Friday, July 30, 2010

the good, the bad, and the ugly

My trip to Vancouver was all of the above!

The Good:
1) lots of sleep
2) cool weather
3) a stamp in my passport
4) first time on a tandem bike - LOVED it!
5) beautiful sights
6) amazing Greek dinner one night
7) 2 hours of exercise my last morning (4-mile run outside, 8-mile stationary bike ride, free weights, and another couple of miles on the treadmill)
8) Peter's chocolate cream
9) a Wunderbar (can't get them in the US)
10) Stanley Park
11) beautiful flowers
12) a most comfortable bed
13) a slice of pizza from the Flying Wedge - (good pizza)
14) poking around Granville Island

The Bad:
1) the first day I was stuck in my room since my eye swelled shut and gave me the worst headache I've ever had in my life!
2) unable to read due to eye problems (what's a vacation without books?)
3) computer crashed and I lost so much that I just cry every time I think about it
4) ate too much
5) the headache and lack of vision caused me to stumble around so badly that I fear everyone thought I was drunk or on something

The Ugly:
1) my eye was swollen and red and I couldn't wear eye make-up (thank goodness for sunglasses)
2) tears streamed from my eyes for 2 days causing me to drip snot (gross)

Vancouver - in pictures

Our first stop was Granville Island. It's a really artsy fartsy district. Lots of galleries and eateries. Huge market with all kinds of foods. We sampled a sugar brioche and a macaron pastry (not to be confused with coconut macaroons). We also tried Roger's famous chocolate creams. Yum! It was a fun place to poke around though not quite what I had expected.

Next we rode the Sea Bus to North Vancouver.

There were a couple of cruise ships in port.

We got a really good view of the Vancouver skyline.

After wandering around the markets in North Vancouver we made our way to Stanley Park (the Central Park of Vancouver). We rented a tandem bike and rode around the sea wall. It was beautiful and exhilirating! We stopped to see the totem poles.

We admired the view of the suspension bridge.

We watched the sea planes coming and going.

After returning the bike, we walked around a bit more in Stanley Park. We visited the Aboriginal Village and watched a master carver.

We also saw a man and woman in traditional dress.

We admired the gorgeous flower beds!

Everything was very green!

We really enjoyed ourselves (and wore ourselves out!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Farmer's Market

The family and I went to the Farmer's Market in Pioneer Park last Saturday. It's the first time we've been and we all really enjoyed it!

I saw some spiders made from beads. They were pretty cool. I saw lots of funky jewelry. I sampled Ranier cherries (my favorite) and mushroom butter and cherry salsa and other delectables.

The highlight for me was trying a new food. I really love to try new things so I bought a French pastry called a Quine Amann (pronounced Queen ah-mahn). It was crusty on the outside but kind of sweet and doughy on the inside. It was wonderful!

I think we'll have to do this Farmer's Market thing again!

my find!

About a week and a half ago I took Alec, McKayla, Brooke, Shanley, and Brookelyn to Utah Lake. The water was glass - just the way I like it! Alec and I took a long ride to the southern edge of the lake. I've decided that I really should own a motorcycle because I love the long, smooth rides across the lake with the wind whipping through my hair. Imagine that daily out on the road. Plus, I've always liked motorcycles.

Anyways, the kids and I had a great time on the waverunners. Unfortunately, our tube got a hole in it earlier this year so that has been a bummer for the kids. Well, on my long ride I noticed something in the water and rode over to get a closer look. It was a boogee board. There was only 2 boats on the lake and no one even anywhere near that south end so I decided the boogee board had been abandoned. I rescued it and decided to give it a good home. The kids had a blast pulling each other around on that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

the things the heat drives you to

The heat drove me to insanity. I know this because I am making huge changes in our home. Everyone but Chandler is switching bedrooms. It is involving moving furniture, painting rooms, and de-junking everything.

So. Much. Work.

See what heat makes me do?

--scrappinsoccermama will be posting before and after pictures later in the week. That is, if I make it to the "after".

I've FINALLY worn him out!

Yep, it's official. I've finally worn Chandler out - it can be done. I didn't think it was possible. The kid has so much energy. For example, Thursday he played every single minute of 2 soccer games in the blazing heat. He ran and ran and ran and chased down every single ball. You'd think he'd be tired, but no! He came home and played more soccer at the neighbor's house, got to bed late, and was still up before 7 am ready to go again.

Well, we added 2 more non-stop days and finally managed to do him in. Friday we left home at 9 am and got back at 10:30 pm. McKayla played in a couple of soccer games. We watched another one. We had a couple of picnics and went to DI. We also went to an outdoor concert. Then we got up Saturday morning and walked all over a Farmer's Market downtown before taking Chandler up to Layton to play in another soccer game (he did get 1 minute of rest during this one). Then we spent the remainder of the day moving furniture and clothing from room to room (I'll post more in these insane changes at a later date). Chandler ended the day going to the Real soccer game complete with fireworks afterwards. He got home very late!

And guess what? It is almost 8 am and he is still asleep! I don't think that has EVER happened before!

Now I know what it takes to wear him out!

Friday, July 23, 2010


We spent the day in Layton (about an hour away) at a soccer tournament. Both McKayla and Chandler were playing. They had 3 games between them.

Highs and lows:

*Chandler scored! and not just any old score. He shot from behind the midfield line and put it over the keeper's head. It was beautiful! He played defense every minute of both games and still is the only player on his team to score. (Oh wait, that part is probably a low)

*McKayla had an assist.

*No wins (a tie, but no wins)

*The heat was a little much. We all got too much sun (I couldn't find either of our 2 new-this-year tubes of sunscreen).

We head back up there this morning for 2 more games.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

weight loss blog

For anyone who is interested in joining a support group for losing weight or eating healthier or exercising more, check out my other blog here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

oh, the people you meet...

Last night I attended a book club at my local library. They just started this last month but I was unable to go in June. I was a bit nervous about attending on my own. Meeting new people is not my forte. I didn't know if I'd be uncomfortable in expressing my opinion. However, my love of reading (and discussing) overcame my fear. Imagine my great surprise when I found I knew not just one other attendee but TWO!

I saw two women who I consider friends but are people I rarely see. What a delight to get to see Jill Larsen and Amy Bennion!

One of my favorite quotes from the book is "Life is beautiful. Some people just remind you of that more than others."

That is how I feel about these two wonderful women!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

face art

I took the kids to the float preview party yesterday. It is a great opportunity to see some amazing floats up close. These are the floats that will appear in the Pioneer Days Parade this Saturday. Everyone who attends gets to vote on their favorite float. I had a hard time deciding because there was 5 that I really, really liked!

Shanley and her friend Brooklyn liked having their faces painted.

Daddy-Daughter Nerd Night

I was in charge of a Daddy-Daughter Nerd Night for Young Women's. It turned out to be pretty fun. We did a Sudoku then the girls stood behind a curtain and the dad had to pick out which foot belonged to his daughter. Then the girls had to give their dads a "shave" and tie their tie. After which the fathers painted the girls' toenails. We gave out prizes for the games and prizes for the best costumes.

Jeff and Ashlyn

Glen and Katie

Carolyn - (she is one of the best YW leaders ever!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

if you can't take the heat

and I can't!!!!!!!

I really hate heat! To me the perfect temperature is about 67 degrees. It gets over 75 and I really start melting. When it reaches 100, like it has the past few days, I totally lose my cool (literally and figuratively). As temperatures soar, so does my irritability. There is a direct and proportional relationship. Conversely, there is an inverse relationship between heat and my productivity. Yes, as I heat up, I get NOTHING done! I don't even have much of a desire to do anything.

I have never liked heat. I never wore a coat growing up (much to my mother's consternation) and I lived in Cody, WY where it does get chilly! I was not a teen who laid out trying to get the perfect tan. I thought that was a torture that Communists (I grew up in the 80s) inflicted on Americans to fry their brain cells, cook their muscles, and give them all cancer!

Now, I realize I don't have much to complain about. After all, Utah has dry heat - very little humidity for us. Also, my poor missionary son has spent/will spend his entire summer in Yuma, AZ where it has been 114 almost constantly. So, yeah, I guess I am pretty much just a heat wimp. I admit it.

However, since I can't take the heat, I do have a plan. Next week I'm escaping with my husband to Vancouver for a couple of days. That should be cooler. The following week Chandler has a soccer tournament in Park City (that's usually about 10 degrees cooler (I'll take every degree I can get), and the week after that we'll be in Yellowstone Park for the week. That's my great plan - escape to somewhere cooler every single week.

Maybe I'll luck out and we'll have an early fall!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

garage sales

I hit some garage sales yesterday (one of my favorite things to do). I didn't pick up much but I did find a couple of good deals. I found a nearly new life jacket for 50 cents. I also found a brand new, still-in-all-its-packaging mini crockpot for $2.

I normally am not too big on kitchen gadgets because that means I have to find a place to store them and so many of them I can make do with what I've got (i.e. who needs a quesidilla maker when a fry pan works?) However, many times I've thought a mini crockpot would come in handy. Ironically, McKayla had already requested cocktail weiners for dinner and asked that I cook them in the crockpot. I had explained to her that our crockpot is way too huge for such a small amount of food. Then, I find this mini one and it was just perfect for cooking our cocktail weiner dinner.

(I'm kinda pleased with my finds, can you tell?)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ward Youth Conference (belated post)

We went to Bear Canyon (outside Nephi) for our ward Youth Conference. It was pretty!

McKayla was one of the few Young Women to attend (we don't have very many to begin with). She had a great time!

Here's three of the four YW who went. McKayla, Atalie, and Amber.

One of the things that was especially nice for me was that the men did all the cooking! They did a great job and I enjoyed the break from the kitchen. I don't think I did much more than cut up a watermelon the whole time we were there!

I also had Alec up there! It makes it especially nice to go to Youth Conference when you're there with a couple of your own children! Alec is really good at entertaining himself (albeit LOUDLY!).

We played lots of games (card games, Skittles games, Octopus 8, Minute to Win It, etc).

Here's Riley playing the Skittles game.

We attended a Mormon Handcart Pageant that was really good and we did a service project of cleaning up a park. However, I think the real highlight for the youth was the river! They spent hours in and near the river. It was freezing but no one seemed to mind.

belated 4th

I'm a little behind on some of my posting. We had a fun 4th of July weekend. My sister, Tonya, and her family were in town and stayed with us. My parents joined us for a BBQ and then we enjoyed the Riverton Town Days Parade on Friday night. I wasn't on the ball enough to get us a good location staked out but we lucked out and ended up with good seats right on the corner.Riverton's parade usually has some great floats. The parade is fairly long (usually about an hour and a half) and they throw LOTS of candy for the kids!

The next morning we headed to the South County Pool for a couple hours of swimming. We stopped by the rodeo grounds to watch a little bit of the ATV Rodeo. Tonya and I went shopping Saturday afternoon and then we all went to the fireworks that night. Again, Riverton has a really great fireworks display! This year there was something new - SHAPED! No kidding. Some of the fireworks were the shapes of stars or smiley faces. It was kind of interesting and I always love fireworks!

Friday, July 16, 2010

baking vs. cooking

I am a COMPLETELY left-brained person! I function on logic and lack artistic expression. I love math because it has one correct answer (usually). I think I lack a bit of imagination and creativity.

I believe that is why I love to bake but don't consider myself a great cook.

Baking is all about exact formulas. You precisely follow a recipe so that you get the correct chemical reaction. You want your cakes to rise and be light and airy. You want your brownies to be rich and dense. All of that takes specific combinations of ingredients.

Cooking, on the other hand, is all about spices and seasoning and mixing flavors and textures. I believe that to be a really good cook, you must be willing to experiment. You must instinctly know that garlic and red pepper flakes are just what a certain dish needs to be truly delectable.

I don't like to experiment. I like to follow a recipe and I like to follow it with precision. I rarely deviate from the listed ingredients.

On the other hand, with my ongoing weight battle, maybe I just like to bake because you get such yummy goodies!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

books read in the past month

Here's the list of the books I've read in the past month. I've ** the ones I highly recommend. (Catching Fire is showing up on this list again because I enjoyed a great re-read of it prior to #3 Mockingjay coming out soon!)

A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White

Jovah's Angel (Samaria, #2) by Sharon Shinn

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

**Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

**Eve and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverly Campbell

**Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Sarah's Quilt: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine and the Arizona Territories by Nancy E. Turner

**Archangel (Samaria, #1) by Sharon Shinn

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

new blog

This may seem funny on the very day after I post a yummy blackberry cake recipe (or maybe it just makes sense), but I've lost my motivation to continue losing weight. I was very successful in the first several months of the year but I haven't lost anything in over a month.

In fact, with the 4th of July and a family reunion, I actually gained some weight in the past couple weeks.

This is my attempt to gain control of my weight again. I know that personally I do better if I have to report to someone. So, I am starting a new weight loss/healthy eating blog called Why Weight?. I'll be reporting what I eat on a daily basis (believe me, I won't eat as much if I have to broadcast it to the world!)

If anyone would like to join me on this quest, I'd love the company/support!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blackberry Cake recipe

For the 4th of July, I made a yummy cake with fresh blackberries!

I wish I could say this scrumptious recipe was my creation but I found it here

The only change I would make is to the frosting. I like the emphasis to be on the blackberries and not the supersweet buttercream frosting. I would suggest frosting this cake with Cool Whip. Yum!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Our home sweet home last week was this tipi:We own a large, really good tent but thought the tipis would be unique and fun. A lot of other people must have thought so too because I could scarcely believe the number of people who drove by and stopped to photograph the tipis.

This is Todd and Melissa's tipi. They got a pretty one (so did Jolyn and Darin).

The tipis were fun but I don't mind being back in my own bed. What I do miss is the much cooler temperatures!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Minute to Win It

Thursday night we played some games based on the TV game show "Minute to Win It". We had a blast! Cory, Jeremy, and Ben trying to sort M&Ms.
McKayla moving an Oreo from her forehead to her mouth using only facial muscles.
One of the twins.
Darin and Kevin with Oreos.
Vicki, Shanley, and Melissa exercising their facial muscles!
Spencer, McKayla, and Natalie trying to stack 8 hexagonal nuts using a chopstick.
Tonya, Jolyn, and Melissa giving it a try.
Jeremy, Ben, and Cory discover that it's harder than it looks (especially on an unstable camp table).
Aliza trying to dig pennies out of pantyhose (she was successful).
Kevin giving the pantyhose challenge a try (he was beat out by Todd).
Jeremy trying to use a candy elevator (2 pencils and string) to get 3 Skittles to his mouth.
Spencer, Josh, and Alec with the candy elevators.
Chandler, Garrett (mostly hidden), and Jake giving it a try.

We also used vaseline on our noses to move cottonballs from one table to the next and another game that involved sorting playing cards.

We DID it!

Woohoo! McKayla and I both finished the Canyon to Canyon Half-Marathon yesterday (and lived to tell about it!) In fact, McKayla did more than finish - she took FIRST place in her division. She doesn't think that's a big deal because she was the only one in her division (14 and under). However, I checked it out. If you put her in the 15-19 year old division, she still would have come in first and if you added the 20-24 year old division she would have dropped to 2nd beaten only by one 21-year-old by a measly 4 seconds! I'd say McKayla did pretty darn good! I am very proud of her! Here's her medal for first!

I'd have to say that it was one really tough run! McKayla and I were both prepared for the distance but not for the endless, steep hills! I felt a little better about it when the woman I ran next to said this is her 10th half-marathon in the past 8 months and by far her hardest! Everyone I talked to said their time was about 20-25 minutes slower than their usual/expected time so I felt pretty good about my finish time. It was actually better than expected!

Of course, I can hardly move today! Both McKayla and I are stiff and sore and achy but at least feeling like we accomplished something! Yea us!

However, in the future I vow not to run a race on the day after I return from camping, hiking, and eating too much camp (junk) food! Not the best way to prepare. A huge thanks, however, to some of the greatest friends a girl can have! On Friday night, Karen and Jill brought me over some pasta and a good luck card. I feel blessed to have such terrific, thoughtful friends!

I'm sure it helped me run faster!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop Trail I

Thursday morning Kevin, Todd, and Cory took the 8-mile Fairyland Loop Trail that some of us had taken Wednesday morning. Several of us took the Queen's Garden/Navajo Loop Combination Trail which is advertised as the World's Best 3-mile hike. Those that went on that were: Darin, Jolyn, Natalie, Rachel, Dawnette, Carson, Melissa, Emma, Vicki, Tonya, Jeremy, Trevor, Katrina, Rebecca, McKayla, Shanley, Chandler, and me.Carson, Emma, and Chandler

Marvelle and Dawnette

Chandler, McKayla, and Shanley

Chandler and Carson

Vicki, Melissa, and Natalie