Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jumbled Sunshine Review: The NEW "Inbox by Gmail"

Have you heard about the new "Inbox by Google" email app? It's a whole new way to interact with your email account, and it may revolutionize the way we use email in our everyday lives. If you're afraid of change, no worries, this app works with Gmail, but it doesn't replace it. You can go back and forth between the two or totally ignore it and stick with what you're doing. But if you're brave and like new innovation, I recommend that you check it out!

As I've been looking for answers to various details about inbox, I ran across some articles criticizing the new interface as being too complicated. It's true that it takes a bit of time to get your mind wrapped around it because it's so un-email-like. But that's exactly what makes it's approach so fascinating and why I decided to try it out. Never fear - I have seen positive reviews, too.

So - I thought it would be fun to chime into the conversation with a positive review of my own. Here goes:

I love it!!!! 
(Wait, I think I need a few more exclamation points and loves...)
I Love, Love, Love It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep. That's my overall impression after using it for less than 24 hours. There are a few glitches in this first version, and some features that are missing (that are available in Gmail) that I'd like to see in the future. But Google is pretty good at improving and innovating when a program starts to take off with the public, so I guess we'll see how it evolves as time goes on.

In the meantime, here are a few resources to help you understand how Inbox works, and "My Take" on what's so awesome about the new system. (I'm not going into too many details because I want to get back to playing with my new Inbox!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

LDS General Conference October 2014

I had an absolutely WONDERFUL weekend listening to the live October 2014 session of LDS General Conference this weekend! During this religious gathering, members of the LDS church come together every 6 months, either in-person or virtually through internet & TV broadcast, to hear counsel of the church leaders. It is a wonderful group of meetings - open to the public - in which to feel the comradeship of sharing faith and testimony with others throughout the world.

Birds-eye view of the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, which seats over 20,000 people and hosts this world-wide religious conference every 6 months.

Why General Conference?

Everyone needs a refreshing break from the ¨daily grind¨ to renew and rest the soul from the cares of the world. LDS General Conference provides such a break for me. On Conference weekend, there are no meetings in the local church buildings, so my kids (and me) love the fact that we don't have to get dressed up and go to church! In fact, we can watch conference in our PJ's if we want to! And we usually do. :)

Here's my family listening to General Conference as broadcast on BYUTV through Direct TV - Sunday Oct 4th, 2014. Notice the spot with the BYU football pillow? That's the space where I was taking notes on my laptop before I got up to take the picture. :) Starting on the far right, Steven and Melissa are playing with Legos while we listen, Christianna is crocheting slippers, Joshua and Joseph are playing mindless games on their devices to help themselves not fall asleep, and Katilyn's braiding a hemp cord bracelet. This type of church is ¨heaven¨ for a family!! :) Note - Lonny is upstairs in the kitchen (probably killing flies) to keep himself alert while he listens. Jessica is in Salt Lake City watching the session LIVE at the Conference Center!

Live-Tweeting #ldsconf

This year I ¨live-tweeted¨ all through conference using #ldsconf, and there were so many great quotes and pictures that I was able to share and have shared with me through this fun social media outlet! Currently, General Conference weekend is one of the only times I actually use Twitter - but it's so fun that I just might try to make a habit of using Twitter a little more often. To see my Twitter feed and all the great quotes and photos I shared during the 2-day conference, visit:

Because I Have Been Given Much...

Here's just a very small 2 minute sample of one of the most powerful conference addresses from this weekend by Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Grab a hanky! And remember - because we have been given much, we too must give.

I can't begin to tell you how many great and motivating messages we heard this weekend. And so much of it applies to life no matter what religion you are. If you want a real treat, then take some time to listen to, watch, and read the recorded talks as they become available over the next few days here:

LDS General Conference Memes

Lastly, there are always hundreds of memes created for all the great quotes that happen during the six 2-hour sessions that comprise General Conference. Here are a few of my favorites from this weekend:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Your Family History

It's that FUN time of the year again - BYU Education Week! I love being on the BYU campus again, seeing the beautiful flowers and smelling that aroma that floats through the air that reminds me of all the good times when I was a student here. Last year I discovered the joy of joining the Hosting Staff at Education Week, which means that I get to spend a portion of my day serving others instead of just filling myself up all day. And the best part? I get in all week FREE - so it's a win-win! 

So right now I'm sitting in a class called "Blog Your Family History" and the teacher gave some great ideas about what types of things could be blogged about when sharing your family history. Then she started sharing the specifics of how to create a blog, post to a blog, etc, which I have just a little teeny bit of experience with, so I decided that I would type up a post while I'm half-listening to the presentation. :) I've gleaned some great ideas, though, which is always the case with Education Week presentations. Any class I go to always has some value, and others... can I just say that I have found incredible gems in my years of attending!

Here are some of the great ideas for what you can do with a Family History Blog:
  • Record & share general family history research
  • Create a place to post family newsletters so everyone can keep in contact
  • Post new information regarding research on a certain culture or location
  • Post mini family history lessons and tips
  • Organize missionary letters
  • Travel adventures
  • Scripture study notebook
  • Journals
  • Family recipes
  • Track pregnancy with pictures (kids, grandkids)
  • Ancestral stories
  • Memories of relatives and ancestors
  • Quotes about family history
  • Funny family stories
  • Ancestor “birthday blog” - write a story “on their birthday”
  • And for more ideas....
  • Find genealogical blogs to read and follow to see what others are posting!
One point they made in the class is that if you are posting things about living people, you need to make sure you have their permission to share the information. An alternative is to create a "private" blog and only share it with people in your family.

Anyway, I don't think I'll be starting a "family history blog" any time soon, because I don't have time for any more new projects!! (And quite honestly, because I would probably do it for awhile and then quit...) BUT - I will add a new "label" called "Family History" so that when the whim hits me I can simply post some great family history stuff right here on Jumbled Sunshine! :)

Class has ended.... so off I go to the next one! I'm going to be brave and just post this without editing or anything, so hopefully it's not too wrought with imperfections! ;) Until next time....


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

6 Easy Steps to Using Feedly and Chrome for One-Click RSS Feed Subscriptions

Just a miscellaneous tidbit today. . . 

Have you tried to sign up for an RSS feed and been frustrated when you get a bunch of "gobbledy-gook" after clicking on the little orange RSS feed icon? ME TOO! 

Or. . . Have you always wondered what the heck an RSS feed is? Been there, done that. 

Here's a little tutorial to help you out. 
Stock Image by Leo Blanchette
Credit HERE

An RSS Feed is simply a text version of new posts on a website (usually a blog). By subscribing to RSS feeds, you can read updates of all your favorite blogs and websites in one place, instead of having to surf the web to visit all your favorite sites. It's a great idea, but since they discontinued Google Reader, it's been tough to find a good replacement RSS Feed Reader. Until NOW. 

I did a little bit of searching and figured out a solution that's working well for me. I used Feedly and Chrome RSS Subscription Extension together. Here's how you can set it up in 6 easy steps!

How to Add RSS Feeds to Feedly Using a One-Click Chrome Extension

1. Set up an account at I recommend that you use the "sign in with Google Account option" so everything will seamlessly integrate with the Chrome extension.

2. Install the Chrome RSS subscription extension ( This extension puts the familiar orange RSS icon in your URL bar whenever a site you're visiting has a feed.

2. Go to a site that has an RSS feed (i.e. - You will see the little orange icon pop up on the far right side of your address bar. Right click on it and then choose "options."

3. In options, you will see "RSS Subscription Options" at the top. Click on “add…” button and fill it out like so (you'll only have to do this the first time you subscribe to a feed):
(note: if you copy & paste, you'll need to add a space to the end before the OK button will pop up)

4. Delete the other RSS feed options to make Feedly your default. 

5. It’s done! Now when visiting a website which provide RSS, you will see the RSS icon in the multibox, Click on it to quickly add the feed to your Feedly account. 

6. To read your subscriptions, login at and read away!

Hope this helps some of you who have been wanting to find a replacement for your Google Reader!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ward Cousins Performing at Malad Idol!

I love my cute nephews!

Left to Right: Jayson Spencer, Collin Spencer, Benjamin Ward, Porter Ward, and Lance Ward.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Ballad of the Broken-Down Cars

Image from North Geelong Radiator Center
I didn't want to get on here and complain, so I haven't said anything on Facebook or anywhere else, but my life has been SO ridiculous this week that it's just downright funny now! So I just had to share.

The short story? Hubby in Africa, both vehicles break down, internet goes out, stranded twice. 


Here's the timeline:

MONDAY - Lonny flies to Malawi, nearly misses his flight, then the last leg is delayed and he spends the night in the airport in Nairobi. But he finally arrives safely - yay!

TUESDAY - Our 1999 Cadillac Seville overheats just driving a few miles to Santaquin, even though the coolant was filled before the very short trip. We decide not to drive it anymore until my brother-in-law, Lyle, (who is my hero when Lonny is gone!) can check it out for me.

WEDNESDAY night - Our 2002 Chevy Express Van's battery light starts glowing. I've never seen it happen, so I ask Lyle about it and he agrees to look at it when he comes over Friday. Also, our internet starts having issues, so we have on/off internet & phone all day. This continues throughout the week. Lonny's having internet issues too, so no communication with him in Africa.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why I Love the Miss Genola Program

Last year three of my daughters participated in the Miss Genola Program, one as a "Miss Genola" contestant, one as a Junior Miss participant, and one as a committee member. We were all hesitant to get involved at first, because I have never been in a "pageant" in my life, I've never had a desire to do so, and my girls have pretty much followed my lead on that.

However, last winter my oldest daughter, Jessica, was asked by Kristy Green, to participate on the Miss Genola committee. Jessica loves Sister Green so readily agreed to help. When she heard what the program was going to be all about, she said to herself, "Now THAT'S the kind of program I want to be involved with!" Once she agreed, Jessica set about to convince her sisters that they should all participate. She got a lot of push-back, because... well, I already told you why - we just don't do pageants.

But then Jessica mentioned to 16 year old Katilyn that there would be a scholarship for the winners of the program. This started to get our attention a little! So, we decided to go to the Introductory Brunch and see what it was all about. By the time we left, we were psyched about participating in Miss Genola! 

Why? I'll tell you why! This is no ordinary program!

In fact, it's not really a typical pageant at all, in the sense that many of us think of pageants. First of all, it's very far removed from being a "beauty" pageant, because the contestants' scores are based only 10% on appearance. Yeah. Really! No swimming suits, no prancing about, no immodest attire. In fact, the program focuses primarily on inner beauty, service, building strength, and developing friendships. 

If it's not a Typical Beauty Pageant, then What's it All About?

Well let me tell you about one of our gatherings, and you decide for yourself.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blog Spotlight: DIY Confessions & A New Journal Idea

This morning I read a post on the Flylady mailing list about a recipe for homemade bathtub cleaner posted on a blog called "DIY Confessions." I went to, anxious to see what other fun household tips they had. I was surprised to see that the current post on the home page was not about housekeeping at all. It's title read: "Seven Tips to Eliminate Postpartum Depression."

This caught my attention for a couple of reasons. First, because I have been feeling kind of blue the last few weeks. Second, because I am no stranger to the whole "baby blues" thing, after having given birth to 7 children in 13 years! Though my youngest is now 9 years old, and baby blues are far behind me, I have friends who may be dealing with postpartum issues.

So - I started reading.

The very first tip caught my eye because I think it's such a great idea, whether you're dealing with actual depression, or if you're just wanting a really great way to end each day with some positive closure. Although, I have a confession of my own: Being the jumbled person that I am,  I haven't actually read the rest of the tips in the article because I got so excited about sharing the first one with all of you - my jumbled friends - that I came over here to start writing and never finishing reading the post! hahaha... oh well! It's a really good tip, so I'm sure the rest are great too! ;) Here it is....

Keep a journal. 

Simple, right? But how can that help? Here's a bit of what blogger Ceara said about it: "This was actually the most effective tool I used! I would just write these three questions out before bed and answer them: 
  1. What was the high point of my day? 
  2. What was the low point of my day? 
  3. What am I looking forward to tomorrow? 
  4. I eventually started added a verse as well that I found encouraging. 
She continues: "I saw how shallow the lowest point of my day was. You know, the thing that was supposedly ruining my life? Yeah, when I looked at it on paper it didn’t seem so bad."
Here's a picture of one of Ceara's actual journal entries.
Wow - this is SO SIMPLE and yet SO PROFOUND! Writing in a journal can really be a great way to get your feelings on paper and give some closure to each day. In fact, my husband Lonny told me once that he doesn't sleep as well if he hasn't written in his journal, because it gets rid of all of that stuff that's bouncing around in his head, and gets it out on paper so he can rest.

I love the four points that Ceara suggests including in your journal entry each day. Instead of being overwhelmed by trying to catalog everything that happened that day, you can just write a few simple things to get an overall view. Being able to think back on the day and identify something great that happened as well as something tough that happened helps you to take a step back from your life and see it from a different perspective. And listing what you are looking forward to tomorrow? What a great way to give yourself a reason to get out of bed the next morning!

I've been keeping a journal fairly regularly on and off since I was a teenager, and I've been working at getting my habit back "on" since 2014 started. My goal has been to write just 5 sentences every night, no matter how tired I am. I did really well in January (don't we all?) and then dropped off a bit in February. So - March is a new month, and I'm going to use this idea to get myself motivated to write more often again. Tonight I'm going to write about my high point, my low point, and what I'm looking forward to tomorrow. PLUS - a scripture verse - love those!! 

How about you? You may want to give the journal thing a try! 

If you'd like to read the full post and learn about Ceara's other six suggestions for eliminating post-partum depression (which I haven't read yet, lol!), visit DIY Confessions for yourself at You'll also find "tutorials for DIY projectscraftingthrifted findsdelicious recipes, the joys of motherhoodtips & tricks and green cleaning." 

Thanks for reading, and have a marvelous day! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Teach Kids About Internet Safety and Digital Manners

I just found this fantastic site created by Common Sense Media that teaches kids about online safety and digital manners in a fun game-like atmosphere. I've been playing a few of the games myself for the past hour or so! :)
I am so grateful for companies that create things like this to help parents teach and protect our children. Thank you Common Sense Media!

Check it out!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jumbled Sunshine Review:

Today it's getting harder and harder to judge a movie by it's rating. Take, for instance, the controversy over the MPAA rating of "Philomena" which was contested by the producer and allowed a lower rating. Who is determining what type of criteria is used to rate our movies? How do they exactly decide what makes a movie appropriate for which rating? And are these people someone that parents should trust to be making this decision for them?

This lack of consistency can be especially discouraging for parents who are trying to make sure the movies and TV shows their children see are age appropriate for their children, and customize what their family views for the personal needs of each child's personality and sensitivities. Every family is different, so trying to "rate" a movie based on ambiguous guidelines can be really tough. What one parent thinks is horrific may be totally acceptable to another parent. What's a parent to do?

I like to look up parental reviews for movies and TV shows before I watch them, especially if I am going to watch them with my kids. Occassionally I will share various sites that do parental reviews and give my thoughts on them. Here is my first "parental review site review." ;)

Jumbled Sunshine Review:

  • Overview:
    • My go-to parental review site in the late 90's and early 2000's when my kids were small, through the 1990's when my kids were small, is a great website that focuses on simply giving parents information about what's in a movie so you they can choose for themselves. 
  • Cost:
    • I haven't used the site as much recently because they now charge for membership (I can't tell how much from the main site anymore), and I just didn't find myself using it often enough to be worth paying. However, I totally understand why they need to charge, since they have to find a way to pay the people who meticulously go through the movies. 
    • One month membership is $7.95, or you can pay for a year for $47.00. They are currently offering a free 3-day full-access pass to their site that requires only your name and email address to sign up for. 
    • They also offer a 30-day full money back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the service. So as long as you don't forget to cancel (like some busy parents may do!,) you've got nothing to lose.
  • Rating System:
    • Their rating system is great for parents who don't want someone else to tell them whether it's a good movie or not, but want to see what's in it and decide for themselves. It's an excellent approach. They make no attempt to rate the movie or say whether or not is it appropriate for children - that's up to the parent to decide.
    • They take everything that happens in a movie and categorize it into various areas such as violence, profanity, sexual content, etc. They list the number of occurrences of each type of thing in movie. You can look at the overview which rates each category on how often it occurs. The more times it occurs, the more intense the rating will be. For example: 
      • profanity - mild
      • violence - heavy
      • smoking - none
      • etc.
    • OR - you can click on the details of each category and see specifically what occurs in the movie. These details may contain spoilers, of course, but if you're looking up a G-rated movie and it says the nudity category is "mild," it's nice to go read the details to see if it's a big deal or not. 
      • Case in point - When I looked up Mulan years ago, it was listed as "mild" for the nudity category. Shocked, I clicked on the details to read what was considered "mild nudity." and remembered the scene where the soldiers are skinny dipping and Mulan looks up and obviously sees one of the characters on the beach. She covers her eyes, and it's obvious that she has seen more than she wanted to see. This is not obvious nudity, but it's good to be aware of as a parent before you take your kids to the movie, especially a "family-friendly" cartoon. That scene didn't bother me when I saw it, so it was intersting to see it written out in black and white.
  • Summary
    • Like I said before, I used all through the early years of my kids' growing up, and it never let me down. Though I haven't logged into the website recently, if it's anything like it used to be, it is a great option for parents who want to know what's in movies and don't mind paying a bit to do so. Get your free 3-day pass and decide for yourself!


Coming Soon - Jumbled Sunshine Review of

Monday, February 3, 2014

Saying Yes to Mess - Another Perspective on Clutter

The New York Times published this article in December 2006 about the fact that perhaps we should embrace clutter, because it is the mark of creativity. While extreme, the article was an interesting take on the recent phenomenon of the past several decades in which everyone beats themselves up about not being organized enough.

New York Times Opinion:

Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:

"It is a truism of American life that we’re too darn messy, or we think we are, and we feel really bad about it. Our desks and dining room tables are awash with paper; our closets are bursting with clothes and sports equipment and old files; our laundry areas boil; our basements and garages seethe. And so do our partners — or our parents, if we happen to be teenagers.
"This is why sales of home-organizing products, like accordion files and labelmakers and plastic tubs, keep going up and up, from $5.9 billion last year to a projected $7.6 billion by 2009, as do the revenues of companies that make closet organizing systems, an industry that is pulling in $3 billion a year, according to Closets magazine.

"This is why January is now Get Organized Month, thanks also to the efforts of the National Association of Professional Organizers, whose 4,000 clutter-busting members will be poised, clipboards and trash bags at the ready, to minister to the 10,000 clutter victims the association estimates will be calling for its members’ services just after the new year.

"But contrarian voices can be heard in the wilderness. Ananti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people are not avatars of the good life; they are humorless and inflexible prigs, and have way too much time on their hands."


Jumbled Sunshine's Opinion:

My take? The truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes of "too much" clutter and "too much" neatness. What do you think?

Here's a link to the full article:

~ JS ~

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Power of Full Engagment

Just in case you haven't noticed. . . I have a teeny tiny bit of a problem with consistency. I keep telling myself that it's okay because, after all, this blog is called "Jumbled Sunshine" for a reason, right?!? And that excuse is true to some extent. . . . it leaves me free to write whenever and whatever I want and not "ruin" the theme of the blog, because it's for busy, jumbled people like me, right?!

Yes. . . er . . . No. . . er. . . Well, kind of.

Honestly, I think I'm just kidding myself to think that it's okay to let MONTHS go by without posting. Don't you think? I mean, the whole point of this blog is to support those of you out there who are also "jumbled" to one extent or another. And how in the world can I support you if I don't put anything on here?!?!?

Um, yeah. . .  that's a bit of an issue.

SO - I need to let go of my perfectionism and stop waiting for "enough time" to do a post "right" and just write a post! I like that phrase: Don't wait to do it just right — just WRITE!

SO - I'm back! And I have some unfinished business to take care of from previous posts, which I am bound and determined to finish! But first things first. . .

Today's Book Spotlight

Join the Conversation!

I'd love to have you connect up with me on social media. For a list of all the places where we can connect online, visit: I'd love to get to know you, see your channel, your page, your social media stuff that you're doing out there. I just love learning and meeting people and connecting with people, so I'm excited to get to know you. ~JS~ 🌞