Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quick trip to Salt Lake

 Jeff had the opportunity to speak twice this month. Once in New York and once in Provo, Ut. Since it was going to be a quick trip I decided to go with him. He was going to be speaking at BYU at an insurance convention.
We made arrangements for our nephew and his new wife to watch them for the time we were gone and we flew up to Utah. The kids are about old enough that they can almost take care of themselves and they did a great job being responsible while we were gone.
The flight to Utah was much better than the 5 hour red-eye flights we normally take to New York!
We could see the Y from our room.

I got to hear Jeff speak the next day. He gets the chance to speak more often than I get to watch him. I've only been able to attend his talks probably a handful of times.

He did a great job and his motivational speaking even helped me get motivated with some new goals and a change of attitude of my own. So I was glad I was able to go with him.

After his speech we headed to West Jordan for an appointment with one of Jeff's clients. My sister's house was a couple miles off his route so Jeff agreed to drop me off rather than go with him.
I got to hang out with Joel and Virginia and the boys. Jeff got back in time for him to visit for 1/2 hour before we had to head back to Provo for dinner. (I'm glad he dropped me off before his appointment ;)

Dinner was at a local place called Chef's Table. We enjoyed good food and was able to hang out with the other presenters for the convention. There were conversations on politics, the state of the economy, business ideas and more. We enjoyed handing out with both old and new friends.  

The next day we were flying home but we had a little bit of time to hang out with Joel and Virginia some more. Joel brought Jeff to his business lunch and Virginia and I went to Kneaders for lunch. I love this place. Kind of a bakery, deli and a craft boutique rolled into one.

Virginia and I did some craft store shopping while the boys finished their lunch. Before we went to the airport we headed into Salt Lake.
A few years ago Jeff and I had tried to go visit the Hatch Family Chocolate store that was featured on the Little Chocolatiers. It was closed when we went so we thought we'd try again.
Non customers parking in their lot were threatened with being "deep fried and dipped in chocolate" (in addition to being towed)

It was opened this time and we got to meet the owners. And picked up some chocolate.

We were sad to find out that the Hatches have since divorced since the show but they are still friends and business partners.

After spending an hour or so at the City Creek mall (fun place) we went to the airport and headed home. The kids were happy to see us and all the goodies we brought home for them.
My favorite find in Utah was the material to make this skirt. Ashley has a matching one from the same fabric. I bought it as a remnant for $5.00. Pretty good deal!

So I have a lot of gaps with no doesn't mean that nothing has been going on it's just that I haven't been as good documenting it. It's been a little weird finding things to keep busy with while the kids are at school but I've found a few things to do.
I've had the opportunity to help with a couple of funerals in the ward, I've read a lot of books lately and started helping Jeff with a power point and some more organized notes for the next time he is asked to speak...
Simone and I have had a couple of planning meetings for science camp and have gotten more parents to sign up to help. Yah!
Also I'm getting ready for the broadcast and pie night this Saturday.

We've had a couple of craft events and a girls night out at the church. I've had fun with those.
Donna has been so busy with Relief Society things lately. She is amazing.

I went to a class with a Chef Brad from TV. His class was actually more spiritual in nature and talked about how we can bring families together when we feed them. He sees cooking as a labor of love and has become more of a joy instead of a chore. In the end he did a cooking demonstration and we got to eat some samples. I thought it was great and a lot of women came.

And lastly ... my blender has been getting a lot of after school use lately. It's still been hot here and the kids have wanted shakes. Their first favorite is mint oreo shakes, then Ashley wanted strawberry banana and then when I ran out of oreos they discovered they liked chips ahoy shakes with banana
(it reminds them of a heath banana blizzard from Dairy Queen)

Today was a cooler day so the days of shakes might be coming to an end.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My trip to the "Old side", Peaches, a wedding and Labor Day

A quote from my birthday card from Jeff..."It's better now that I've joined him on the "OLD" side"
I turned 40 on Monday.
Crazy to think when my mom was turning 40 I was getting married and now I'm there.
(no need to get any ideas Taylor).
I was asked if it was a hard birthday.
Well it wasn't thanks to the fact that I had a good friend to celebrate it with! Mary Ann and I went to Kelley's Spa at Mission Inn and hung out at the pool and had lunch and was pampered...before we had to pick up kids from school of course.
The secret is if you schedule any service you can hang out at the spa and the pool the rest of the day for free ;)
Thanks Mary Ann you made my day...and I didn't have to sit at home stewing about turning 40 as I folded laundry.

That night Jeff came home and helped prepare dinner, got me a cake and bought presents and had the kids sign a card for me. He was very thoughtful this year and I appreciated it.
One of my favorite parts was having the kids each tell me something that they appreciated about me (and they couldn't repeat what the other person said so I didn't get a bunch of "you cook me food")
Here are some selfies of the kids as they took the camera.
Despite the pictures they all had heartwarming things to say...

That made my day...

Counting backwards...some of the highlights in our home....
Ashley's praying mantis pet for the day. Kept her occupied on a Sunday afternoon, she did research and found out this was a female because it was brown and didn't have wings and saw what to feed it and how to give it water...
"Mom it eats live crickets..we could keep it"
I settled for keeping it for a day.
This Last weekend I took Ashley and her friend Soli to the King High school performance of Comedy Sports (think whose line is it anyways).
Taylor and Kelzey were there too (but not sitting with us). I didn't have to worry about spying on them because Ashley was over with them every chance she got :)
Comedy Sports is an improv battle between two teams of students with a moderator that was pretty funny himself. They play various games using the audience for ideas, trying to get as many laughs as possible. I was a little worried if it would stay family friendly the whole time but it did and the kids had a lot of fun.  
Jeff was in New York at the time so I'm looking forward to taking him next time.

I guess for the first time ever they were sold out. Here is everyone dancing in the aisles during intermission.

Soli thought it was going to be people just standing up and telling jokes. She ended up really liking it.
The only down side was the air conditioning wasn't working very well and we were all dying of heat at the end, so I took them all to frozen yogurt after.

This weekend I got my lug of peaches that I ordered...and forgot was not wanting them to rot on the counter I got to canning.

It's been awhile since I canned peaches but luckily I have a walking partner who is a pro at it. She sent me some instructions and her recipe for light syrup.
Here is my canning cliff notes so I can remember it for next year.
Blanch the peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water to slide the skins off. After skinned put them in water with lemon to keep from browning before they are cut up.
After they are sliced put them in the jars with the syrup.
Light Syrup
5 1/4 cups water
2 14 cups sugar
heat until sugar is dissolved and keep hot
Keep 1/2 inch headspace in the jars and then process them for 30 minutes in a water back.
The peaches that were too soft I put in the freezer for smoothies.
Saturday I got to go out and see a friend that moved to Oregon and now is back. Sharla and her kids used to be in the neighborhood and my kids knew them for years.
We had a hard time getting Ashley and Chloe together in the summer and since Jeff was in New York and her husband was working we found that a Saturday get together would be the best.
Since it was blazing hot outside we came up with hanging out at her house. I brought video games for the boys and crafts for the girls.
The crafts ended up being a big hit.

The favorite was the little beads that you make patterns with and then iron together. Even Clark was coming up with creations (even though his were things like bows and arrows).
The boys ended up on the computer...typical.
We took advantage of happy hour at Sonic and filled the kids up on drinks and slushies too. It was fun to catch up with Sharla while keeping the kids occupied at the same time.


Labor Day weekend  we self invited our family to the waterpark where the Cowdens were hanging for the day. They all have passes this year and we haven't been once so we thought it would be a good hang out place for the day. We ended up picking a good day to go. The Cowden's got us all in for 1/2 price since they had passes and the place was pretty wide open. It still plenty hot in Palm Spring to enjoy the water and the lines were short.
On the way home the kids were happy that we hit BJ's. 
 It was a nice way to say goodbye to summer. 


Earlier that weekend we got to go up to Palmdale to Jarek and Katelyn's open house.
They are such a cute couple! Since I missed the wedding it was good to see them at the open house.

The family enjoying a walk down memory lane with the photo albums.

The cousins always have fun together. This was Caden's idea. Taylor walked in with a box and told Jenise he had a present for her.
She was a little jumpy wondering what was inside.
She said "Is it alive!?"
Why yes.
Yes it was.
It shocked and surprised us when Caden popped out, hilarious1

Backing up to the first week of school. We are jumping right into our sales and fundraising for 6th grade science camp.
Back to school night was the 4th day of school and we were right there selling pizza and waters.
This time we sold out of everything which was nice. It will be a fun busy year with lots of big things to plan for.
Oh and on the first day of school we had Angela, Robert and Ian over for dinner.
They were coming back from San Diego and had time for a visit.
Ian is funny and we enjoyed having him.
We heard him crying upstairs with Ashley playing with him at one point and were worried. We thought he was hurt. We run up to see what was wrong and Ashley said he found candy in one of the rooms and wanted it. When Ashley said "Lets go ask your mom" He started bawling. I guess he knew that Angela wouldn't let him have it.
Later on it was quiet. Knowing that Ian had a habit of getting into people's toothbrushes and doing all kinds of things to them and putting all kinds of things on them for "toothpaste" we thought we'd better investigate.
Ashley found him first in her room. He threw his hands up and had a really surprised look on his face as he was caught red handed...literally. He was in the middle of eating 4 cough drops and there was red everywhere. I guess cough drops were close enough to candy for him.
I'm sure his dinner tasted odd that night with the cough drop flavor in his mouth.
That night after they left Jacob couldn't find his toothbrush. Anywhere.
 I got him a temporary throw away one for that night.
We still haven't found it.
Ha ha ha.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last Weekend of Summer and first day of school

All summer as we have had fun plans to go skating or to the beach or something and Jeff would say "have fun" and wistfully head to work.
Summer really isn't summer for full time working folk, not like it is for kids out of school. So I suggested that Jeff take a day off work before the kids went back to school to enjoy summer with us.
Sooo Jeff took off the last Friday before school and did some summer stuff with us.
We drove to Laguna Beach in the morning and just waited until we found a good beach that wasn't too far from parking and looked good.
It was a beautiful day but the water was still cold. Taylor was the only one to go all the way into it.
That's Ok they had fun playing football, enjoying the beach and enjoying time together.
We even found a really good pizza by the slice place to grab lunch to eat on the beach.

After we ate we pulled out the cards and Taylor taught us how to play scum. The object of the game is to get rid of your cards and the first people to do it get an advantage on the next round. We amused the couple next to us when Jeff and Taylor started getting "spirited" about the game. It was all in good fun though and we laughed about it with our beach neighbors later.

Done with the beach we went to the hotel we booked through Hotwire and swam at the pool. The pool was shady and cool so I just watched the swimming and enjoyed my book.
When we looked at hotels in the area they were all $250+ we ended up getting ours for $94 dollars with free breakfast and parking through hotwire. Sweet.
After a rest we went back to the Laguna area and checked out some tidepools during low tide. 

Ashley loved touching the sea anemones and making them close.

There were a lot of huge starfish, sea anemones, sea urchins fish and crab.
(There is a red starfish in the middle of the picture.)
Climbing up the rocks was almost as much fun as looking at the wildlife.



Taylor liked trying his rock climbing skills on the sandstone but he realized how it's not very easy when rocks are likely to pull away from the wall as you're climbing.


All of them wanted to try it.



After awhile it started getting late and we were ready for dinner.
We found a place called Tommy Bahamas to eat at (I thought it was only a store)
The food was really good! The only person that wasn't impressed was Taylor, he said his ribs were kind of burnt. Jeff mentioned it too the waitress when she asked how the food was but we said not to worry about it because he still ate them.

When we were ready to leave they gave us a free piece of cake! Taylor said it was worth the burned ribs.


That night we tried to stay up for the grunion run that was supposed to be happening. We hung out in the hotel room playing more cards until midnight and then we headed to the beach again with tales of grunions to the kids. We didn't see anything and the kids weren't willing to hang out more than 15 to 20 minutes. Oh well we went back to the hotel room and we showed them a you-tube video of what they look like, I guess that would have to do.
The next day we had the annual Little People of America beach party at Doheney beach.
Jeff volunteered to grill some burgers...he seems to do that often when a barbeque happens. He doesn't like to sit around so he's good about getting up and helping.

Our kids had fun because there were other teenagers there and yet it wasn't too big of a group. They played football, smashball and soccer. Here they are playing water balloon toss.

Jacob was partners with one of his favorite boys named Peter.

Peter is the only little person in his family and he always asks his parents if his buddy Jeff will be at the parties. Jeff took him to the water, played football and water balloon toss with him and I'm sure some candy giving was involved too at some point.

After the water balloon toss it was a free for all fight.

Here was most of the bigger kid group that had fun on the beach. I knew they were having fun when the party was winding down but they weren't ready to go yet.

After the get together we came back and got ready just in time to meet up with Cheri and Ryan and the girls to go for dinner. We went to a place called the Seafire Grill next to the San Clemente pier. We ate on the patio which was perfect because the night was nice and the girls could wander a bit.
After dinner we went walking...

to the pier. We enjoyed talking with Cheri and Ryan. The boys most especially enjoyed them telling about their skydiving experience.

They ended the night with ice-cream


and hugs goodbye.

On the way back home we hit a local ward down by the beach (with an 11 oclock start time) and then took a detour to mission San Jaun Capistrano. Taylor and Jeff hadn't been there before.
The camera died so I only got a couple of pictures. I always love the gardens and the history. Here is the ruins of the chapel that came down in one of California's earthquakes.
The kids didn't investigate as much as we did and they didn't make use of the audio tour like Jeff thought they would but we were still happy we went. I think their favorite thing was feeding the coy fish. ;)

Then it was time to get back home and get ready for the first day of school.
Here are the kids on the first day of school. Not the best pictures but at least I got them.
Taylor going to 12th grade.
Last year of high school!!
Jacob is in 10th grade!!!

This year Taylor is driving himself and Jacob to school in the morning. At least for one year we don't have to have a carpool. Buy guys.

Ashley going to 6th grade. Her last year of elementary school!

(We ended up not being able to find a rolling backpack in stores this year so we ended up having to buy on on-line.

They all had a good day and came home with their big lists of school supplies that they need
(that of course were not the ones that I bought on the first round of school supply shopping)