on the blog.


The Thing in the Theater

The Thing in the Theater: A true story
by Kevin Harris

The old Kamas Theater has always had its share of creaks, pops, and other unexplained sounds. During the few years that I’ve been running the theater, I have gotten accustomed to most of the noises—The wind howling between the old-fashioned narrow doors, the apparent sound of movement in the empty locked up spaces, the bathroom door that closes on its own, and even the radio that occasionally starts itself up and plays me a tune. These don’t phase me anymore. But one night, I heard a sound that stopped me in my tracks and chilled me to the bone.

Built in the 1940s to replace an opera house that burned down, this one screen movie theater with an impressive 190 plus seat auditorium was on the cutting edge of technology at the time—introducing movies with sound (or talkies) to the valley. Many theaters have ice cream parlors or sandwich shops built on to the sides of them. The Kamas Theater had a hospital wing built on to it’s side which ran the length of the building. Phone reception to this day isn’t very good in certain parts of the building because of the metal plates built in to the walls to try to contain the radiation from the x-rays.

Usually, after the show ends and the crowds leave I lock myself in the theater so that I can clean up and shut things down for the night. Most people have never heard the silence of the theater. When they arrive music is already playing and when they leave the credits are still rolling or music has started up again. After the climactic completion of car chases, alien invasions, and sweeping romances the silence seems palpable as I whisk my broom through each aisle of the now abandoned room.

Well, after turning the key the other night, and switching off the music and various concession stand lights, I spent 20 minutes or so finishing up some paper work and then put my ear buds in to listen to a radio program while I started to sweep the theater. The ear buds make the time go faster and help me ignore the stretching and groaning rafters as they settle in for the night.

The radio program I was listening to occasionally had music or audio effects in the background so when I first heard the noise I assumed it was part of the recording. I thought to myself that it seemed strange to have crying in the background of that part of the show, because it didn’t seem to go at all with what they were talking about. When I heard it again I realized that it wasn’t coming from my ear buds at all and I immediately paused my show. I stood there in silence for a moment wondering if I had imagined it—until, very clearly and louder than I expected—I heard it again. It was in the theater with me.theater seats

I had thought it was crying when I heard it through my ear buds, but now I could tell that it was not crying, but more of a laughing—a baby or child laughing. But not a real child laughing, this had a tinny sound to it that made it sound somehow different. That was when I noticed the light. There—down on the second row against the left wall was a light shining up between the seats that seemed to be flickering on and off and it was from there that the sound seemed to be emanating. My mind raced. What could that be? It finally settled on some sort of baby’s toy. Something that lit up and laughed. Yeah, that must be it. Some sort of doll that laughed. And for some reason it had been silent through the entire movie and for the last half hour since I locked the door…

I found myself clutching the broom. Glad that I had some sort of weapon to defend myself from the crazy images my mind was conjuring up. I knew I had to walk down to that row but my feet wouldn’t move. I could imagine some evil looking doll with glowing eyes and a little mouth that opened while the recorded laughter played. It would of course start talking to me when I saw it and I would be forced to use the broom on it—beating it until little springs and cogs came out of it. But would that really stop it? I told myself I had seen too many scary movies and nothing like that could actually happen. Yet, there I stood. In the middle of a movie theater—living in my own horror movie. With the broom now positioned more like a baseball bat in my hands I slowly made my way down the empty theater to the second row.

I didn’t see anything at first except for a black rectangle on the ground. It took me a minute to process that the rectangle was actually a cell phone laying upside down and that the baby laughter must be someone’s ringtone. I let out the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding and picked up the phone. Sure enough, missed call-one minute ago. I called the number back and a woman answered. She had just realized her phone was missing and was scared she had lost it. She called hoping I was still there and would hear it ring. I thought to myself that her fear of losing her phone was nothing compared to the fear that still hadn’t dissipated completely from my racing heart and shaking body. She may have been scared of losing her phone, but I had been scared of losing my mind.


The Perfect Job – Part 2

(Read Part 1 here)

Tears flowed freely as I drove home and continued into the night. My heart was broken. The next morning I called my old job. They hadn’t even posted the position and I was trying to help them get by until they figured it out. They were grateful I could just keep things running and said they would get back to me about my job. They didn’t want everyone to think they could just quit and then expect to come back.

I forced myself to get through each day and then would cry myself to sleep each night and wake up with a deep emptiness. Each night I would pray I wouldn’t have to face another day. It wasn’t really that I wanted to die, but I wanted to return home to my father in heaven. I could just imagine myself like a small child in his arms being comforted, free from this horrible pain of despair. I was lost.

I had no hope left in me until my sweet 10 year old son came to comfort me one night when he heard me crying. He reminded me of a story we had recently heard about a currant bush. (click here to see it). The story is about a currant bush that is cut back so it can produce fruit. It was compared to a story of a man who was angry with God when he didn’t get the promotion he wanted, but realized it was for his good and eventually became grateful that God would cut him back——love him enough to hurt him. Anyway, my son said that maybe God was cutting me back, because he had something greater in mind for me.

I still struggled through each day, but I held onto this thought that maybe God had something greater in store for me. I searched for what it may be everywhere I went and everyone I talked to.

I had continued working my old job. They finally let me know I could keep my job, but they were cutting my hours and taking away my health insurance. I couldn’t even be angry. I was broken. Our situation just kept getting worse and I had nothing left to give. No fight left in me. The last three years had broken me (I’ll share more later). Everyone was certain I would quit and find another job. I didn’t have it in me to apply for jobs. I stayed. Feeling as if I was dying a little more each day. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I wasn’t feeling well and I was exhausted. All this stress could do it to anyone, but mine wasn’t just because of the stress. We soon found out that I was pregnant and now out of insurance.

I applied for Medicaid for me and the children. We qualified. I felt worse and worse. I could no longer work multiple jobs, my body could no longer handle the 60-70 hours a week. I cut back my hours and prayed we would be able to make it. I continued to look for why God had cut me down. What was this great thing he had planned for me?

Continue to Part 3


How to Make Toast (4 Easy Steps!)

How to make toastThis recipe has been in the family for generations. I remember enjoying toast at my grandmother’s table as a small child. Back in 2000 I decided to preserve this recipe for generations to come by putting it to paper. There were some variations (especially on step 3), but what you see below is our family’s favorite version. This first appeared back in 2000 in the Highland 8th Ward’s “Treasured Recipes” book. Adult Supervision Suggested.

(By Kevin Harris)

Bread, Sliced
Butter (or butter substitute)

Put bread in toaster.
Push down lever.
When done, take out and butter side facing up.
Let cool 5 seconds.

That’s it! If you have any questions, please contact me.