Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Welcome to my kitchen

Like most people (I think, or maybe I hope?) I have some drawers in my kitchen that are complete disasters.
One such drawer that I have always had was the drawer that held my measuring cups and spoons.
In some houses, I had these items combined with spatulas and other miscellaneous kitchen gadgets.
In other houses, the measuring things were mostly on their own, but always a mess.
In this house, I am somewhat lacking in drawer space so I had to improvise.
I bought a little basket at the dollar store and threw all of the measuring things in it.  Then put the basket on the lazy susan in my corner cupboard.
This has been the best idea ever!
The basket it still often a disaster...why is it that no one but me is capable of nesting the various sized measuring cups?  They just throw them in the bin willy nilly.
But the fact that these items are all in a basket together has been so fabulous.
When I go to cook something, I don't have to rummage through a messy drawer to find the right measuring utensil.
I simply pull the whole basket out of the cupboard, place it next to me on the counter and all of my measuring cups and spoons are right there next to me!
It's a little thing, but its made me feel less crazy when working in the kitchen.

Also, am I the only one who has an assortment of mismatched measuring cups?  I buy one and somewhere down the line I lose the 1 Cup size (for example), so I eventually go buy another set.  Of course I can't find the exact same kind so I get something different.  Something that won't stack with the other set. Grrr.  And so it goes on for a number of years (also doing the same thing with measuring spoons) until I have such a mish mash of items that its just silly.  I never throw away the partial sets, just keep adding.

Somehow, after all these years, I only have one 1 Cup measure.  I have a variety of 1/3 Cup and a couple of 1/2 Cup.  Only one 1 Cup.  Where do they go?

And another thing...the measuring spoons that all come on a ring. Those annoy me. For so long I felt the need to keep them on that stupid ring.  Yes, it keeps them all together but if I use only the teaspoon, I have to wash the whole set. I finally took them all off the rings and just reach in the basket and grab the specific size that I want.

I've been watching HGTV lately on Netflix and it is not helping me love my current kitchen. So here is my attempt to love what I have. Darn it, that Dollar Store basket makes me happy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Weird facts about me

I've decided to start blogging a few weirds facts about myself just for posterity.  I figure someday my kids, grandkids or great grandkids will read my journals.
(I print this blog, and another private blog that I have, each year to keep as a journal)
So, they will get to know me through my writing.
Why not include some of these little things about myself?
For example, I already blogged about my habit of carrying a towel on my shoulder whenever I work in the kitchen.  I would love to know these kinds of things about my grandma.

Here we go:

I like to use baby nail clippers.
There.  It's out.
I have a pair of baby nail clippers that I think I've had since Branden, my oldest, was an infant.  They are tiny and old but I find that the baby nail clippers are so much easier for me to use when clipping my own nails.  I find the bigger ones to be more difficult and not as sharp.  They bend my nails and hurt when I try to use them.

We keep all of our clippers in a little bag that Frank's mom gave him when he moved out of the house.  (They keep all of their clippers in a similar bag in their bathroom drawer.)
The bag is now 30 years old at least...I don't know if it was new when she gave it to him.  It's seen better days but I can't see myself replacing it.  It's just a part of our house now.

I will admit I didn't realize it was ripped until I pulled it out to take the picture.  I will have to sew that up.

Anyway, sometimes when I travel I forget to bring my little nail clippers. They are just always in that little bag so I don't think to get them out.  So on trips with Frank, I can use his (regular size) clippers but it annoys me.

Over the years, I have thought about buying a new or extra pair of these baby nail clippers but some time ago they stopped making them like mine.  All of the baby nail clippers now have this giant bulbous piece of plastic on the end to make them easier to hold, I guess.  I don't want that huge hunk of plastic, I just want a small nail clipper. Unless my hands are really wet, I don't have a problem holding or working the tiny clippers.  I suppose that could change as I get older but that has never seemed like a good enough reason to buy those new awful versions of my clippers.

Recently I went on a trip without Frank, to help my parents drive to Arizona.  I forgot my clippers.
We did a lot of work making the fence and whatnot and I broke a nail.  I had to get some clippers.
So I decided to just bite the bullet and get a pair of new fangled baby clippers with the giant plastic piece.

One time when we were at walmart I looked for some.  And the ONLY PAIR they had were a Disney themed pair.

I bought the monstrous pink set of clippers with Minnie Mouse on them.

The clippers are actually the same.  Small, sharp and nice.
And the giant bulbous piece of plastic?
Well, it makes them surprisingly easy to hold.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Mom

I've been working on a surprise for my mom

(I feel safe putting this here because she doesn't get on the internet much anymore...
but just in case, I won't give away exactly what the surprise is)

and I came across some great pictures.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The first one is from a day on the lake, when she went waterskiing.
She was 70 in this picture.
She has always been a beautiful woman but I just love this one so much.
She just looks so happy!

And this next picture (She's 71 here) she is attending a Roaring 20's event for her job at the time.
Yes, she was working at 71.


I love my mom.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alaska! Days Four, Five and Six

Day Four, Saturday:
Saturday overcast day.
This was not good news for us as the flight was cancelled due to weather and clouds over the glacier.
Frank's one big activity...Gone!

We managed to overcome the sadness though
and decided to go to the indoor water park after all.

Here's the review of the indoor water park:
Kind of fun.
Water was warm-ish but a little too cool for the small kids.
A couple of big slides that were fun for the adults.
and overall just a little sketchy.
Could use a good cleaning.

Not that we didn't have fun...we did.
But for the cost, I would have preferred warmer water and cleaner dressing rooms.

And the kids completely rejected the hot dogs we bought them.

We picked up pizza on the way home and sent the boys to rent a couple of movies.
We really gave Blockbuster some serious business while we were there.


Day Five, Sunday:
Sunday morning was our earliest morning because we had to be to church by nine.
And I'm telling you, we got used to sleeping in!
 But we managed to get up and out the door by 8:15

What 8:15 looks like in Anchorage in January

which actually meant we were way early to church.
But it also meant that we met a couple of people, one of which turned out to have grown up in our neighborhood here in Utah and knew all kinds of people that we know.
Small world.

After church we spent the day at Branden and Amber's house.

Breakfast for lunch

Playing with the girls

More cards
(Frank would be sad if I didn't mention that
he kicked our behinds in hearts with a final score of only 7)

Bath time where Frank got to use the gift he got for the girls for Christmas-Bubble guns

Branden made cookies

Amber made Orange chicken for dinner.

...and the day passed way too quickly.

Before we knew it, it was time for the girls to go to bed
and for us to get back to the hotel 
since we had an early morning flight.

Day Six, Monday:

We did take one last picture in Alaska.
The one and only moose that we saw while there
was a stuffed moose at the airport.
As you can see, Frank was less than impressed.

The view from the plane as we came into Utah was spectacular.
the white stuff that looks like smooth snow is the clouds!
So gorgeous.

Welcome home.

So my Christmas gift turned out to be practically perfect.

Spending lots of time at the apartment, playing with and cuddling my grandkids, talking and playing games and watching movies with my son and daughter-in-law...
 it's exactly what I would have chosen for myself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Alaska! Day Three

Day Three, Friday:
Honestly, the days are jumbling together in my head.
So I might have some things out of order or forget things entirely if there are no pictures.
But that is what it is like living with me, so we will press forward.

Frank had arranged for us to go on a airplane tour of a glacier. 
but it was all kind of flexible...they said we would either go on Friday or Saturday and that they would let us know.
So it was a little hard to plan in advance what we would do.
On Friday we called the tour company and they said we would go sometime Saturday.
Still, the time was a mystery.
Apparently they have to wait till the sun comes up (10ish), see what the weather and clouds are like over the glacier and then go from there.

The sun, when it comes up, is still very low in the sky along the southern horizon
so even though it feels like daytime, its still not exactly bright most of the time.
A lot of my pictures are on the dark side for this reason.
I like how it captures the feeling of the place, so I've left most of them alone
but I've lightened a few just so you can see the details better.

For our morning jaunt, we drove up into the hills nearby and got a gorgeous view of the city.

There were lots of folks hiking in the snow but we just did a short walk and took some photos.
There was a guy with a drone up there and it was fun to talk to him about it.

As we drove around we were on the lookout for wildlife, specifically moose.
There are lots of "watch for moose" type of signs along the roadways.

Once the sun was fully up, Friday was a gorgeous, sunny day.
Since the flight wasn't going to happen we were thinking about going to an indoor water park that Amber had mentioned.
But we had just done the swimming thing the day before and Frank wasn't super excited about that
so we decided to go on a hike.

Anchorage was actually having a bit of a warm spell while we were there,
it was still cold but warmer than usual.
Some days it got into the teens during the day but most of the time is was around 30 degrees or so.

We all bundled up and met over at a nature preserve where they had some short hikes that seemed doable with the girls.

We borrowed some shoe grippers from the lodge
(they had a basket full of mismatched shoe grips that people had lost along the trail).
Parts of the trail were pure ice so we were definitely glad to have them!
I'm really sad that this one is blurry!

We found 2 lone shoe grips as we walked along the trail, but we lost 3!

It was really gorgeous.
I have to say that Alaska is one of the prettiest places you will ever see.

Frank and I just loved how the sun would shine through the clouds.
We noticed it multiple times during our week there.

I'm a cloud lover anyway, but the clouds in Alaska were gorgeous.

Isabelle walked some of the time but we had to carry Kaylee.
Man, our arms were killing us!

Luckily there were four adults so when we were carrying both of them, we could at least trade off.
Isabelle actually did great for awhile but then she hit a patch of ice and fell flat on her back...
she was not interested in walking after that.

We enjoyed the frozen streams.

The gorgeous crystals on everything: plants, rocks, benches and fences.

We took a little family picture.

I tried giving Isabelle a shoulder ride at one point when both Amber and I decided that our arms were toast...
and she screamed and gripped my head for dear life.
It was so sad!
(Also, the other hikers probably didn't love the screaming.)
She finally decided that she would rather try walking again.

Frank and Branden  eventually took Kaylee and walked ahead of us.
We came around a corner to find a steep, icy hill
which was pretty depressing at that point since we were tired and Isabelle was sad.
but then...
the boys came around the corner in the car!

They had to go through a closed gate to come get us.

For once I was thankful for Frank's rule breaking ways.

After that adventure, we headed back to the apartment for movies and cards!

Frank and I felt it was important to get a picture of this moment

It's not everyday you get to visit a place that is basically extinct everywhere else.

Alaska! Day Two

Day Two, Thursday:
Frank and I stayed in a hotel in downtown anchorage, which is about 20 minutes from where Branden and Amber live.

The view from our room. Taken at about 9 a.m.
In the mornings, we would sleep in (because, why not? It's so dark!), then eat breakfast 
and then we usually went for a drive to see the sights.
The girls tend to sleep fairly late, so there was no rush to go over to their house.

We could see a beautiful partially frozen inlet from our hotel so we drove around to get closer to it.

I stayed in the car, while Frank got some good pictures. Brrrr.
We found a nature walk and went for a short hike.

The entire area was pure ice but as we exited the car, a guy on a mountain bike rode past.
I was impressed.
It was really cold down by the water that morning...there was a breeze and my hands and face were so cold!

But we skated and gingerly walked along.
It was very pretty.

As we were walking along on the frozen pathway, a runner came by!
She had spikes on her shoes and was running along on the ice like it was no big deal.


The family decided to come over to our place to swim in the hotel pool.
We were pretty excited to have a pool at the hotel and imagined fun times splashing and playing with the kids...
but it turned out that the pool wasn't a "play with the kids and frolic" kind of a pool
it was a lap swimming pool as part of the workout room.

There were a few problems with this:
a lap pool is kept quite a bit cooler than a frolic pool
a lap pool is small
a lap pool just might have people who want to swim laps

We still gave it our best efforts and had fun
but the girls were cold pretty quickly.
and I think the guy who was attempting to swim laps left sooner than he might have originally planned.

After our little swimming party, we decided to go to lunch.
But the idea of getting everyone to the car and driving to a restaurant seemed like so much work
so we took the recommendation of the valet parking guys and dashed across the street to a sandwich place.
We had no coats, wet hair, and the girls were barefoot.

Afterwards, we went back to Branden and Amber's place in the hopes that the girls would nap.
I think having us there messed up their sleeping because there were very few naps the whole week.

We rented some movies from the local Blockbuster.
Yes, Blockbuster.
and just had a relaxing evening together.