Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween

Happy Halloween !!
 It's been a fun week of Halloween activities.  The Ward Trunk-or-Treat (actually it was a Neighborhood Fall Safety Fair - much bigger and better than just a ward activity) was a smashing success.  I got to help with the Spook Alley a little bit. The genius behind the amazing Spook Alley the past 3 years has been Deanna. She is AMAZING in so many ways. Not only was the activity cool (tons of Artwork, a black light room, video projections throughout, music, characters) but look at her costume! I made her explain it to me. It was a process involving an oatmeal container, gelatin, doll hair, spray paint etc and it was solidly attached to her head for the evening. I can't begin to tell you how much fun this girl is. I don't think she can do anything less than 110% 180%.
The kids have a cousin, Kirsten, that lives on the other side of town. I wish they lived closer, it is fun to have Kirsten and her husband Adam over to the house. Anyway,I thought Rachel was excited to see Psy, but it was actually Adam's brother who had recently moved to our part of town.
Rachel was saying she was excited to have children to make costumes for one day. We were loving some of the kids costumes and some of the family theme costumes. (I love this family.)
I told her I miss that stage too. All I've got now is to make costumes for Grandpa!
Roxanne and Melanie were sending pictures of their costumes, friends and parties.  I don't know where Roxanne's was taken, but that's a pretty cool backdrop, and some awesome costumes. Roxanne is Little Red Riding Hood and her boyfriend is the Big Bad Wolf.  His t-shirt says "World's Best Grandma".
Brady even dressed up for a party. We all had costumes, we were just never in the same place to get a picture together.

Melanie had several parties over the last couple of weeks, and I think she came up with a different costume for each event.

I'm glad Dave and his Dad are good sports. I haven't done costumes for us for many years. But now that the kids are grown, I'm starting to get back into the Halloween spirit for us.

Here are a few funny (rejected) Halloween greeting card ideas from shoeboxblog

Only about 20% of what gets turned in gets accepted and becomes a Shoebox card.
Here, we feature the other 80%.
Happy Halloween to someone who
couldn’t be scary if they tried.
Sometimes, I pretend I’m not
at home and eat all the candy
I also do that on Halloween.
It's Halloween and I love you.
That second part isn't supposed to be scary.
Are you going as a Werewolf this Halloween?
Because you already have the back hair for it.
Halloween is a great day to scare Grandma.
But only if you're in the will.
It's Halloween and I love you.
Still, though, touch my candy and die!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I was reading an storm-related article today entitled:

7 No-cook Recipes to Get You Through a Storm

While no one is exactly sure what to expect, we're ready with extra water, food, batteries, and flashlights. And, if the power really does go out, we'll be prepared with these 7 tasty ideas for simple no-cook meals that happen to be very good in emergencies, and also on plain old busy nights.
Make peanut butter fruit stack sandwich 
2 slices sandwich bread 
1 banana, thinly sliced long ways 
1 small green apple, sliced paper-thin 
3 Tbsp chunky peanut butter 
1 tsp maple syrup 
a few dashes of cinnamon
Directions: First, toast the bread. Slice the fruit paper thin - if you are not eating this sandwich right away you can toss the fruit in a splash of lemon juice to keep them from browning. Slather peanut butter on both slices of bread and layer fruit. Add a drizzle of maple and dashes of cinnamon. Close sandwich and slice!

Now I'm not really an Emergency Preparedness Specialist, but if you are writing an article about preparing no-cook meals while the power is out during a stormy emergency, perhaps the first recipe shouldn't feature toast!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

cleaning up the cell phone

I need to clean out my phone messages. I tend to save funny or nice messages and pictures.
I'm just going to throw out a few pictures and texts that I've enjoyed (and saved) the last year or two. I know, some are very old! Some are sweet, some are silly, some represent our family's travels, some of them make no sense at all.

I got a picture from Rachel yesterday. She and Jake drove through the night Friday to attend General Conference Saturday afternoon.

Me: I watched for you guys on tv, but no luck :)
Rachel: The conference center was great :) Jake's never been inside.before! We were both dead tired tho"
Me: Were you able to stay awake during conference?
Rachel:  haha yes we both did. I took notes to help me.

Melanie (when asked if the odometer that is sitting in our carport can be thrown away): "It's trash . . . but I'd like you to have a ceremony and a moment of silence as you throw it away since it was a great piece of crap."

Roxanne: "Mom! They;re making a movie of Life of Pi! We have to go see it."

Melanie: "Don't text and drive !!!"  (sheesh, I wasn't Melanie, I was at a gas station)

Me: "You're free this weekend? I should have invited you. I'm already on the road."
Roxanne: "Where are you staying? Wait, Are you texting and driving Missy?" (goodness girls, no. still at the gas station)

Rachel:  "Mom. I love you!"
Me:  "I love you more."
Rachel:  "Nu uh times infinity!"

Melanie  "Amen mothaa!"

Melanie: "I saw this on Pinterest. Apples dipped in pancake batter :)  lunch!! delicious, highly recommend it."

Roxanne: "We adopted a new dog!"

Picture sent by Dave, no explanation necessary, I was jealous!

Melanie:  "It's my friend Curtis' birthday so Talsea and my friend Savannah and I decked his truck out with sticky notes. And we're throwing a party for him later today. Other than that school has been normal. Oh and my hair looks really good." (sometimes I wonder if that girls is spending enough time studying. But at least her hair looks good!)

Melanie: Apparently this is a sleepover . . . may I sleep over? I'll be home by noon.
Me: Don't you need pajamas and a toothbrush for a sleepover?
Melanie: I came in jammies!

Rachel:  "Have you read 'A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy soldier' by Ishmael Beah?"
Me: "Yes in bookclub last year. Fascinating book. Why?"
Rachel:  "I just hear him speak at West campus! So amazing!"

Melanie: " You know what's awesome? I get paid for simply uploading a video onto a computer . . . basically watching videos!"

Melanie: "There's a giant fireside tonight! M. Russell Ballard. And I'll be sure to tell you all about it.  And I'll look for Sister Pickard."

Roxanne: (at 12:48 am):  "HAPPY BIRTHDIZZZAAYYY MA MAH !!!!!!!I really hope I beat Melanie to the punch. But more importantly I hope I didn't wake you from your slumber!"

Cindi  (part of a conversation about sending our babies off to college): "Me too. The end of a 34 year era for me. Rachel was my baby.  I miss all of them and their last minute poster board runs and squealing bath time and hoarding library books and legos. (then talking about the extra time we'll have) I'd like to sew. Can you imagine? Not a single interruption?

Brady:  "Gnight, love you"

Roxanne: This reminded me of Mel's cooking video from when she was like 6."What are you making? Beef! . . . Beef liver!"

Melanie:  "You know what I forgot to bring? A billion hangers for the billion shirts I packed."

Roxanne: (a picture of a birthday present I made for her)  "Look at how well this fits in my room :)"

Dave: "All-thread art sculpture on the tailgate"

Rachel (on a vacation with Dave: "Dad fell asleep reading his book, lol"

Rachel: "View from the Signature room" (Chicago)

Melanie:  I GOT THE JOB YO! Tell the world :)

Melanie:" I'm about to get the last of my textbooks. And they're both $100 . . . here we go. I hope I can sell them back for a lot of money at the end of the semester."  (good luck with that Mel)

Roxanne: (after talking about graduating early - 3 12 years - from college)  "Mom! I can graduate from institute this semester too! Yeah, like a diploma, not just a certificate of achievement. My whole academic life will be complete come December!  Woohoo!"

Melanie: "Hey - Here's a head's up. Amanda and I might head out with Michael and Mark and Semisi. Right now, we are currently waiting light years in a McDonald's drive thru for 1 small sprite, 2 large waters, and one dipped cone . . . ice cream is my weakness"
(cracked me up that she sent their food order as part of her text to me)

Melanie (attending EFY)  The food here SUCKS. I miss your cooking :(

Roxanne: "Look what I did today! I got up a few times and stayed up!"

Melanie: "Stop texting me!"
(what? that coming from the queen of texting?)

Roxanne (in San Diego): "Our ancestor that was in the Mormon Battalion!"

Madeline W:  "Did I mention how much I HATE poison ivy?"

Roxanne: "Dad should be proud of me :)  I installed those all by my lonesome!"

Roxanne: "I got to watch the sunrise today. How cool does that look?"
(that sounds like a positive message, but I knew she had to stay up all night working on a project deadline for her job)

Rachel: "Chillin' in Chicago with Uncle Eric."

Roxanne:  "We had dinner with Vicki and Con tonight on the Pier!"

Dave: "Oregon!"

Me: While driving: "Quick Roxanne - take a picture of that shoe driving down the road!"

Melanie (after broom hockey)

Dave:  "Horseshoe Bend and back at a trot. Exercise for the day. Should be home at 9ish."

Roxanne:  "I got my own office today!"

Madeline:  "I thought you'd enjoy this awkwardly interpretive sign"

Melanie: - "Holy mother of pearl, well I'll be in the nurse's office if you care. haha"
(I don't remember what this was about, but Melanie spent a lot of time in the nurse's office all through her school years)

Rachel (planned a trip last year to visit a friend in Blackfoot Idaho, but realized after she planned it that Grandpa would be out of town)  - "PS  It's really creepy staying in Grandpa's house all by myself . . ."

Melanie:  "I hope you're having an amazing 11-11-11"

Robyn:  Just had to say that I know all the words to "I Could have Danced all Night" and probably all the songs in "My Fair Lady".

Sent from my phone but typed by Mel to Suzanne. (We needed someone to know where we were while hiking on an unfamiliar trail, since no one checks messages at home):  "Ash Creek Falls. Just letting someone know where Melanie and I are today. Since family doesn't care."

Melanie:  "Hahahahahahaha Creations of college"  (blue muffins? . . . cupcakes?)

Melanie:  "Roger that commander!"

Melanie:  "Yes Haha I got tatts and I feel sick  WOO!" (clarification - Melanie has no tattoos! I don't know what this was about.)

Melanie (heading off on a student exchange trip to Mexico):  "WE HAVE DEPARTED !!!!!!!!! Adios mi familia! se amo :)  "

Melanie: "There's a thing called "freshman 15" where freshmen gain 15 pounds 'cause they eat crap. NOT THIS GIRL!!!!!"

a saturday with melanie

Melanie headed off for college this year. She is far enough away to give her some independence, but close enough that we can still see her occasionally. The problem is that she has an OLD car that doesn't drive distances well, so running home regularly on weekends is not really an option.  She got a ride home with a friend over Labor day weekend, but there aren't many 3 day weekends in the fall semester. So I decided I needed to go visit her. I asked her if she has any Saturdays free. She told me "Saturdays are always free! Come this weekend!  But just so you know, I have a broom hockey game Friday night, a baptism on Saturday , the RS broadcast at 5, a tailgating party before the football game, then the game and a dance." (Wow Mel, your weekends really are free and relaxing . . . !)  Anyway, I drove over Friday afternoon and found this greeting on her sidewalk.

We headed over to the broom hockey game at the Institute.  She certainly has made a lot a friends in a very short time.  My camera doesn't take action shots well, so I ended up with a whole camera full of blurry pictures.

We did a little shopping at the only store in town. Wal-mart is not just the only store in town, it is also open 24 hours a day so we were able to do a little late night shopping. I had a deja-vu moment. I remember my dad visiting me at college and commenting on a hole in my tennis shoes. I assured him they were fine. He assured me that shoes with holes in them were absolutely not fine. (He was a clothing retailer all his life). I had the same conversation with Melanie and she ended up with a couple pairs of shoes before the evening was over. Then she came to stay with me at the hotel down the street from her apartment.
I talked her into going on a hike with me on Saturday morning. I have a book that has reviews of hiking trails in different regions around the state, so I came prepared with a hike we could enjoy together.
Trailhead - about 15 miles sw of town
Distance 4.8 miles out and back
Approximate hiking time - 3 hours
Trail difficulty rating - Easy
No Fees or permits required

Doesn't that sound perfect? Fifteen miles from town, and a 3 hour "easy" hike.

Farther down in the trail description, it reads:
Finding the trailhead - Drive 7 miles out of town, turn right and drive 28 miles to turnoff. (what??)

In reality, we arrived at the trailhead after a one hour and 20 minute drive. I suppose it is actually 15 miles from town if you are a crow and can fly there directly, but it might have been good to mention in the description that it is a steep windy road up a mountain that you have to drive at about 20 miles an hour most of the way. We drove to the top of the mountain and down the other side a ways. On our drive we saw signage for many other trails. If we were smart, we would have just stopped and enjoyed any of the other options.
The trailhead was in a fee area. $10 per car.  The campground and picnic area was deserted that day, so we decided to risk not paying as we were not actually going to be using the picnic area. The description said no fee, so we hadn't planned on any $. (oops)
Also, the description of "easy". It wasn't a particularly difficult trail, but it was not well traveled or well maintained.  There were a lot of trees down that we were climbing over and under on the trail. And it was all downhill one way (which means it was all uphill the other way).

(No tree carving done by us, but Melanie wondered who the ? might be)
When we had been hiking 2 hours (we should have been at the waterfall at the 1 1/2 hour mark), we could possibly hear a waterfall?  but the trail took a sudden steeply downhill switchback direction down into a ravine. We were running out of time, and we had been walking downhill for the whole hike already, so this additional steep trail didn't look appealing to either one of us. We bailed on the waterfall siting and headed back. The trailhead is pretty much at the very top of the mountain and it had all been downhill to this point. I knew that the hike back to the car was going to be kind of slow going for me.  I don't mind uphill so much, but uphill for two hours is not my favorite kind of hiking. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath while Melanie was skipping and whistling the whole way back.  She wasn't winded for sure, and I don't even know if her heart rate was up. Ah, to be 18 again. In the end, I will blame my slow hiking to the high altitude. I'm going to ignore the fact that I have 30 + years and a few pounds on her.

There was a creek that ran beside the trail most of the way. The sound of running water 
makes for pleasant hiking.

We did get a beautiful view of the valley below. This was taken from my inexpensive camera phone, but it really was a pretty view. We could see the town below and another mountain range in the distance.  It was very pretty.

 It wasn't quite what I expected, but a beautiful hike nonetheless. We got back to town in enough time to rest up, clean up and get to the Relief Society Broadcast. After it was over, I headed back to Phoenix and Mel headed off to an evening of Football games and dancing. That girl never slows down.