Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes for no good reason we go out to the Salt Flats

We woke up Saturday morning, with nothing on our "to do" list.  So Dentist Husband said, "Everyone in the car.  We are going to the Salt Flats."

So, two hours later, we were in Wendover.  Believe it or not the Wendover airport is a historic gem in the state of Utah.  Below are my kids outside and inside the airplane used in the movie "Con-Air".  

While, the Con-Air airplane is cool, what makes the Wendover airport so amazing is its history during WWII.  You can read all of the details here, but in summary, the first atomic bomb that was dropped in Japan, came from Wendover, Utah.  It was loaded onto the Enola Gay (named for the pilot's mother) and then three days later, "Little Boy" was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan.  During WWII, Wendover airfield was a large base for the Airforce.  Slowly, the Wendover airfield is being restored.

 My kids climbing the newly restored control tower.
The hanger where the Enola Gay was kept.  
A ton of work has been done to restore it.  And, there are on-going fundraising efforts to finish the project.

Once we were done at the airfield, we headed to the Salt Flats.  The actual "Bonneville Speedway" was closed to visitors because of motorcycle racing that day but we were able to find another spot to get out and ride our bikes. 

 This area made me laugh.  The sign said, "Pet Area." 

And, this is what happens to a leather purse, when bottle of spray sunscreen "sprays" inside your purse.  I'm hoping the spot fades (and the strong smell of sunscreen dissipates) because it took me a while to find this purse (with my various "purse" requirements) and I love it.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cleaning your dishwasher

 When they removed phosphates from dishwashing detergents, it made it so my dishes quit coming out clean.  After trying various products and more than one dishwasher repairman (because I assumed phosphates couldn't be the only problem, which I found out it really is), I was told the following method.  I do this about once a month (or when I start noticing that my dishes are coming out dirty again).  

Pull out bottom rack on your dishwasher.

Lay a 9x13 pan on top of the tines.  (I don't know why it is flipped this way) 

Use cheap white vinegar

Fill the 9x13 pan with the white vinegar

Push the rack in and shut the door.

Press start on your dishwasher and run a complete cycle.  

I find it funny that in the interest of the environment (why the government removed phosphates from cleaning products), people are actually being forced to use more water and soap to get their dishes clean.  I am not sure but I guessing the environmental impact is similar.

Anyway, if I am consistent with doing this, my dishes really do get clean.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last trip before school starts . . .

We try to do an annual trip to California.  For the most part, we have been going there for the last 12ish years.  Some years, we manage to go more than once.  

Because we often leave when my husband is done from working all day, we stop for one night on Las Vegas.  This year, there was a dental implant class my husband wanted to attend in Las Vegas, so we stayed an extra day there. While he was in class, we went to the pool.  I must say, the JW Marriott in Las Vegas is a great oasis in the desert of Las Vegas but with the temperatures in the 110-114 degree range, it was hard to fully enjoy it.  How do people live in temperatures like that?  

Below:  My kids and some of the cool parts of the pool 

 Through out the whole complex, there is a running "river" filled with Koi fish.  

After his class, we tried Sammy's Pizza.  Their pizza was great but it was the tapas that we loved.  We will go there again.  

We drove into California before we could check into our hotel, so it was time for a mandatory stop at In N Out Burger.  I even let myself get my fries "animal style".  

The place we stayed was nice enough to let us use the pool until our room was ready.  

During our trip to Costco for food (the place we stayed has a full kitchen), we found children's wet suits.  BEST thing we purchased.  (Toothsome #1 is in a wet suit we bought at Costco years ago).  Because California ocean water is not super warm, this made it so my kids could play in and enjoy the ocean much longer.   

In the evenings, we enjoyed serious games of tether ball.  

No trip to California is complete without a stop at The Crab Cooker.  

Everyone boogie boarded for hours at the beach.  

 When not in the ocean, the kids dug holes and created things in the sand.  
 After years of doing this, we have discovered salami and cream cheese sandwiches are ONLY sandwich to take to the beach.  
 Our daily beach set up.  
Again, we have been doing beach runs for years and we feel like we have it down to science now:  superbrella, one beach chair, wheeled cooler, four towels, buckets and shovels as beach toys and boogie boards.  
 One of the few pictures taken of us together.  Not very good of either of us but proof we were there together.
 Toothsome #4, who learned to swim this summer, even got really good at catching a wave and boogie boarding.  
 There can't be a trip to beach without burying people in the sand. 
 Dentist Husband invented some game with the kids that dealt with jumping on this pile of sand.  They played for hours and never tired of it.  

We all concluded it was our best trip to California yet.  

We came home and faced problems with school registration, problems with scouting, work issues, dance emails, PTA meetings, church things, a load of wet laundry that sat in the washing machine in a hot house for a week, etc.  But, for seven glorious days it was just our family, some good books (thank you Kindle for making it so I don't have to drag a ton of books on vacation) and the beach.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eating the live sand crab

We just got home from a wonderful family trip to California.  I really don't have it in me to do a blog post about the whole trip but I will do a brief one to give you a "taste" (pun unintended but since I wrote that, I am pretty pleased with my pun) of our trip.

Several years ago, when we were vacationing with Dentist Husband's extended family, Dentist Husband's brother ate a live sand crab at the beach.  None of us could believe it.  Then, the next summer, Toothsome #1 did it.  No one pressured him to do it.   He just wanted to do it to prove to himself he could do it.  

Well, this summer, Toothsomes 2 and 3 decided to join the "eat the live sand crab" club.  

Toothsome #3 went first.  

Not to be outdone, Toothsome #2 went next.  

FYI:  I have no desire to join the club.  Either does Dentist Husband.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Day things could have gone really bad at the family reunion

Growing up, we often drove to Brainard Lake and hiked up to Lake Mitchell.  There was often a group who also went to Blue Lake.   The hike to Lake Mitchell is about a mile and to Blue Lake it is three miles.  There is a true "trail" to it but it is still very rugged.  After the hike, we always ate lunch.

For the last three family reunions that have been held in Colorado, we always do this hike.  For the little kids, we always hike just to Lake Mitchell and the older kids always press on to Blue Lake.  There is also always a small group who get up early and try and make the assent to Mount Toll.  There is always a "story" that goes along with that group.  Usually someone gets altitude sickness or one year, they were sliding down glaciers and my nephew almost fell off of one, etc.    

Well, this year, we all got into a little bit (OK, a lot bit) of trouble but thankfully, it was all fine in the end.  

Like most of these stories, there were problems from the beginning that foreshadowed trouble ahead.  The Mount Toll group got a late start as well as the Lake Mitchell and Blue Lake groups.  We had read that we needed to be down the mountain by 1:00 pm because of afternoon thundershowers and we planned on starting our hike at 10:00 am.  We didn't even start the hike until about 11:30 am.  

Me with my sisters.

The hike to Lake Mitchell was very fast and easy.  So easy, that we all decided to press onto Blue Lake, even though that was not the original plan.  I was a little concerned about Toothsome #4 making it all the way to Blue Lake but my older nephews (ages 14-24), said, "We will help carry any of your kids if you come with us."  

Me with my kids and nephew.  
(Dentist Husband had flown back to Utah that morning to work.) 

Toothsome #4 immediately decided that she would ONLY hold hands with my nephew's wife, who thankfully was very accommodating.  (We really don't deserved her in our family.  She is wonderful.)  

As we got closer to Blue Lake, the hike got harder (steeper and more rocky).

Blue Lake  
It started to get over-cast within minutes of us all arriving.

We have an "all the way under" club.  They wear their swim suits and then jump in.  It doesn't count unless they go "all the way under".  Three of my nephews "joined" this year.  My son was close to doing it but it had started to rain . . .

Within moments after my above nephew jumped in, it started to lightly rain.  I knew with my little kids, that it would take us longer than the others to climb down the mountain (3 miles down), so we left immediately.  It then started to hail and a short time later, thunder and lightening with very few pauses between.  The outside temperature dropped quickly and I had planned poorly and only Toothsome #1 and I brought sweatshirts.  We were cold.  

About 10 minutes down, my older nephews came running down the trail.  One grabbed Toothsome #3 and one grabbed grabbed Toothsome #4.  They yelled (over the loud clapping thunder), "This is dangerous and we are getting everyone off the mountain."  And, we all started running.  It was now a muddy, swampy, mountain.  It was very hard to see the trail and at times, the hail was hard and painful.  We kept running and trying to distract the younger kids, who were obviously scared.  

Thankfully, we all made it down safely and into our car. We were covered in mud and soaked through. 

Taken from my car.  

 Me soaking wet.  

The Mount Toll group had a much more harrowing experience.  At one point, all of their hair started to "crackle" and stand up.  They ended up hiding in a rock cave for over an hour and then when the hail let up, hiking down in the rain.  They didn't get back until after 7:00 pm.

That night, we were exhausted, hungry and sore.  (Several people in our group, fell and slipped on the muddy trail and had somewhat big gashes on their legs.)  So, we headed to The Gondolier on Pearl.  Honestly, the BEST homemade pasta and spicy marinara sauce I've ever eaten.  And, for $8 it is all you can eat.  And, if you want to shoot the lock off your wallet, ($10) their mussels are 2nd to none and worth every penny.  Oh, I am craving them now . . .

Thankfully, the rest of the reunion was less exciting.