My Hometown!

My Hometown!

Centerville, Utah!  My Hometown!

The fun town that I’ve had the privilege of calling home for a number of years is celebrating its 100th birthday this year!  Centerville, Utah and the surrounding areas have provided a great place to raise my family and experience the many blessings that go hand in hand with a wonderful community!  As exciting as it is to plan a summer trip away from home, anticipating the arrival of my daughter and her husband from New York City in the next few weeks, allows me the neat opportunity to rediscover so many of the great things I love about my hometown!

Centerville, Utah on map

I love that Centerville has seemingly maintained its small town feel, but has all the amenities of a big city just a short drive down the freeway in Salt Lake City.

 Things I Love To Do In And Around My Hometown!

     Good Eats: 

I’m going to start with some great places to eat since food is often the centerpiece of so many memorable activities!  Although Centerville can now boast an “In and Out” burger joint, among other popular restaurant chains, it’s a couple of locally owned food establishments that make eating in my hometown so unique!

♦The Mandarin♦ 

Tucked away on a corner lot of a residential neighborhood is one of our favorite places to eat!  Not only do we enjoy the food and the atmosphere of this quaint, Chinese restaurant, we love the owner Greg Skedros, who you’ll find most nights wandering around the tables visiting with his patrons.  Mr. Skedros is also active in the community and offers a full scholarship to a qualifying student each year when they graduated from high school.

Mandarin Restaurant in Bountiful, Utah  The Mandarin is also the first place of employment for many local teenagers where one of the most important things they learn is great work ethic.  My son and youngest daughter were both employed at the Mandarin as they worked to save money for college.       

Mandarin Restaurant's cashew chicken.

(via Urban Spoon)

The Mandarin serves a variety of great Chinese dishes including some that are more spicy Szechuan style…their cashew chicken is one of our favorites!

Mandarin Restaurant's Chocolate Fallen Angel Cake

(via Urban Spoon)

The desserts at the Mandarin are not only delicious, but work beautiful works of art too–my granddaughters absolutely love the Chocolate Fallen Angel cake with orange cream ice cream!

♦Dairy Queen♦

I found out not too long ago that most Dairy Queen hamburger joints are owned and managed locally, and while I won’t even pretend to know the exact formula for success that is recommended to help a small business thrive, I do know that they seem to have found the winning combination at Centerville’s Dairy Queen; so much so that my son-in-law will often joke that the steady stream of cars that are always lined up at the drive-thru window must be due to the fact that money or another coveted item is being handed out to customers!

Dairy Queen's Chocolate Mint Blizzard

One of the things my daughter, Mandi, seems to crave the most when she comes home to visit from NYC is a Dairy Queen Blizzard.  (She says there’s just nothing quite like it in New York–imagine that!)  One of my favorite flavors is Mint Chocolate Chip, but seriously, anything from their corn dogs to their fries and fry sauce to any of their delectable ice cream concoctions is worth the splurge once in a while!     

     Fun Times:

♦Bountiful Bowl♦

While there is plenty to do in my hometown that is worthy entertainment for most everyone in your family no matter their age, going bowling is definitely one of our family favorites.  I just love the happy, party vibes of a fun bowling alley!

Bountiful Bowling!

      There are also arcades, pool tables, yummy hamburgers and glow-in-the-dark, neon bowling on weekends at Bountiful Bowl!  (My husband recently told me that this neighborhood staple is up for sale and if new owners aren’t found, Bountiful Bowl may be closing its doors for good.  I’m was so sad to hear this news!)  


It’s no big secret that my granddaughters and I would gladly take up residency at Disneyland…but since that’s not really a possibility, it’s nice to be able to enjoy a bit of hometown magic of our own at Lagoon Amusement Park!

Lagoon Amusement Park!

Although Lagoon gets a thrilling new ride every few years, the iconic, white wooden roller coaster is the ride that park attendees flock to the most.  Built in 1921, this roller coaster is the seventh oldest roller coaster in the world and the fourth oldest in the United States!  (My oldest granddaughter, Makena, is just happy that she is finally tall enough that she is eligible to ride on it!)

     Outdoor Recreation:

♦Mueller Park♦

Utah is well-known for its many beautiful outdoor recreation spots, but it’s safe to assume that I’m definitely bias in saying that some of the most amazing ones are nearby where I live!  Mueller Park Picnic Area is one of those special places where along with my family, I look forward to spending some time each summer, hiking and cooking dinner over a camp fire.

Mueller Park in Bountiful, Utah!

Mueller Park has a total of 18 picnic areas available for day use only, (no overnight camping) where tables, campfire pits, grills, horse shoe ring toss, bike trails and other assorted amenities (including flushing toilets) are available for your use, all surrounded by mother nature’s scenic backdrop, making way for some of the most memorable times you’ll ever spend with family and friends! 

Mueller Park picnic area

Like many who come to Mueller Park picnic area, my granddaughters have come to love this little piece of heaven on earth and look forward to our time spent there each year!  (Check out our fun variation of making smores over a camp fire on this post.) 

♦Pineview Reservoir♦

Pineview Reservoir is a popular boating destination very close to my hometown, about 15 miles up Ogden Canyon.  My parents had a boat when I was growing up and my husband and I bought one when our children were still quite young, so Pineview has been a place where many eventful boating excursions have taken place!

Pineview Reservoir in Ogden, Utah

For those years where a “staycation” is in order, we load up the boat and head out to Pineview Reservoir for some much needed, relaxing playtime! 

Boating on Pineview Reservoir

For me, Pineview will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s where my kids and so many of their friends learned to waterski and enjoy so many fun occasions together–but mostly I just love being out on the water there on a gorgeous summer day!

From all the beautiful parks to the eclectic mix of new and old architecture and everything in between, no doubt it’s family and friends and the strong sense of community spirit that always makes our hometowns so near and dear to us!

Founders Park in Centerville, Utah.

Happy Birthday, Centerville, Utah!  100 years looks good on you!

I’d love to know what unique things or traditions that made your hometown special to you!


Healhty, Wealthy and Wise! Don’t Fry Day!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!  Don’t Fry Day!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!

In considering this month’s “Healthy Wealthy and Wise” blog post, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this weekend officially kicks off the fun summer months ahead.  Knowing that most everybody loves spending a good part of this happy season having “fun in the sun” so to speak, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared that the Friday before Memorial Day, “Don’t Fry Day” to help encourage sun safety and remind us all to take special precautions to protect our skin while enjoying the outdoors.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!  Don't Fry Day!

Having had to undergo treatment for skin cancer myself, this topic has become a personal passion, and so for that reason, I’ve decided to today’s post entirely on this subject matter; besides like my dad always used to say…

“There is good wisdom in seeking after those things that will help you maintain good health, because after all, feeling well is truly one of life’s richest blessings!” 

I grew up in the sun bathing, oil slathering generation somewhere in between the “baby boomers” and the “millennials” (…a lady never really tells her age…) and prided myself on a developing a good tan over the course of the summer, despite the fact that I had inherited my dad’s fair Norwegian skin tone and developed a smattering of freckles over my nose, cheeks and shoulders as I was growing up.

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!  Don't Fry Day!  www.mytributejournal.comMy parents also bought a boat when I was younger, so many summer weekends were spent playing on the beach, but even then–pre-sun screen emphasis–my mom often warned me to cover up and avoid too much sun exposure.  It was only as I got older and saw my dad undergo treatment for some pre-cancerous lesions that I started taking skin care more seriously–but as you can imagine, by then most of the sun damage had already taken place.

Safeguarding Your Skin From Harmful Sun Exposure!

Due to my skin cancer history, I now undergo a thorough skin evaluation at least yearly from my dermatologist, but even if you’ve been a sun-wise person, here are some common sense guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation that can help protect you against skin cancer!

  • Seek the shade–especially between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm–that is when the sun’s damaging ultraviolet light is the strongest.
  • Do not burn–even a single sunburn will increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths–the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention warns us that tanning is never safe whether you acquire it on the beach or in a salon; research indicates that even occasional sunbed use triples the chances of developing melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer!
  • Cover up–including a sun hat and UV blocking sunglasses.  Despite our ready access to good sun-blocking lotions today, clothing can be one of your most effective forms of sun protection.  (I wear a funky sun hat and long sleeves when I work in my yard now.) 
  • Use products with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or greater every day, all year round–during the winter months and even on cloudy days, 70-80 percent of the UV rays still travel through clouds and overcast skies.  Sun block should also be applied every two hours when skin is exposed to the sun.
  • Keep infants out of direct sunlight–a baby’s skin possesses little melanin, the pigment that gives skin color, therefore babies are more prone to the sun’s damaging effects.
  • Examine your skin from head to toe every month–including your scalp, under arms, hands, soles of your feet, and nail beds.  Skin damage can be quite elusive and present itself in the most unlikely of places, especially as you age.  Changes of any kind, such as a spot that is sore, itches, or forms a small crusty wound that never heals can all be signs and symptoms of skin cancer.

Skin cancer growths


When unprotected skin is overexposed to the harmful effects of UV sunlight, the DNA of cells is damaged and can lead to change (mutations) of the skin cell. 

(Although hard to look at, above you see: Basil cell and squamous cell carcinoma–crusty, blistering of a damaged skin spot that if treated early is a very curable form of skin cancer.  Any irregular and oozing dark moles or skin lesions are usually a sign of melanoma which need immediate attention and treatment from a skilled dermatologist!) 

The surprising rise in the rate of skin cancers found in young people, 20-30 years of age, has made the Council for Skin Cancer Prevention realize, more than ever before, that even with all the strides we have made in skin cancer research over the last several years, the public needs to be reminded again of the basics of skin care and cancer prevention so they came up with this unique and clever slogan:

Skin Caner Awareness poster

 Here’s to many sun safe and happy summers to come!

 I’d love to know any habits or products you advocate for better skin protection!


Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Magnesium, Money Tips And Mentors!

Healthy, Welathy And Wise!  Magnesium, Money Tips And Mentors!

This month’s “Healthy, Wealthy and Wise” post includes an easy way to boost vitality, some money tips I wish I would have taken to heart more when I was a young adult and first starting out in the “real” world, and how learning to better appreciate wise counsel shared by key people in our lives can ultimately help us tap into our true potential and give us a keener sense of purpose in life!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!

I feel like I have always tried to enjoy every opportunity to learn and grow, but as I get older, I can honestly say that I am more fully aware of the fact that each day, as mundane as they may seem, really is a wonderful occasion to celebrate life!

Celebrating life!“There is no such thing in life as an unimportant day…so celebrate them well!”  Alexander Woollcott

Being healthy.  www.mytributejournal.comNo doubt about it, there is definitely an abundance of information available out there on the importance of vitamin and supplement use that appear helpful in adding longevity to our lives!

Dr. David Angus explains in his book– “A Short Guide to a Long Life” that the body is a genius at creating its own free radicals that help sustain life in a more natural state of well-being:  “……if you block the body’s mechanism by taking copious amounts of vitamins, you block nature’s physiological process.”   

That being said, we are all aware that it’s hard to get the necessary nutrients by dietary consumption alone.  My personal physician recently informed me of the benefits of adding 400mg/day of Magnesium to my regular multivitamin.

According to research posted by WebMD…

1. Research shows that Magnesium can enhance memory by boosting nerve signal pathways in the brain; this ability also aids other neurological related symptoms such as migraines, insomnia and depression.

2. Calcium when taken with Magnesium is best absorbed  and leads to improved bone density, which helps prevent the onset of osteoporosis.

3. One of the most important benefits of Magnesium is linked to lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes by its ability to stabilize the heart’s normal sinus rhythm.

4. Magnesium aids in the metabolism of carbohydrate as well, and influences the release of insulin, thus, controlling blood sugar levels.

Healthy Wealthy And Wise!  Magnesium, Money Tips And Mentors!

 If I’m perfectly honest, I would still like to figure out a way to make chocolate my main source of vitamins and nutrients!

Gaining wealth.  www.mytributejournal.comAt this time of year, there are a number of young kids who are graduating and heading out to try their hand at chasing their dreams in the “real” world, so to speak.  In this day and age, I feel being armed with a common sense approach to our money habits is so important to the development of a healthy financial lifestyle.

I certainly wish I’d have taken to heart more some of the key points outlined in this article by three money editors of the New York Times when I was younger and earning my first paychecks.

$ Keep track of how you spend your money.  When I was younger, my parents had me write down my earnings and expenses in a bank check register.  Although I wasn’t as diligent at recording my financial activity as my dad and mom might have liked, over the years I have come to realize that by keeping a record of where my hard-earned money goes, I save more, I’m a lot less likely to be frivolous with expenses, and at the very least, I give thoughtful consideration to my budget.  (The fact that my husband is a financial planner plays in my favor as well! Ha!!)

$ Start saving/investing early.  I benefitted from my folk’s belief in this concept, especially when it came to offsetting the expenses that add up quickly when you head off to college.  My parents set up a savings account for each of their children shortly after we were born, then trusted us to manage it wisely for use in furthering our education and when we got married.  Nowadays, there are several smart savings options with big returns for an investment of as little as $100/month, like a Roth IRA or a workplace 401K, where many employers will match a percentage of your contributions.  My husband refers to this as “free” money!  Go figure!

$ Having fun doesn’t need to be expensive.   As parents, if we can teach our children that fun doesn’t necessarily need to have a big price tag on it, then their financial path will be that much more secure!  As stated in the New York Times article mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind all the fun times you have had without spending a lot of money.  Budgeting as a family for special activities and/or travel while keeping your spending in check, also teaches our children that we can enjoy a variety of activities as a family while not investing too heavily in material possessions that are beyond our means.  I think that the feeling of being overly burdened with big budget costs might even prove to take away from the fun of being together with loved ones!   

Much like my husband, I’m also a firm believer that how much money someone has isn’t always the best measure of their true wealth!

Teaching children good savings habits!

“Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it!”  Albert Einstein

Using wisdom.  www.mytibutejournal.comMy husband and I went on vacation to Hawaii last week, which obviously gave me some glorious beach time to relax and read a good book.  A week before leaving on our trip, I bought the book, “Resilience by Eric Greitens, a former Navy Seal,  (I know, not your usual tropical paradise light reading…?) because the preface of the title caught my attention….. “Hard-Won Wisdom For Living A Better Life: Resilience”!

This book is a compilation of the letters and wisdom written and shared by the author to another former Navy Seal and comrade who was struggling upon his return home to find his place in “normal” life.  Not only does Mr. Greitens offer practical advice on how to confront pain, build purpose in life, and ultimately create lasting happiness, but more importantly, because he has been involved iin charity work for children in countries like Rwanda, India and Cambodia, he is qualified to offer insights to the immense value of having special loved ones and caring mentors who invest in our lives and “show up” when we’re facing crisis and help us become better people even when going through hard times.

A quote on the book jacket states that, “Resilience is an inspiring meditation for the warrior in each of us!”  I found the words of wisdom shared in this book to be most inspiriing!

Good reading "Resilience" by Eric Greitens

“To realize the potential of the present, we need to heed the wisdom of the past.  When we see our struggles in the stories of those who have gone before us, we feel less alone.  We begin to see that there are sources of wisdom all around us!” 

from “RESILIENCE” by Eric Greitens

My sincere hope is that we can all draw on the best parts of who we are and always show compassion to those in need on any given day! 

I would feel honored to have you share any words of wisdom you have learned from a great mentor in your life!