Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So what's your favorite cereal?

What are the 5 top-selling cereals in America?

Here's the results of at least one survey:

1-General Mills Cheerios
2-Kellogg's Special K
3-Post Honey Bunches of Oats
4-Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
5-Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats

In an earlier Zogby survey, Kellogg's Raisin Brain was listed as the top choice.

But not for kids!

However, age was a significant factor in cereal preference. Among respondents under the age of 30, Cinnamon Toast Crunch outperformed every other cereal.

When my kids were growing up, I had to walk a fine line when it came to cereal purchases. If I got something really good--like the aforementioned Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, or even Lucky Charms--well, I would be lucky to see those boxes of cereal survive until breakfast the next morning.

On the other hand, if I got something that was really good for them, like Cheerios or Raisin Bran,--or really cheap, like Corn Flakes--the boxes would go untouched for weeks.

So I had to get something that was good for them and tasted OK, but not so delicious that they felt that had to raid the box during distinctly NON-breakfast times of day.
Better to get something like Life or even Honey-Nut Cheerios. Something that tasted good, but not so good that it wouldn't stay around a while.

And OK, I admit it. I've been known to reach for a cereal box when it isn't breakfast time. And when you've eaten all the cereal in your bowl, and there's still a sizable amount of milk left, of COURSE you have to put more cereal in the bowl, right?

As for my favorite cereals, I think I'd have to say Grape-Nuts Flakes and Grape Nuts are at the top of the list, followed closely by various Chex cereals. And in cold weather, I do enjoy oatmeal.

So, what's YOUR favorite cereal? Or do you usually just bypass cereal altogether?

I'd love to know.

And I leave you with a chuckle..from College Humor.com, this from "If Boring Cereals Had Mascots":

Photo credits:

1st photo
2nd photo
3rd photo
4th photo
5th photo

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

You never lived to see
What you gave to me
One shining dream of hope and love
Life and liberty

With a host of brave unknown Soldiers
For your company, you will live forever
Here in our memory--Frank Musker, "Band of Brothers" theme (Requiem for a Soldier)

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. ~Benjamin Disraeli

They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
~Francis Marion Crawford

Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
~Will Carleton

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Paris, Je T'aime

You know, I was without internet for several days, and I completely forgot that I was supposed to participate in Castles, Crowns and Cottages' Paris Party today! So, better late than never, right? Here's my tribute to a place I've never been too, but often dreamed about going!




“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”-- Ernest Hemingway


Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.--John Berger


Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.--Honoré de Balzac



I love Paris in the summer, when it sizzles.--Cole Porter


Everything ends this way in France - everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs -everything is a pretext for a good dinner.-
Jean Anouilh


This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain’s very important. That’s when Paris smells its sweetest. It’s the damp chestnut trees.--Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina

I leave you with one of my francophile daughter's favorite French songs. Enjoy...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thoughts on this season's Biggest Loser

Olivia Ward's amazing transformation

Listen to my 4-minute podcast, or just read the post below!

Well, I finally--belatedly--was able to watch the Biggest Loser season finale, and since I've been commenting on it all season long, I thought I'd wrap it up with my final thoughts.

First of all, I am really glad Olivia won! To be honest, the sisters--Hannah and Olivia--weren't my favorites from the beginning. Although I'm all about sisterhood, their giddy comments and "OMG!"s occasionally got on my nerves.

As the season progressed, though, I grew to really admire those two. Their all-out determination and gung-ho attitude and competitive spirits impressed me.

It eventually became clear to me, just in recent weeks, that it was actually Olivia that I wanted to win it all.

I'm sure Hannah is an awesome girl, and kudos to her for all she's accomplished. I think she looked lovely at the finale.

But it just seemed to me that Olivia was a bit more mature, her spirit and attitude a bit more seasoned and balanced. I just felt that she would be a terrific spokeswoman for The Biggest Loser. So I was truly delighted when she won it all.

Olivia on Access Hollywood

Now for just a few random comments about the finale...

...Congrats to Deni for winning the at-home competition! I always thought she was a sweet and lovely lady, and she certainly went the distance at home.

...I read that Rulon was invited to appear at the finale, despite the fact that he had left the show voluntarily and couldn't be part of the at-home competition, but the show's producers never heard back from him. Kinda weird. Rulon was never my favorite, but I would have liked to have seen him again.

...Is trainer Cara pregnant, or has she just been choosing clothes that really emphasize her slightly bulging tummy? My husband pointed it out on one of the last shows, and her dress really emphasized it at the finale, but nothing was said. In fact, it seemed Cara was rather slighted when it came to any attention given to the trainers.

...I've also read that Brett and Cara are not going to be back on the show. When they introducted Anna Kournakova, I assumed she would be replacing Jillian but that the new trainers would be back. Bummer. I really grew to like Brett and Cara.

...Random question...why do the returning female contestants feel the need to dress as skimpily as possible? I know they're proud to show off their new bodies, but some of them should realize that everything isn't worthy of being displayed. In fact, some of the dresses can be downright unflattering. (By the way, I'm not talking about Olivia or even Hannah here--they looked amazingly toned in their dresses.)

For example, some of them just don't have pretty legs--do you really need to display them in a miniskirt? And when trying on those strapless dresses, shouldn't the question "How is this going to make my arms look while I'm waving to the audience?" be one to consider?

Don't get me wrong, I totally applaud these women for accomplishing something that is VERY difficult, and I can understand their justifiable pride in their new bodies. I'm just saying, maybe they don't need to bare quite as much as they do. End of mini-rant. :)

Still one of my faves

All in all, despite its excesses, audience manipulation and sometimes manufactured drama, The Biggest Loser remains one of my very favorite shows. I love the transformations that take place. I get inspired by the hard work and dedication of the contestants. I end up truly caring about the participants.

I already can't wait until the next season!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From the Archives: 13 Photos from my Family's Past

(originally posted 3/13/08)

My son recently scanned some old family photos for me, so I thought I would share them. Thanks for indulging me as I take a walk down Memory Lane. Here we go:

1. My beautiful mother at the age of 9

2. My dad as a high school football player in the late 40's

3. I'm the baby being held by my dad. To the left of my mom in the picture is my great-aunt Cynthia, for whom my mother was named, then I was named for my mother. Taken at Doling Park in Springfield, Missouri.

4. I'm the little one with the manic smile. With my sister Bev and our family of dolls

5. As a missionary family in the Middle East, circa 1966. With the Dome of the Rock in the background, Jerusalem.

6. On a camel in the Holy Land, July 1966. Behind me is my friend Cindy Aynes...she is now married and a missionary in New Zealand.

7. Me as a very serious Bible college student, circa 1975.

8. The blushing bride! August 19, 1978

9. Me and Doug after tying the knot! Wow, we look so young...we were so young.

10. With my darling sisters, Lisa and Beverly, on the Big Day.

11. My little scamps, Jonathan and Justin, circa 1986. Can't you just see the mischief in their eyes? Were they ever that little?

12. Me and Elizabeth, Mother-Daughter Banquet, 1988. I was so excited to have a daughter to bring!

13. Mother-Daughter Banquet, 1989. Obviously I liked dressing us alike!

Go here to participate in Thursday Thirteen!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Middle": Not Quite Your Typical TV Family

One of the TV series that has apparently been given a third chance at life by ABC's Powers That Be is a little gem of a show called "The Middle."

I have to admit, I almost passed over this little show entirely. Apparently this is its second season, and I just recently started watching it... but lately it's been on my list of things to make sure are DVR'd.

Why? Well, it's laugh-out-loud funny. And it stubbornly refuses to portray television's perfect family, always complete with flawless good looks and decorator-magazine homes.

Not that Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn and their three TV kids are ugly. They're just REAL.

The situations that Mike and Frankie Heck and their children find themselves in are so genuine, strike such a chord, and hit so close to home that at times it's almost painful--but not painful enough to keep you from guffawing.

Heaton and Flynn are perfect as a Midwestern couple just trying (desperately, at times) to get by and raise their children to be decent people.

Their teen-aged son Axl (Charlie McDermott) is cute enough, but lazy and often disrespectful. His outrage at his parents' strictures is comical--but you get the feeling that he will turn out to be a perfectly good guy.

A recent episode saw him having to follow through with a prom date with a weird girl that he had accidentally invited (by text message, of course. And we can kind of forgive him, because she was one of a plethora of "Ashleys" at his school--who wouldn't get confused?).

Axl did the right thing, even though we as the audience could clearly see that he was going to have a terrible night. (I do wish Axl wouldn't use the Lord's name in vain so often.)

Eden Sher as junior-high daughter Sue Heck is nothing short of delightful. Her unbridled enthusiasm and undaunted cheerfulness and determination help her navigate through the often painful pitfalls that we all know comprise the middle-school experience.

Sue is far from being precociously gorgeous and/or sexy. She's like most junior high students, like I was (if you ever had the unfortunate chance to see my junior high yearbook)--socially awkward and not very pretty. Nevertheless, she's adorable.

And Brick. Brick is one of the best things about the show. In real life, Atticus Shaffer has a disease called osteogenesis imperfecta, type IV , which causes him to have extremely fragile bones.

This hasn't stopped Atticus from having a great acting career as a 12-year-old playing a character 3 years younger than himself. Brick is very intelligent, very quirky, and very funny. I love his habit of whispering to himself the last word of a sentence he has just uttered.

The Hecks' home in Orson, Indiana, isn't perfect either. The home decor seems to represent some of the more regrettable colors and choices of midwestern living, and it's not always (in fact, rarely) perfectly clean and uncluttered.

If you like to laugh...and maybe you're a little fed up with perfect TV families...you might want to check out "The Middle."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Biggest Loser Update: Down to the Final Four

It's been a while since I've done a Biggest Loser update, but I have been watching the show. And now we're just a couple of weeks away from the finale, and the Final Four are in place!

From the beginning of this season, my favorite contestant was Courtney, and I was crushed when she was eliminated--way too early, in my opinion. Courtney had the spirit and determination that could have helped her win it all.

After she left, I cast about for my remaining favorites, and I soon realized that they are the sisters, Hannah and Olivia.

To be honest, I wasn't always so crazy about them...but as the weeks have gone by, these two have definitely emerged as my favorites. Honestly, I would be fine with either one of them winning, and that could very well happen.

Last night, Austin was voted off. That leaves Jay, Irene, Hannah and Olivia.

I hope it's not mean of me to say that I've just always felt Jay is a little boring. I like Irene, but she's been quiet for the most part and fairly under-the-radar.

Olivia before, and on the make-over episode

I just really, really like the sisters. I think they've shown remarkable strength and determination, and I think I identify with them because I love my own sisters so much.

It's also been amazing to watch their transformation into such lovely and confident women. (And were you blown away when Olivia sang last week?)

So what do you think? Do you have a favorite among the final four? Let me know in my comments section!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Boomer Quiz: A Trip Down Memory Lane!

(This was originally posted 6/21/05...)

Remember "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony"?

Remember reaching into a huge cooler of pop bottles chilling in ice-cold water? Remember taking a long swig of Coca-Cola that was so cold it had slivers of ice in it? Remember paying 20 cents a gallon for gasoline? Remember listening to top 40 AM radio?

If you do, you're probably a baby boomer.

My 101QFL cohost, Darren Marlar, gave me this quiz on the air this morning, and it was a nice little walk down Memory Lane:


Look at the items below. You'll know that you qualify as a true Baby Boomer if you remember...

1. "Cruising" on a Friday night, listening to the Top 40 on your AM radio.--(Oh, yeah! I don't even remember being aware of FM radio until I was a sophomore or junior in high school...and it definitely wasn't top 40.)

2. How much popcorn you made when you got that first microwave.

3. When there were only 3 TV channels -- and it was so hard to choose what to watch!--(At least you didn't need a remote!)

4. Where you were when JFK was shot...(or RFK)...(or MLK, Jr.)...


5. When the "Domino Theory" meant something other than planning to have pizza for dinner.

6. Who shot J.R.?

7. How scary it was to open that first Apple II...(or Tandy)...(or Commodore)...to add a card to increase the RAM from 16K all the way up to 64K.

8. When your teenage son or daughter first told you about the Internet.--(I'm on the young side for that one--my kids weren't teen-agers yet, but I remember when news stories were trumpeting the soon arrival of what they kept calling "the information superhighway.)

9. When the Beatles sang "I want to hold your hand" to Ed Sullivan.--(Yep.)

10. The unbelievable taste of good ol' Ripple wine.--(Have to pass on that one.)

11. How "neat" it was to hear the Beach Boys actually sing surfing music at the beach, on your transistor radio.--(Transistor radios! Loved 'em. My sister had one that looked exactly like a Coke can. My mom said she almost threw it away a million times, thinking it really was a Coke can.)

12. When you bought your first car that actually had seatbelts installed.--(Not really...I always remember seatbelts being there.)

13. When you said that you'd never trust anyone over 30.--(Nope...that was the "hippie" era. I was still pretty young then.)

14. What a TV test pattern looked like, when the channel went off the air at midnight.--(Yep, and the national anthem playing which meant it was time to go to bed. That was actually a good thing--a point at which you could NO LONGER WATCH TV.)

15. When we gave up trying to win "hearts and minds" and settled for "peace with honor".

16. When the price of gas jumped up to 50 cents per gallon.

17. When everybody did the "bump" in their leisure suits at the disco.--(I never frequented discos, but I sure do remember that era. Eeesh...leisure suits. How could we have ever thought those were cool? I bet they take hundreds of years to decompose in the landfills...)

18. Making love, not war, on your way to Woodstock in your flowered VW van.--(Again, too early for me.)

19. Watching the first man walk on the moon with "one small step..."--(Yep, I was glued to the (black and white) TV when that happened.)

20. When Carnaby Street came to Main Street, and everyone wore mini-skirts and platform shoes.


How many of those items do you remember?

Add up your score and compare with the grade levels below:

16 - 20 remembered: You qualify as a true Baby Boomer -- you were there and remember it all.

11 - 15 remembered: You're probably old enough, but they say that "memory is one of the first things to go..."

6 - 10 remembered: It's nice to have you youngsters join us here today.

Less than 6 remembered: Either you're real young or you once were a friend of Timothy Leary's -- wasn't he the one who said "If you remember the '60's, then you weren't really there?"

I have a few to add to the list

Remember when every girl wore their hair long, straight and parted down the middle? You could look at your high school yearbook and it would be rows and rows of girls with that look (except for the black girls, whose Afros were so big they sometimes didn't fit in the picture.)

With my naturally curly hair, oh what pains I took to obtain that look. I spent every night with my hair in a pony-tail on top of my head, rolled into two enormous rollers bigger than orange juice cans.

Remember, years earlier than that (circa 1968, '69) when everyone wore fishnet hose? The really cool girls had different colored ones to match with every outfit.

Remember when yarn ribbons were the must-have accessory for hair?

Remember Dippity-do?

Did you have a crush on either of the guys on Alias Smith and Jones? (Read about my crush on Pete Duel.)

Which Monkee did you think was the cutest?

Got any to add to the list?
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